I wish I had one tangible thing to remember my baby: a monogrammed rattle, a lock of shiny black hair, a fleshy baby tooth. I wish there were a way I could go back in time and ask the doctor to provide me with a picture of the baby’s first ultrasound with its heartbeat flashing on the screen.
Isn’t it strange how we take pictures of our pets, or frame the local newspaper with the headline GIANTS SWEEP!, or even take pictures of our meals for friends on Facebook to ‘like,’ yet there’s nothing to honor our lost unborn children? No gravestone, no ashes in an urn, no place to put flowers.
When I shared the news of my miscarriage, it saddened me to think afterwards that a simple blog post is the only way the world will ever know that this special life existed. I have nothing, but the pang in my heart.
My nights are sleepless, filled with severe anxiety. I’ll bolt up in the middle of the night, after tossing and turning, as if something dreadful is about to happen—even though death has already passed by our doorstep. The feeling goes away momentarily, only to catch me unguarded in the middle of the day without a tissue to wipe away the tears.
So many of you, dear readers, have written or called to offer your support. I feel so honored to hear your stories. Know that I am taking the time to respond to each of you with the personalized attention your message deserves. It may take some time as I recuperate and take comfort in my husband’s never-ending embrace. The cries are plentiful, the heartache immense. But I know I’m not alone. We are not alone.
I’ll never forget this year’s Mothers Day. I can’t imagine a year will go by, from now on, without me remembering it was the day I lost my baby.
After years of trying and struggling, Dean and I conceived our baby completely naturally. No thanks to science and all the specialists, fertility clinics, drugs, and medical procedures. We’d taken a break from it all, including acupuncture and all the dos/donts advised by the nutritionist. We were way too stressed with selling the house and busy with work that I figured we’d start the baby-making later. Ironically, it was during this stressful period that I got pregnant.
The shock on everyone’s faces when we found out we were pregnant was practically comedic, given the doctor’s recommendation that we be more aggressive and do IVF. Dean and I clasped ours hands ecstatically upon seeing the baby in the ultrasound with its heart beating. It was love at first sight. My heart swooned. When the doctor and the intern left the room, Dean and I jumped for joy. “We have a baby! This is our baby!”
My life changed instantly as I became laser-focused on the baby: pre-natal vitamins, a whole new nutrition plan. I stopped looking at my ever-present To Do List and made a point of resting and sleeping as soon as I came home from work. Every minute of every day, I kept thinking, “This baby is my whole life. It’s all about the baby.” I avoided certain San Francisco hilly streets because of the potential to fall. I stopped jay walking and used cross walks. I paid attention to traffic signals and was even more mindful of speedy renegade cars. I crossed the street to avoid smokers.
At the next ultrasound, the doctor said the baby wasn’t growing and that he’d expect to terminate in the next two weeks. We were excruciatingly devastated and I was beyond comfort. After processing the shock, I refused to give in. I had a baby still with a heartbeat inside of me and I had to be its advocate. For God’s sake, I am its mommy and my baby is relying on me! I have to be strong enough for the two of us. This was my miracle baby conceived against all odds. I was certain this baby was meant to be, meant to be born into this world, and held in my arms.
I prayed more than I ever have. I slept even more. I ate fresh fruit and vegetables every day. I sang lullabies and Broadway show tunes to the baby. I went for walks, sat outside, and soaked in the sun. I’ll distinctly remember getting chocolate chip cookies and whole milk, or vanilla malted milkshakes and enjoying the surprisingly good San Francisco weather with my baby. And I’ll forever be grateful that we got to take the baby on vacation to wine country.
As my weight increased and morning sickness set in, I felt the baby growing stronger. I hoped it would pull through. Then when blood appeared the Friday before Mothers Day, I was beside myself, sobbing uncontrollably in the bathroom. I knew it wasn’t a good sign.
On Mothers Day, we visited my family after attending mass. My mom greeted me by looking at my tummy and asked, “Getting bigger?” I broke down. My parents wrapped their arms around me, heartbroken at the news that I’d been progressively spotting more and more all weekend, and pained for their barren daughter. The following day, the doctor confirmed the baby had no heartbeat.
You may wonder how I can become so emotionally attached to a baby that was not even born. I’ll ask in response, when do mothers start loving their children? Is it only after they’re born? After its first cry? I’ll venture, as with me, it’s when you first realize you’re carrying a child or when the adoption papers are signed. It’s instant, unconditional love.
Losing this baby has been the most painful experience of my life. There is, and will forever be, a permanent hole in my heart. This is not some thing that can be replaced. I am not comforted by the potential of having another child. I am grieving over this unique baby, this human life form that was growing inside of me, that was half me, half the love of my life.
I know that so many of you prayed for me and the baby during this very difficult time. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your support.
While we mourn our baby, we know our baby is in the good hands of God.
