Thursday, June 28, 2012


How Far Along: 32 weeks! I'm now in the eighth month of my pregnancy! It is getting so close to us meeting our little boy!

How Big Is Baby Russ: Baby Russ is the size of a squash! He is now in 4-pounds range (sure feels like it, ha!), and is between 15.2 to 16.7 inches long. 

Total Weight Gain: 32 pounds; 5 pounds total gain since the last doctor visit. So little guy is really growing!! Dr. Mbah said that since I have a compact belly; she has a feeling, based on her experience of working with pregnant women, that my body should be back to normal at some point after birth. Nice to have her vote of confidence, ha. 

Stretch Marks: Nothing other than a dark mark running vertically in the middle of my belly! 

Sleep: Still trying to catch up on my sleep from last week. Otherwise with my normal pregnancy ailments that I am so used to by now doesn't bug me. My stomach is starting to have a lot of weigh in it so it feels weird to lay on my side without my pillow propping it up! 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Having my aunts help me decorate Baby Russ's room, Grandma Tree buying some things for Baby Russ (she's spoiling him so bad already) finishing up the final touches to the room,  seeing our classmates at Ripon 5 Years Reunion, securing the glider and ottoman that we really wanted from Baby R Us (long story short: BRU we went to did not have the glider and ottoman we wanted in the stock since it was on clearance, but the lady managed to find the exact same one at BRU in other state and ordered it for us. The best part? It was even marked down with discounts even with it being on clearance. Score!), celebrating our first wedding anniversary, Dad surprising me with buying us a Baby Bullet set which is something I've been wanting for my whole pregnancy, seeing more babies from my mommy TNH group, glider rocker arriving earlier than we anticipated, feeling Baby Russ's heart beat at 151, knowing that Baby Russ is finally head-down, and knowing that Baby Russ is coming so soon! 

Preview of nursery room so far: 

Long shot of crib wall. I blacked out the
frames because we did not want to announce
Baby Russ's first name just yet!
The clutter will be cleared up once our changing
table arrives! 

Your first breath took ours away quote

Tree with a bluebird

My aunt Marlene hung up the forest friends
on the curtain rod itself and bought a
second rod for the curtain. It worked out
great, don't you think? 

The quilt I made and the dresser
(The clutter will be cleared once we get
our changing table)

Bubbles/polka dots

Other tree branch with shelf that holds
Baby Russ shoes! 

Organizer for baskets that holds
first aid, diapering needs, bathing needs,
& mommy needs. 

This is where our changing table will be placed.
Other tree with shelves that holds owls! 

Our new glider! 

Food Craving(s): Typical same old. Cheese, meat, and fruit. This guy is pretty good with eating whatever I like. Baby Russ doesn't mind the spicy food even though it gives him hiccups. 

Food Aversion(s): Same old. Greasy stuff just turns my stomach. It seems that ice cream is really hard on my stomach more so now than pre-pregnancy (Baby Russ does like ice cream because he moves like crazy if I eat a bit of it--it is just that my stomach doesn't agree with ice cream that great). 

Symptoms: Tingly/sensitive muscle underneath my rib--Baby Russ's favorite hang out spot (I found a perfect remedy though--bouncing on the yoga ball seems to encourage Baby Russ to nudge out of his favorite spot), klutzy, out of breath, more pressure in my lower stomach, peeing like a horse all of the time, fatigue, round ligament pain, a bit of itchy belly especially on the sides, sore feet and feeling VERY pregnant

Labor Signs: Nothing except Braxton-Hicks. My whole tummy gets tight and it feels uncomfortable even though not painful. 

Movements: Baby Russ is pretty chill this week because I am so busy running around fixing up his room, and doing errands. I think he's being rocked to sleep a lot lately. Even so, he has been wiggly little bug especially if I eat grapes, strawberries or something he really likes!

What Do I Miss: Having a pain-free ribs. 

Belly Button In or Out: Out. It doesn't bother me. 

Wedding Ring On or Off: Off for most part. I do still wear my wedding ring when we go out for any special occasions. Otherwise I keep it off because with this heat, it is harder to take my ring off, and I don't want to risk having it to be cut off my finger. 

