Thursday, March 29, 2012


How Far Along: 19 weeks! 

How Big Is Baby: Baby Russ is 6.0 inches long and 8.5 ounces. Whoa, this baby is getting closer and closer to being ONE POUNDER already! Baby Russ is approximately about the size of a mango! 

Total Weight Gain: 8 pounds. 

Stretch Marks: Nothing! Let's hope I have great genes for an elastic skin. I still use Coca Palmer mainly for itching. I also walk half hour every day--exercising can help your skin to expand better and manage your weight gain. I drink a lot of water and especially Pomegranate juice (which has a lot of great benefits including protecting nenonatal brain of your developing baby besides being great for your skin). 

Maternity Clothes: Yep. I actually can mix regular clothes with maternity clothes. Matter of fact, I'm wearing my regular yoga pants--just gotta tuck it underneath my belly and wear a long maternity shirt and I'm golden! 

Sleep: Good. I love my body pillow and the bed foam mattress cover. I find it helpful to switch over to other side when I get up to use bathroom and go back to bed. If I sleep on one side for way too long then my hip will kill me for sure. I still get up 2-5x a night to pee. I can't give up on drinking water too close to my bedtime--I am always so thirsty!!!

Best Moment(s) Of The Week: I found a perfect tree branch for Baby Russ's nursery! I have been really wanting a tree with one super long branch to hang over the crib, but I don't like the price that I see online (a bit too much for simple tree branch decal, really). So thanks to Target; I found a perfect sticker decal with forest creatures for just....*drum rolls* 10 bucks! 

Food Cravings: Broccoli with dill dip. Cantaloupe chunks. Pineapple chunks. Pears. Cheese slices with crackers. It's a good thing my baby likes healthy food! Even though, I still sneak in a brownie or a cookie from time to time--hey, mommy needs it sometimes... 

Food Aversions: Roast Beef. The smell of it just turns me off. Taco meat (I suspect it is the seasoning that I used rather than the meat itself). Anything way too spicy which is a huge bummer because I absolutely love it--ah well, at least this pregnancy is done; I'll be able to CHOW down anything super spicy without getting a raging heartburn. Jalapeno poppers (my favorite snack food in the whole world) can be only taken in SMALL dosages. After eating 10 pieces in one sitting, I learned a hard lesson...never again because apparently Baby Russ hates it. 

Symptoms: Heartburn. Nose bleeding...thanks to this crazy weather shifts we have been having lately. My eyes seem to be more sensitive too. 

Movements: I sure felt a foot? Arm? Hand? Elbow? Not sure what body part it was.....but I felt Baby Russ's body part pushing against my belly the other day. 

What I Miss: A glass of wine, I won't lie. 

Gender: Finally, we are in home stretch! We are getting closer to my appointment date. I can't wait to see our baby again, and to finally announce the gender. I am sure that our family and friends feel the same way! 

Belly Button In Or Out: It's not out, but not inside completely. Pre-pregnancy; I have a deep belly button. Now my belly button seems more shallower.  So that is weird to see! 

Wedding Ring On Or Off: Still on for sure now that the weather is back to being goofy cold again. Blah. Well, okay, maybe not that cold but to my standard, it is. 

Looking Forward To: Being week 20! That's half way! Whoo, whoo! Also, I'm excited to be able to CROSS OUT this week and finally count down days until our ultrasound. I can't wait to announce the gender of our baby. And I'm just excited to say bye bye to March--it's an uneventful month. 

Next Appointment: April 11th! I can't wait for the big ultrasound. Stu is pretty excited about that too because he'll finally be able to see our baby for the very first time since week 8 ultrasound. Stu is in for a big surprise because our baby will look like an actual human being instead of a bean! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ode To ASL Interpreters

Our voice, our ears....our Sign Language Interpreters

I have been thinking long and hard what to write for It's a Deaf Thing topic lately and it hit me. I haven't really talked much about American Sign Language interpreters. I think they are most overlooked yet most recognizable when accompanied with a Deaf person. 

