When your freezer freezes shut

In another story of the moving-in-tale-from-hell, I discovered earlier this week that something seemed wrong with the ice dispenser in our freezer. Instead of dispensing ice, the ice maker was leaking a massive amount of water and ice, which would then freeze over and cause none of the ice to be usable, as it would just be a huge ice sheet. As the water continued to leak out of the ice box, it dripped down to create huge icicles around the drawers, which froze the drawers solid, rendering them incapable of being moved in and out. This also resulted in a near inability to even open or close the freezer without a ton of force. I wonder what the baby was thinking in the womb when I was doing these forceful movements so early in the morning this week, just trying to get some ice for the water bottle for my gym session.

The valve ended up being faulty, so our handyman had to have our management call GE to come inspect and ultimately replace the valve. But given the shelves now seem to be malfunctioning and tiny shards of plastic keep flying everywhere every time I open the freezer, this also means our drawers will need to be replaced. And early tomorrow morning, our handyman is going to come out to reinstall drawers taken from another apartment, and to help clean up all the ice collecting on the bottom of the freezer.

I have no idea what would have caused this total freezer madness, but I never before realized how complicated a freezer could be.

Stomach aches take on a whole new meaning when you are pregnant

I woke up this morning and slowly started getting myself alert by doing my usual thing: checking email and reading news on my phone. But when I got up and out of bed, my stomach suddenly started hurting. So I decided to lay in bed for about ten more minutes to see if the ache stopped. It didn’t. Maybe I just needed to use the bathroom, I thought, so I went on to the toilet and did my thing, bowel movements and all. Even after that, I still didn’t feel better, and the aching felt especially strong when I was standing up. So I went back to bed to lie down to see if the pain would subside. I quickly Googled “stomach ache while pregnant” to see what results came up, and the results said that if the pain lasts for more than 30-60 minutes of resting, then I needed to call my doctor. I wasn’t experiencing any dizziness, lower back pain, fever, or bleeding, and I know for a fact that my water didn’t break, so this couldn’t be pre-term labor, right? I honestly wasn’t sure and just hoped for the best. I touched my stomach and noticed it felt rock hard, but I could feel the baby moving every now and then inside. Maybe this was a combination of stomach ache and Braxton Hicks (fake) contractions?

About 15 minutes later, the pain fully subsided, as did the hardness on my belly. And I could feel little baby squirm around again inside, kicking me on my right side. Phew, I thought. That was a relief. I’m at week 29, and ideally for the baby’s health, I’d like us to be as close to full term as possible. It’s a bit funny (and terrifying) that something as seemingly simple as a stomach ache can be a bit alarming while pregnant because a stomach ache can oftentimes be much more than just that when you are pregnant with a tiny growing human inside you.

While many expectant moms and dads exclaim, “I can’t wait to meet baby!”, I am definitely not at that stage just yet. I can wait just fine for the baby to grow more and come out. I have quite a long list of “to-dos” that are both necessary to make sure baby is taken care of when she arrives, as well as fun to-dos that I’d like to do with my full baby-free freedom, which has numbered days now.

Pregnancy perks

I was going downtown to meet a friend for dinner, and when I got into the subway station, I swiped my Metro card to see the remaining value. The message that appeared was not a money value but instead, “See Agent,” which I’d never seen before. So I went up to the agent counter and told him the message I got when I checked my card value, and I swiped the card for him to see. He took one look at his screen, then looked me up and down and said, “You have $1.50 remaining. You can go through the gate.” I got so confused. Why was he letting me through the gate without topping up the value of my card and swiping? It was loud, so I thought I might have misheard him, so I cupped my ear to him to indicate I didn’t hear what he said. He said a bit louder, “I opened the gate. You can go through.” So I said thanks and walked through the gate without paying a fare. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a free subway fare in my entire time being a visitor or living in New York City. Was he letting me in for free because he saw I was pregnant?

Later on the Lower East Side, I went to the hostess stand outside to ask for a table for 2. My friend was just about ten minutes away, so when the hostess asked me if my entire party was there, I said no. She said that the restaurant policy was that they do not seat incomplete parties, so check back in with her when my friend had arrived. I didn’t think much of this at all until about a couple minutes later, I looked back up at the stand and noticed the hostess looking at me. “Yvonne?” she said. “You can sit down without your friend here. Feel free to go inside and they will seat you where you’d like!”