Jesus said, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’
The Exploratorium has re-opened at its beautiful new location on Pier 15 on the Embarcadero. It is incredible! LOVE-LOVE-LOVE! Featuring over 150 hands-on exhibits, it’s brighter, spacious, and modern.
I think the location is ideal and much more convenient for tourists who can see the Bay Bridge, visit the Ferry Building, then saunter down to the Exploratorium, then continue to the Wharf. Locals get a $5 discount per ticket.
We went on a Saturday when every single parent, grandparent, aunt, and uncle were on-hand to accompany all these gazillion little people. I vow to take a half-day off work and go when there aren’t any crowds. There’s so much to do and it’s all fascinating.
In one exhibit, we listened to a blind man give a sensory-guided tour of the Civic Center BART station. That was really eye-opening to have to listen for contextual clues like coins dropping or the machine sucking in the BART ticket.
There were also petri dishes of the various growth stages of a duck embryo. It was so interesting to see the tiny heart beating in a sac. We could have spent all day there if it weren’t for the exhausting crowds. Definitely going back one day in the middle of the week.
As Thailand’s largest island, and one of the go-to places for adventures in South East Asia, Phuket holidays are some of the most popular ones available in the area. From the hot temperatures throughout the year to the glistening beaches, it’s no wonder visitors from far and wide find the island appealing and that’s not even including the rich history, culture and heritage that you can sink your teeth into during a stay here.
However, it’s the outdoor adventures that make this exotic island an absolute must. Lovers of the sea and spending time appreciating pursuits that they wouldn’t ordinarily have chance to appreciate in such glorious surroundings will be in their element in Phuket.
As the centre of diving in Thailand, Phuket is a haven for scuba fans. With dozens of shops and hire centres, you can equip yourself with all the right gear so that you’re ready to go or join an excursion which will include everything you need. Racha Yai is a notorious dive site in the area, with a plenitude of coral as well as a wreck to explore at 25metres in Ter Bay.
Having recently become the diving centre for the emerging South East Asian freediving scene, Phuket is a perfect spot for anyone with an affinity for the sport. The essence of freediving relies on the divers ability to hold their breath, rather than relying on scuba gear. While it may seem a little too David Blaine for some to handle, other aquatic fans will love it.
This aquatic sport can be enjoyed in many areas of the Phuket coastline, with pristine reefs available at Patong, Kata and Karon beaches. Research the various options if you decide to join a tour. Trips to Racha and the Phi Phi Islands give you the chance to enjoy the majestic scenery; spending a little more baht will give you a better quality, safer excursion.
Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay and sailing on the turquoise waters are also incredibly popular in this area of South East Asia, with many coves and secluded bays within easy reach of a rowboat or kayak.
With an abundance of stunning locations, Phuket is the place to be if you’re a lover of all things aqua. From donning a pair of flippers to kitesurfing in Nai Yang and Chalong Bay, if you’re visiting Thailand for more than just relaxation, you’re in the right place.
The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, is the first female billionaire to join the Giving Pledge, whose signers commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. I am a firm believer that inheritances suck the drive out of people and thus love the concept around the Giving Pledge. According to Forbes, Blakely is the youngest female self-made billionaire. Check out her inspiring commitment letter.
Read about the person who received the highest honor to be bestowed on a graduating senior at UC Berkeley. Ritankar Das is a double-major in bioengineering and chemical biology with a minor in creative writing. He completed his degree in 3 years and, get this, is only 18 years old. I think that’s how I was when I was a freshman at Cal! His bio goes on and on and on, including founding a non-profit and organizing poetry slams. Ummm, Ritankar got an overallocation of the genius genes!
First, a story.
Late in 2011, I got snapped by camera running a red light on Geary in the Inner Richmond. I knew it almost immediately, soon after I hit the gas pedal on a yellow light, as a series of white flashes flickered in my peripheral vision. A couple weeks later, a red light citation arrived in the mail with a fine of $480 to be paid even if I planned on contesting. I begrudgingly submitted the check, but was determined to see that money again.
No one said it could be done. Wait, I take that back. Dean nodded with apathy (as any good husband should) whenever I regaled him with my back-and-forth correspondence with the court. “I asked them about the accuracy of their photographic instruments. I want to know how often they’re maintained and checked for quality control!” Dean nodded off to sleep.
With the court rejecting all the evidence I could muster in letters, I had one last chance to appear in front of a judge with an officer assigned to my case. On D Day, my coworkers laughed when I told them I had to go to the court house. The cab driver insisted I was wasting my time. The uniformed officer sympathized when I told him my plight in line, but said gravely, “No one gets out of a red light citation!”
Eight months after knowingly and guiltily running a red light, despite what everyone claimed, what every said could not be done, I cashed a check from the San Francisco Superior Court for $480. I knew in my heart I was getting that money back.
That story isn’t about money. It’s about persistence. It’s about believing in yourself when the whole world is against you.