ASL interpreters are there to present as our ears and voice. They translate what a hearing person says into Sign Language to a Deaf person then translates what Deaf person is saying into spoken English to a hearing person. Our interpreters are our liaison between hearing and Deaf worlds. ASL interpreters have experienced curiosity,  confusion, mild fear, excitement, and fascination from hearing audience. Here are their stories. 

I was interpreting for a Deaf client at a doctor appointment. The client's regular doctor was out for the day so there was a different doctor to see my client. This doctor was not exposed to Deaf people so she was unaware of proper etiquette of working with an interpreter and a Deaf client. The doctor constantly referred my client "Tell him that ..., Tell him this..." rather than speaking directly to my client. Finally, my client had enough of this indirect conversation that he was receiving from this doctor. He finally signed and I was speaking for him; he explained that I [the interpreter] was just here as his voice and ears so please speak to him directly and pretend that the interpreter was not in the room. The doctor widened her eyes and exclaimed, How can I ignore other person in the room--she's right there! My client, bless his heart, grunted and signed, well you were doing a good job of doing exactly that to me before. 

How common is this situation! I have been in position where people don't quite understand how to work with an interpreter and often ignores me in the process because it is just strange for them to be looking directly at a Deaf person while speaking and signing and ignore the interpreter in the room. I can understand the hearing person's awkwardness of knowing there is someone else in the room watching us, and speaking for me while I am signing. This is a very common thing and I am typically cool with this especially when a hearing person meets me for the very first time and using my interpreter for the first time. 

I was waiting in an emergency room because my agency had informed me that I had a client in a need of an interpreter. So I showed up and waited several minutes before being called into examination room. Upon the arrival, I met with a client, and the client began speaking in a foreign language. I realized that the hospital had confused my title as American Sign Language Interpreter must meant I was able to translate all languages into spoken English. 

Oops. Just because ASL interpreter can understand and translate spoken language into Sign Language or vice versa doesn't mean he/she is able to translate other languages. Be careful when you call an agency and don't assume that interpreter is able to translate all languages--clarify which language this interpreter is able to translate first before hiring him/her! 

Being a male interpreter certainly has earned me a stereotype of being gay or bisexual. I can definitely tell you that I am not gay. I just happened to fall in love with interpreting and Deaf Culture because my parents are Deaf. 

Be careful not to assume that all male interpreters are gay! Some male interpreters are flaming gay. Some male interpreters are subtly gay. Some male interpreters are TOTALLY straight. I have had a male interpreter, who was straight and married, wore his wedding band yet people still assumed he was gay. I have had a male interpreter, who was obviously way flaming gay and loved to wear crazy colored shirts, that often interpreted for me. Some people thought I must be gay for having a gay interpreter. Oy vey! My interpreter's sexuality does not mean it is same for my sexuality. Okay? When I was in grad school; I met wide array of interpreters, both male and female, with varying sexual orientations. So don't assume!

As an interpreter; I have been asked if I was my client's relative (mother, brother, uncle, son, daughter) quite often. 

A freelance American Sign Language interpreter must be held at a professional standard and this means there is Code of Ethics must be held to the strictest standard. What an interpreter hears, sees, and says/signs cannot leave beyond the room. Once a Deaf client's appointment is over then the interpreter must leave that information with that client and not share it with anybody else besides that client. Because of this; Deaf clients does not work with interpreters that are their relatives. Just think of how a surgeon cannot perform a surgery on a patient that is his/her relative. Yeah, same goes for an interpreter. Even so; hearing people don't quite understand the role of ASL interpreters and still ask this question anyway! 

Despite misunderstanding ASL interpreter's role in interpreting for a Deaf person; they are a great asset to us Deaf people, and we are grateful for them. At least I am. :) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012


How Far Along: 18 weeks!