After checking my proof of vaccination, they sat me down and I waited for my friend, who came just two minutes later. I knew she had allowed me to be seated because I was visibly pregnant, and my friend was telling me how I should wring it for everything that it’s worth while I still can. “You should tell them at Trader Joe’s that you’re pregnant and see if they will let you cut the line!” she said. Every Trader Joe’s has a different policy, so while she could not guarantee that the Upper West Side location would allow this, she said it was worth the shot. So that means I’m definitely trying this the next time I go; I just need to make sure I’m wearing something fitted to show off my bump. 😀

Scrapbooking for 2019-2021

As the baby’s due date is approaching, I’ve been making a list of things I want and need to get done before she arrives. One of the fun tasks is finishing our scrapbook through our Turkey trip this past summer. I hadn’t updated the scrapbook since September 2019, when we went to Georgia and Alabama for an extended Labor Day weekend, so I had a bunch of updating to do. I started creating the pages through Christmas 2019 and creating templates for the pages that will follow, and tonight, I did a bulk order of photos to fill the scrapbook with through September 2021. When the baby comes, I hope to have enough time and energy to document her life, both through photos as well as through a scrapbook, but perhaps a more basic one since life with a child will be a lot different than life without one. We already have a little album and an Instax Fujifilm camera ready to go to document her beginnings, so I hope everything turns out well for her.

I hope as she grows that she will enjoy arts and crafts, too. I have imagined having future crafting sessions with her, creating scrapbook pages, using glitter and stencils, and having her enjoy the fun that is colored pencils, crayons, and paint. Then, we can enjoy all my art supplies together.

Fetal movements at 28.5 weeks pregnant

Since the baby is getting bigger, her movements are definitely becoming more and more pronounced as the days go on. I’ve realized that anytime I am in a social situation and am being very animated, or whenever I am doing presentations for work on Zoom, she tends to start going a little wild with her movements. I can’t quite tell the difference between her hands and feet yet, but she gets very active whenever I speak loudly or laugh a lot. She was very active on the night of Sambal Lady’s backyard outing in Brooklyn last week. This week, she’s been kicking and flailing a lot during my more active speaking during meetings. And sometimes, when the music on the TV is on a bit louder than usual, she starts moving a lot. When I am not in meetings and have YouTube music on during the weekday, I’ve been removing my headphones so that she can listen. And well, my music is a bit dated to the 1990s and 2000s/2010s, but the baby is definitely getting more acquainted with Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and Adele. It’s almost like when all the socializing and music is happening, her movements are saying, “Hey! I’m here, too! Let me in on the fun!”

I read that at about 28 weeks, babies can hear sounds outside the womb, and sometimes, if they hear the same song or sound over and over again, it can serve to be like a lullaby that will calm them down or hush them. Who knows — maybe Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” or Mariah Carey’s “Hero” will be the baby’s lullaby song.

When they were supposed to be born the same month

I was on a customer call with a colleague yesterday morning, and right after, my colleague asked if she could video call me to share an update. I wasn’t really expecting anything specific to be shared, but when she told me she was leaving after only six months with us, I was shocked. I was even more shocked when she told me that the time off she took in August was because of a medical condition she had. When she was telling me how happy she was to learn that I was pregnant, she said she was fighting back tears because she was also pregnant, too… but had a miscarriage at around 22 weeks.

“My baby was due in December, too,” she said with a somber face. She had to have a procedure to remove the fetus in early August, and subsequently took some time to physically heal, but she’s still emotionally and mentally broken from the experience. And for various other reasons, she’s decided to resign, take some time off, and take on another role at another organization. The abortion she had damaged her uterus to the point where she was warned that she could not get pregnant for another six months to allow her body to fully heal, otherwise it could potentially be life-threatening.

What most people don’t seem to know or realize is that when a pregnant woman has a miscarriage after 12 weeks, the fetus cannot actually be naturally expelled on its own as it would be with the embryo before 12 weeks. Before the 12-week mark, depending on the embryo size, it could be expelled by the uterus through the vagina. But after that point, a woman’s body actually has to go into labor to release the unviable fetus. So, she will literally need to labor and “deliver” her dead baby. This can be a very scary and potentially life threatening process, and so most doctors will recommend a D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure, or an abortion, for the safety of the mother.

I felt broken when she told me this. As soon as she said that she was pregnant and her baby was originally due in December, the same month mine is due, I started tearing up. I told her I really felt for her, that the whole fertility journey unfortunately is not easy, and it’s unfortunate so many people don’t recognize that. I didn’t tell her my story because it wasn’t really the time or place for it, as this talk was about her, but I did tell her that my road to get here was not simple or easy.

“It’s okay,” she insisted, smiling. “I have a great care team, I’m seeing an amazing therapist, and I’m getting through this. I have hope that one day, I will be in your shoes and preparing for my baby’s arrival when the stars are aligned.”

The struggles and pains of fertility, infertility are real. I only wish I never had to deal with a fertility clinic and IVF, but in some ways, maybe it’s made me a better, more empathetic person. While I’ve always believed women should be in total control of what happens to their bodies, I’ve never before realized exactly how horrible this struggle can be, how lonely it can be, until I went on this road myself. Not all women can relate; just because you’re talking with another woman doesn’t mean they can empathize or will even care. There are plenty of women out there who have never had any trouble getting pregnant, remaining pregnant, or birthing babies. A lot of these women have no idea how terrifying and agonizing all of this can be. But fortunately and unfortunately, I do know what it’s like. And I can empathize with my colleague and be her support for as much as she needs it.