Looking Forward To: Celebrating July of 4th! I love fireworks--they are so much fun to watch! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday July 11th at 1:45 pm. My latest update about Platelet level is that it is unchanged from the last month. The numbers is still in a low least it is stable/unchanged. Instead of having my blood drawn again in two weeks, I will just have it done next month to double check and make sure my CBC stays the same! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Do I Watch TV & Movies?

Some of you may wonder how I watch TV and movies. Do I read lips? Do I even watch TV or movies? Do I enjoy going to movie theater? 

I do definitely watch TV shows and movies. I do enjoy an occasional trip to a movie theater. And no, I don't rely on lip-reading to enjoy them. Stu does not interpret for me. 

This is where our technology comes in super handy. I rely on Closed-Captioning (CC) to enjoy what I am seeing on TV and movies. CC is the text that shows up on TV as white letters inside black box. Here's a picture of what I am talking about: 

I am used to reading CC on TV and movies. The speed and pace depends on the speed of the character talking. I have no problem keeping up with the pace and speed most of the time. Sometimes, I do get frustrated if CC is messed up or does not spell words properly. It is not very often that this happens. 

I have been asked if having CC on TV bothers Stu since he is hearing. Most of the time, Stu doesn't mind. The only time when it bothers him is when CC is too fast or is delayed rather being on time with people talking. 

Some of my friends, who are already mothers, enjoy leaving CC on their TV for their toddlers. The studies have shown that kids do pick up faster on reading development if they are able to associate sounds with CC on TV. Interesting stuff, right? 

Now for movie does this work?

Marcus Theater is really good company that provides Open Captioning (OC) for listed movies. What I normally do is check out their website and check out the list of OC movies that will be playing for the month. Some movies listed are not that great while some others would be something I would like to go and watch with Stu. Marcus Theaters normally does a great job of mixing up kid and adult movie choices on the list. It is not ideal, but better than nothing, right? 

OC is very different than CC. The difference is that OC is just white letters in the bold without being boxed in a black text area. Here's an example: 

Do I still go to see a movie in the movie theater even if there's no OC? Sure! I do. I enjoy going just because I like the environmental sounds coming from the movie speaker. Stu fills me in from time to time as needed. I tend to prefer action and horror movies over comedy because it has less talking in them and it puts less strain on my eyes trying to read lips to figure out what is going on. 

When there's a movie that I want to see and it is not on the list of schedule for OC and I don't want to go to see it in the theater then I typically wait until it comes out on DVD for rent. That way I can watch it with CC.

Other common question I get from hearing people is that they wonder if they have CC on their TV. The answer is yes. All TV does come with CC feature which is really nice for me when I come over to visit someone's house! :) 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Anniversary #1: The Year Of Changes

It is our first anniversary and I am finding it to be an emotional day for me. 

A year ago, I married my best friend of nearly now eight years, and it was one of the best days in my life. I knew I was going to marry my husband when he first came to me and asked me, in my language, to be his girlfriend. I was blessed to have loving friends, and family to witness our matrimony. Little did I know that by our first wedding anniversary that so much would have changed. It was the year of changes. 

We took a plunge shortly after our wedding and moved to a brand-new location far away from where we were living for first two years because Stu was offered a new job. He wanted to expand his experiences as a teacher working in a different school district, to coach at a college level (which has always been his dream), and to attend graduate school to further his education. 

We moved into a really adorable duplex which felt more like a home than our apartment that we lived in previously. The move happened so quickly after our wedding. I had to adjust pretty quickly from living in the country to living in a city. It was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be because I was with my husband and our cats. 

After we became settled in our new home; we quickly made friends with our neighbors, and felt like as if we were living there for longer than a few months due to our neighbors' warm welcomes. We began to talk about the possibility of adopting a dog since we had a bigger place, and a yard at last! I started doing my homework--of course, for those who knew me would tell you that I'm a planner--and came up with a compromise with Stu. He wanted a hound dog and I was not a big fan of hound breeds, but when I came across to Basset Hounds; I just knew this was going to be a good fit for us, and I bought it up to Stu. He agreed! I began scouring around for rescue groups that were affiliated with Basset Hounds. 