Total Weight Gain: 8 pounds. Baby Russ is 6.7 oz and 5.6 inches long this week! 

Maternity Clothes: I've been wearing this adorable maternity skirt all week long because of this beautiful weather we've been having! I may no longer can turn to my regular shirts because I have discovered that I can't quite pull it over my belly anymore. Dang. But that's okay; I have plenty of cute maternity tops even though they are still tad loose on me!

Stretch Marks: Nothing! Nada. Zilch. None. 

Sleep: Much better this week now that I have a mattress foam on our bed--my hips don't bother me as much now. Whew!

Best Moments Of This Week: Feeling Baby Russ move inside and finally very faintly on the outside. In a few weeks; we should be able to feel Baby Russ much better because Baby Russ will be stronger and bigger. Finally clearing out our office to make room for Baby Russ--that has been my big project of the week!

Food Craving: Broccoli and dill dip all way. Baby Russ absolutely loves vegetables. Let's hope that Baby Russ will still like them when Baby Russ is older! 

Anything Making You Feel Queasy: Nothing. Pregnancy is fairly awesome so far. 

Have You Started Showing Yet: Yep, I'm pregnant and people can tell! 

Gender Prediction: Can April 11th be here already?! I'm tired of watching what I type to make sure I don't accidentally slip Baby Russ's gender! 

Belly Button In Or Out: It's in, alright. 

Wedding Ring On Or Off: I had to take it off every morning when I took Layla for a walk because my fingers swell from dehydration and warm weather. But once I've cooled down from the walk; I've been able to put my ring back on with no problem!

Mood: Pleasant. Happy. Feeling pretty good.

Looking Forward To: Being week 19! Holy Schazz, I'm almost there at the half-way already! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012


How Far Along: 17 weeks!

Total Weight Gain: 8 pounds. Baby Russ is only 5 ounces at this moment. Crazy, huh? I wonder where all extra weight is coming from! *winks* 

Maternity Clothes: Still sticking with leggings and stretchy pants. My regular shirts are beginning to feel snug. It might be time to say good-bye to them until late August/early September? I bought a cute maternity skirt and I can't wait to start wearing it more often. 

Stretch Marks: Absolutely none! If I can make to 20 weeks, which is half way, without any single stretch then that's a sign of victory for me! And we have to see what happens in 2nd half though....I won't be surprised if I do end up with a few during the second last of my pregnancy. 

Sleep: Still so-so. My hips keep on affecting my sleeping schedule. I wake up with sore hip then I have to flip over to my other side...only to have flip back to the other side. It is a good thing that Stu is a heavy sleeper!

Best Moments Of The Week: Going for walks with Layla and Stu thanks to this amazingly beautiful weather. Feeling Baby Russ pop and roll! Going out for an ice cream with Stu! Yummy!

Miss Anything: Having no heartburn. It has been a killer this week no matter what I eat. Baby Russ must have a head full of hair, I think! Or at least that it is what everybody has been saying about my heartburn. 

Movements: Yep! Popping and rolling occasionally. It's fun to feel Baby Russ when that happens!

Food Craving: Anything salty. Broccoli with dill dip is coming close second. 

Anything Making You Queasy: Just if I eat a bit too much of sweet food like cheesecake, to name one. I guess Baby Russ isn't a sweet tooth type of person! But hey, at least Baby Russ can handle Milano cookies and that's all good for Mommy! 

Have You Started Showing: I guess so! The other day, my neighbor asked me if I was pregnant and I said yes. He congratulated me on my pregnancy. A few people have asked me if I was pregnant in random places like food store and stores that I go to. Crazy. Must be because I'm finally not wearing my thick winter jacket or sweatshirts. 

Gender Prediction: In 3 weeks, we will announce the gender! I'm so excited to not have this under the "wraps" anymore!! Thank goodness, it is getting harder and harder not to let the gender slip!

Belly Button In or Out: Oh, it's still in. 

Wedding Ring On Or Off: On. I don't know what will happen this summer though.