28-week appointment

I had my 28-week OB appointment today, so I decided, as with pretty much every other visit, to walk across the park, which usually takes me somewhere between 40-50 minutes depending on how hot it is outside and how tired I feel. Today, almost as soon as I entered Central Park, I could feel a weird pressure on my bladder. It wasn’t like I needed to pee right away, but it was obvious that at some point in the following hour, I would need to pee.

When I got to the appointment, I did my usual routine of peeing into a cup (see, that pee comes in handy!) so they can check all my usual levels of things like protein, blood sugar, iron), then had a chat and a quick ultrasound scan with my doctor. I told my doctor that I always need to pee now, even more so than before, and she showed me the baby’s position: the baby is currently head down, but her head was resting directly on top of my bladder, which was creating all that pressure and need to pee.

That little twat, I thought to myself. This baby is getting so comfortable in my uterus that she has no idea what discomfort she is causing her mama. Regardless, I am just feeling thankful that she seems to look and sound okay. Her heart rate is on track, and she’s now weighing approximately 2 pounds, 10 ounces. She’s got a lot more growing to do before she comes out, so I will relish these moments of pressure on my bladder and her random kicks that make me breathe heavier.

Peeing every 10 minutes on the treadmill

I think I may be nearing the point of this pregnancy when I may need to stop running. I’ve been actively exercising and running this entire pregnancy, though as the weeks have gone by, I’m definitely running slower. The running is more like light jogging now. But in the last couple weeks as the baby has gotten bigger, I can actually feel her squirming and moving around while I am running, which I’ve never noticed before. And with noticing that, I am also realizing that she is pushing down on my bladder during my runs, which causes me to stop the treadmill and go to the bathroom. So it’s not really the extra weight on my front as it is the pressure she’s putting on my bladder that’s causing annoyance at this point. It’s a good thing there’s a bathroom right there in the gym, otherwise I’d have a lot of problems. I can’t even imagine running outside on a trail and needing to nature pee every ten minutes!

A friend of mine who had a baby a couple years ago, who has always been an active runner and yogi, said she had to stop running completely at 30 weeks and beyond because of the pressure on her bladder. “Yep, I just gave up at that point and thought, ‘what’s the point?'” she said.

No one warns you about this stuff, and then it happens to you. Who knows — I may even need to wear pads moving forward at some point in case I accidentally pee in my pants.

A completely pointless family texting group

When you are not texting someone one on one, and instead are texting to a number of people within a group, there can be a tendency for some to message and “participate” a lot more than others. And what also can easily happen is that people simply will text about what they care about, which no one else cares about, and send messages into a dark hole that no one will really read and will actually just ignore. That’s basically what’s happened with a group text among two of my cousins, my uncle, and me.

Here are the general themes among how each person here participates:

Cousin 1: This cousin has never really fully matured, though he is 48 years old now. He has no idea how to properly communicate, and as a psychotherapist I follow on Instagram recently wrote, communication is not a skill we are born with; instead, it requires us being taught and actively learning how to do it well to best express ourselves and be heard. Those who have not matured in this area tend to become very poor at self expression and end up “expressing” themselves by complaining all the time. This is this cousin, who is not only a poor communicator, but also openly racist and basically thinks everyone of every race is bad except Chinese Americans (he frequently criticizes Chinese immigrants). All his texts are about complaining about how White people steal opportunity from Asians (specifically males), Black and White people don’t believe in wearing masks during the pandemic, and Indian people love to throw people under the bus at work. Everyone else is always at fault and he’s always innocent. He’s also awful at confrontation and basically invites poor treatment.

Cousin 2: This cousin is pretty benign. He may respond to a benign message, and he will also share photos of food he has either cooked or eaten at a nice restaurant.

Uncle: My uncle is also openly racist against pretty much all race groups, but particularly any immigrants and Chinese from China. He’s a Trump supporter who frequently shares Fox News articles that criticize and unfairly blame Biden or Harris or Obama for whatever incident is being reported, and talks about how bad “illegals” are in this country, as they are the number 1 reason for the increasing crime rates supposedly everywhere here. He goes on rants that are paragraphs long over text about how incompetent “liberals” and Democrats are, particularly Biden, Harris, Obama, and California governor Gavin Newsom. However, he categorizes himself as a “libertarian” and believes both in vaccines and in masks.

Me: I basically don’t respond or contribute to any conversation and am just a bystander who occasionally scrolls through their messages, but I recognize none of them care about each others’ messages.

At the rate we are going, we should just cancel the group text and tell each person to talk to themselves.

When it gets harder to reach your toes

I’m generally pretty flexible. And I knew that as pregnancy progressed, I’d eventually get to a point where I couldn’t comfortably cut my toenails or polish them anymore. And it seems that as of tonight, I am almost there. I was sitting on my bathroom floor, reaching to clip my toenails and feeling strained. My growing belly was getting in the way, for better or worse.

Well, this wasn’t fun, I thought to myself. I could feel the baby squirming inside of me when I stretched in certain directions. Is Chris going to need to cut my toenails for me next month, or am I going to suck it up and spend the money on a pampering pedicure?