After a few months of looking around, it was when we came across to Layla on Petfinder and her AD description was: My name is Layla and I am 3-4 years old. I am sweet and lovable and just a perfect girl. I live in a foster home with other dogs and kids and I am doing great there. I would love to have a home of my own. Could it be with you?

This is her original AD picture! 

A few emails being exchanged, and an interview later; we were approved to adopt Layla, and we drove an hour south to pick her up! It was so exciting to bring her home despite her being shy and nervous about moving into a new family. Shortly after bringing her home, we went through an adjustment period with Layla. Over the course of several months; Layla grew more comfortable and began to realize that she was really at home with us. There was no turning back ever since. She befriended Missy Girl and continued, even to this day,  to appease Mr. Jinxy into a having a friendship with her! She brought us so much joy and happiness. A day had not gone without one of us bursting out laughing at Layla's latest clownish behavior. She was a perfect fit with our little family.

Even so, our little family was still incomplete.

We were already approaching into our early 30s, and we felt that we were settled down enough to start considering a newest addition to our family....a little baby Russ! For a long while, it was just up in the air and bunch of serious discussion to air our concerns, fears, goals, and dreams. We finally decided that the timing was never going to be right, and we might as well start trying for a baby since we were already together for 7 years by that point.

Never in our wildest dream that we would conceive so quickly. But we did. It was our little miracle that we were already expecting before Christmas. Our first doctor appointment came quickly after the holidays and we found out when we were expecting our baby.

Yes, all of this happened within a year. This was the year of many changes.

As I sat down cross-legged on the floor, I opened a very special container that was given to me at my bridal shower over a year ago:

I dumped the contents out of this container and a warm fuzz spread in my chest while I gingerly picked each envelope, and searched for the right envelope. 

There it was. The right envelope addressed for us on our very first anniversary. Immediately, I recognized the handwriting. Also, there was the only one person who would ever call me Boo. It belonged to my mom. 

I tore open the sleeve of the envelope on the back as carefully as I could not to ruin the cover and the letter inside. I read the words carefully while I began to tear up (Matter of fact, I am already tearing up again while I am typing this!!). 

Dear Boo & Stu;
Remember the wedding? Doesn't it feel like yesterday? Time flies when you
love and cherish each other. Always talk things out, never go to sleep angry. I
wish you love forever and happiness. Love Mom Therese
Ps: Where are my grandkids? 

Through my tears, I laughed at my mom's very post-script comment because her wish did come true already  albeit no twins!

As I take my husband's hand into mine and I smile at him, I feel very cherished and loved. I am reminded by our last dance song at our wedding: 

The best is yet to come.....



Thursday, June 21, 2012


I assure you that my butt is not lumpy! It's just my shirt sitting
on my leggings wrong! I'm just too tired to change/care about how
I look has been a busy day. :) 
How Far Along: 31 weeks! 

How Big Is Baby Russ: Baby Russ is between 15.2 to 16.7 inches long, and about 3.3 pounds. He is as big as a Pineapple! Holy Mackerel--imagine that--a Pineapple inside my belly! 

Total Weight Gain: 27 pounds.

Stretch Marks: Nope. I am pretty sure that Baby Russ just went through other growth spurt because my belly seems to be bigger than last week. Even people are starting to ask when I am due and what gender I am having lately! I guess I look really pregnant. 

Maternity Clothes: Using the same stuff I have in my stock and I've been stocking up on nursing bras as well! 

Sleep: Not the best lately. It's not because of Baby Russ, but due to storms and that means one very scared Basset dog to console and cuddle with! My dreams have been getting more vivid, and unpleasant. I'm pretty sure it has to do a lot my subconscious anxiety with wanting to make sure Baby Russ is completely healthy and well. 