Mood: Terrific, happy, and in a good mood! 

Looking Forward To: Visiting my family this weekend. Being Week 18! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Tender Moment

Today, being a very beautiful day, I decided to take Layla for a nice long stroll around the neighborhood. Layla was in her spunky wild mood--walking in zig-zag way, and stopping to sniff at every pedestrian that walked past us. Layla barked at every dog she saw. She buckled on her rear legs and waved her front paws--straining against the leash while barking at other dogs. With some persuasiveness and gentle reminder with her training; Layla settled down a bit and went ahead with our relaxing walk. 

About half way into our walk; we approached an elderly couple holding their hands, and they were smiling at each other. I prayed for a moment that Layla would behave herself. The idea of spring-crazed dog jumping at an elderly couple and possibly knocking them off their feet made me cringe on the inside. Layla's brown eyes glanced at me and I quickly shot her a look of BE good, dog. 

The old man stopped a foot from us and gently touched his wife's elbow. He bent to her ear to mutter something. Layla continued to stroll in her relaxed manner. I was thinking, okay, we are almost past them and nothing crazy will happen. 

The old man asked me as I was right in front of him if he could take a moment to pet Layla. I nodded my head. He asked me something that I did not quite catch. I pointed at my ear rather apologetically to show him that I was Deaf. I silently scolded myself for not having a small notebook on the hand with me. The old man shook his head rather understanding and smiled at me. He patted my hand and gave me an okay sign. Layla sank onto her hind legs. Her tail thumping softly against the cement sidewalk. 

The whole time, I wondered why the wife was not very talkative or animating. She stood there the whole time, holding her husband's arm, and her eyes were unseen behind her dark sunglasses. I figured she was probably not a dog fan. Layla was being a really wonderful dog the whole time and it made me proud. The old man bent to his knees and gently removed his wife's hands off his arm to move her hands toward Layla's head. 

He kept his wrinkled hand on his wife's while moving her hand to pet Layla's head. The wife began to smile a very radiant smile. The old man looked up at me and pointed at his eye and shook his head then pointed at his wife. It hit me. The wife was blind. 

The old man stood up while helping his wife up to her feet. He waited while his wife had a good stance and balance while holding to his arm. The old man turned to me and bowed his head to thank me for giving them a moment. He pointed at Layla and gave me an okay sign as saying Layla was a good dog. I smiled and nodded my head and bowed my head in a gesture of welcome. Layla silently waited with me as I watched the elderly couple smile and continued their stroll on a beautiful day. 

After they turned a corner and disappeared from my sight; I picked up to continue our walk, and I petted Layla's head. She shook her body as if she was getting rid of water then pranced along my side. Lost in my thoughts; I tucked the memory of the elderly couple inside my heart, and smiled to myself. 

It was a beautiful day, indeed. 


Thursday, March 8, 2012


How Far Along: 16 weeks! Whoo! Almost half way there! 

Total Weight Gain: I was right--I did gain a couple pounds but it was not too bad. 8 of 2-lb gain since the last time I went to see my doctor. 

Maternity Clothes: Still mixed even though I'm leaning way more to leggings and comfortable stretchy pants these days. I can manage to still fit in my regular shirts. I've bought two more maternity tops though! 

Stretch Marks: Nothing! *knocks on the wood*

Sleep: Still mixed. Some nights; I sleep great, and some nights, I don't sleep as well thanks to my sore hips and having to use bathroom. I definitely have been having WEIRDEST dreams ever. Throw in Lady Gaga and being on run from the police for murder....and you'll understand how weird my dreams are. 

Best Moments Of The Week: Still feeling Baby Russ popping inside! Feeling Baby Russ's heartbeat on the doppler. Getting few boxes of baby clothes from a great friend...thanks! Having come up with a great idea for nursery room and getting a green light from our landlord to decorate the room in any way we want! Getting cute things for the nursery in the mail! 