I’ve been meaning to rehash this story (I’ve written about it in piece-meal on my blog before) mainly for me because I need the inspiration. I need to believe. Dean and I could really use your prayers for a sick loved one as we have gotten some devastating medical news that we have been painfully dealing with for the past month. Honestly, I think I am all cried out for a lifetime. Never have I experienced such anguish. Prayers, your support, and good thoughts would be most appreciated during this time.
It’s Malia 2013, is it? You cheeky thing, you. How exciting! But you’ve not got it booked? Amateur. Spring is well and truly in the air, if you haven’t yet booked your holidays to Malia for this summer, you better get on it like a proverbial car bonnet, my friend.
But where to start? Booking clubbing holidays to Malia isn’t rocket science, but there are a few neat tricks and tips to ensure you
a) Pay as little as possible
b) Have an epic time once you hit down abroad
Those are the key factors really. That’s what you’re aiming for.
First things first, forget booking through a travel agency. Get online, at http://www.club18-30.com/malia-crete. Book with Club 18-30 and you’re cutting out all those middle men. The best deals are going to be right in front of your eyes on your lappy screen, simply waiting for you to take your pick.
In addition, booking online, you’ll benefit from any web exclusive discounts as well as an offers on group bookings. Depending on when you book, simply pop down the deposit, divide the remaining balance between you and your chums, and Bob’s your uncle. Pay in affordable instalments over the coming few weeks.
When booking Club 18-30 holiday to Malia, you’re guaranteed to be experiencing some messy madness at the hands of experts. The club reps out there know the place better than the warts on their mother’s faces, they’re gonna guide you to all the unmissable bars, clubs and events that Malia has to offer.
Exclusive nights out, activities, wristbands and a photo CD of your holiday, all make your clubbing holiday session that little bit more sensational. And that’s just a few of the perks you get when you book with a company that know how to coordinate carnage.
Get your mates round – have a look online. There’s only one link you need: http://www.club18-30.com/malia-crete #Malia2013
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
While wining around Sonoma and Glen Ellen, we popped into Jack London State Historic Park since it was on the map. We didn’t know anything about it. Wow, were we surprised and impressed. We sauntered into the House of Happy Walls Museum which gave an excellent overview of Jack London’s life and his work. Docents were on-hand to answer all questions. A volunteer was upstairs playing the piano! We were totally floored. I thanked him for volunteering his time and his gift.
I kept telling everyone, “I’m taking pictures and putting this up on my blog. Free marketing!” They all laughed. Clearly, they know not who I am.
Make sure to read the picture below about Jack London studying in Oakland and Alameda and getting into the UC system. Local boy makes great!
Jack London’s wife Charmian was a prominent figure herself who outlived her husband by almost 40 years.
A docent asked if we were interested in joining him as he gave a 90 minute leisurely guided tour around the park. Hello, no brainer! We walk and enjoy the sunshine and you spout historical facts? Totally game. This guy was on it! No question stumped him. He, swear to God, had an answer for every question our small group of 4 asked. That is straight up dedication, knowledge, and volunteerism in effect. Again props to this park. I told Dean that when we retire we have to become docents and give back. The ruins are of Wolf House, a palatial home that was a few weeks near completion before it was destroyed by some type of natural spontaneous combustion.
Lastly, I want to leave you with a quote from Jack London who wrote 1,000 words every day of his life. “I am a believer in regular work, and never wait for an inspiration.” The guy died at the age of 40. Think about all that productive output within a short 40 year lifespan. I’m a fan. Need to read more of his work.
My poor puppy hubby has a sore throat and a fever. I have the chills and severe diarrhea (picture explosive fecal vomit) which makes it hard to get continuous sleep. Sadly we can’t take care of each other because we’re too busy tending to our own dependencies. We need our moms or a nurse for hire.
If you only have one day to visit San Francisco, make the most of it without wasting too much time in between. Here’s a one day itinerary that will take the first timer methodically through some of the most interesting places the city has to offer. Wake up early and have breakfast at the Ferry Building. This wonderful waterfront market bustles with activity, with people buying coffee on their way to work and shoppers looking for the best cheese and produce. The stunning view of the bay alone is worth a trip. Stroll the market hall for fresh baked pastries or have a proper breakfast at Boulette’s Larder, where you can sit outside and watch ferries pulling in.
In the afternoon, head over to Crissy Field for up close views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Dip your toes in the icy Pacific or stroll along the beach. If you wish to take a break from your busy schedule, you can head to Chinatown to enjoy great dim sum. While there, you can access online and mobile pastimes like online gaming. To complete the experience, go to binguez to enjoy brief moments of bingo to recharge your tired senses.
For dinner, book a table at one of the cutting-edge eateries South of Market, a trendy area brimming with terrific restaurants. Coco500 offers Mediterranean food in an intimate and casual setting, while Town Hall is big and bustling and serves New Orleans inspired fare.