Miss Anything: Having a normal dream. 

Movements: Still popcorn feeling. Baby Russ sure likes to groove and shake a lot!

Food Craving: Broccoli and dill dip. That's a big one this week. And oh, yeah brats. 

Anything Making You Queasy: Nothing. 

Have you Started Showing Yet: Oh yep! I have a baby bump!

Gender Prediction: We will announce in 4 weeks whether Team Pink or Team Blue wins!

Belly Button In Or Out: Oh it's in and gathering lint from clothes. Geez, I feel like a plumber now. 

Wedding Ring On Or Off: On.

Mood: Happy Happy Happy!

Looking Forward To: Being Week 17! Holy bats! 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Am I Okay Being Deaf?

Deaf, Me? Fine. (ASL order)
I'm Deaf and I'm fine with it. (English) 

The most common questions that I often get are:

  1. Are you okay with being Deaf? 
  2. Are you okay with being the only Deaf person in your family?
  3. Do you ever wonder what hearing things would be like?
  4. If you could then would you fix/cure your Deafness so you'd be able to hear? 

Do I find those questions offensive? Nah, not even close.

Am I okay with being Deaf? Absolutely! As many of you know,  I am most likely to be born Deaf or became Deaf shortly after birth. Back in mid-eighties; they did not have a newborn hearing test like we do today, and we can't be exactly sure why I am Deaf while rest of my siblings are not. It is estimated that I probably did not have hair cells that developed properly in my cochleas. That is possibly why I am able to hear loud environmental sounds while I am unable to hear sounds at a normal level that hearing people can hear.

I am the only Deaf person in my family. The only person I knew that had any form of hearing problem was my great-grandma on my dad's side of the family; she became hard of hearing at age of twenty, but adapted pretty well with her hearing loss. I do not know if there is any other history of hearing loss in my family on both paternal and maternal sides. My brother, and two of my cousins, whom I do call my siblings as well, are not Deaf. My parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are not Deaf. Now I consider myself lucky because my immediate family knows how to sign, and my extended family members take their time to communicate with me by writing or gesturing or through others interpreting for us.

Unfortunately, this is not very common. Not many Deaf people have the same experiences as I had which is sad.

However, I have not felt very excluded often within my family. If I did then I certainly did not remember. I was often very included in every way. I adapted pretty well to living with my hearing family.

Have I ever wondered what hearing would be like?

Sure. I have. I do wonder what my husband's voice sound like. What voices sound like especially accents. What my cats' meowing sound like. A phone ringing. Being able to talk on the phone/cell phone. And oh many more.

Some people tell me, thank god you don't have to hear him rambling. Damn, that sounded terrible--be glad you didn't hear that! 

I find that funny and a part of me is relieved that I can't hear that...but there is other part of me that DOES wonder. I ask people...what does that sound like? They are taken off guard. They stumble, trip, or stammer as they try to explain the sound to me. To them, it is difficult to explain what a sound is like! I could imagine that it is no different than describing colors to a blind person since birth.

But am I sad that I can't hear?

No. Not at all. Just because I wonder doesn't mean that I am sad for the loss that I never had to begin with.

This kind of leads into the last question; Do I ever want to fix/cure my Deafness?

Actually no.

I am not against any form of hearing aids or speaking or Cochlear Implant. I think it is a personal choice. If a Deaf person wants hearing aids/CI or to speak instead of signing then that is fine as long as that person is comfortable doing what he/she is doing. I respect everybody's personal choice.

But as for me, I definitely don't want any of those. I do not want any hearing aids. I do not want a CI. I do not want to speak. I feel comfortable with not hearing and signing. That is what I grew up with. I have had past two-something decades of adjusting to my hearing loss. I have my ways. I  won't lie; there have had been moments of frustrations and I was pretty sure if I have had been hearing then my life would have been easier in some ways.

Then again, who says that life is also easy for Hearing people?

If I change the way I am now then I will be losing a big part of who I am.