(Blades of Glory; victory dance) 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Shopping with my mom, deep cleaning both nursery room and my Jeep (who knew that having my Jeep cleaned inside and outside, oil changed and fixed due to recall situation would make this lady very happy), having my aunts come over to help decorate the nursery room (it's still work in the progress--pictures to come soon, I promise), feeling my little guy moving around, and just knowing that everything is almost in the place for my little guy to come home! I feel pretty darned accomplished.

See, hear this woman roar! I built this all by myself!
I plan on fixing the tray and adjust the belt tomorrow
when I have more energy, ha! 

Clothes (Newborn, 0-3, 3-6, and some 6 months), bibs, receiving blankets, towels, and burping blanketsall WASHED and put away! Can you see that Baby Russ is spoiled? 
Food Craving(s): I was craving for crab cakes for some reason! I searched for it everywhere and was unable to find any...until I shopped at Target. I was quite happy to have my crab cakes! 

Food Aversion(s): Unchanged. I tried eating ice cream with Starbucks Java Chip flavor and really did not like it. It just didn't agree with my stomach. Not sure if it was my Lactose Intolerance acting up or if Baby Russ hated it. 

Symptoms: Like I mention every week; sore ribs--that will never change. It's starting to spread all over underneath my right rib cage, and my skin/muscle is very sensitive in that area. Sore lower back due to my loosening hips so I feel like I am waddling a bit. Out of breath if I do too much at time (which makes my nesting instinct harder because if I am physically able then I would have been cleaning nonstop all day long instead of spacing it out over the week). Swollen feet if I am on them for too long! Sadly, I've been a bit more irritable lately mostly because of my sore ribs, and my BS /stupid people tolerance has dropped to nearly empty these days. 

This look is probably the most common I have these days whilst dealing with people who drives me nuts. 

(Rocky Horror Picture Show) 

Labor Signs: Some Braxton-Hicks if I am overdoing it too much. Otherwise not much happening. Baby Russ won't be budging for other month or so! :) 

Movements: My little guy has been getting hiccups lately. I can tell because his hiccuping has a very rhythmic pattern to it and it can last as long as half hour at time! Interesting fact: Hiccuping is a form of practice for in-utero babies to prepare themselves to breathe once they are born (It doesn't mean they are actually breathing in the womb--it just means they are practicing their throat, mouth and lungs reflexes while swallowing amniotic fluid).  

What Do I Miss: My energy. I wish I have my 2nd trimester energy to be able to accomplish physical chores! Then everything will be get done way faster. 

Belly Button In or Out: Out. 

Wedding Ring On or Off: I have been trying to find a nice fake ring in a bigger size to wear and haven't really found any. 

Looking Forward To: Having the nursery room completely done once the changing table has arrived and posting pictures! Seeing more of Mommies in my group having their babies. Just knowing that I am going to have my boy in.....8 WEEKS! 

Next Appointment: Tuesday June 26th; just a regular appointment with blood test. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Do We Need Facial Expressions While Signing?

People have commented to me so many times how expressive Deaf people are. Hearing people usually find it really fascinating how our facial expressions are constantly shifting while we are signing. I admit that sometime it is fun to watch myself sign in the mirror and see how subtle or not-so-subtle my expressions are. 

Do you know that there are actually several signs that look exactly the same, but has different meanings? 

Say.....Miss, Disappoint, Bitter, Sour, and Said all look the same.

Even worse, we can't distinguish what each word means without any facial expression to supply its meaning of the word.  

Let me show you. 


See how confusing it can be!! 

How the heck can I tell the difference between
all those same signs if there's no facial expressions to give me any cue? 

Now watch the next video; all the same words, but this time with facial expressions.
(Miss, Disappoint, Bitter, Sour, & Said) 

Fear not, there's captioning for you Hearing and Deaf folks who does not sign! 


1) I miss you: Notice how I look sad (furrowed eyebrows, frowning, and sad eyes) when I sign miss.

2) Your behavior has disappointed me: I exclude has and me while signing, but you can see that I shake my head and have a straight frown while signing disappointed.

3) That situation happened recently...I am still bitter: When I sign bitter; notice how I have a scowl on my face, clawed hand, grimaced mouth , and disgusted facial expression.

4) The candy is sour: While signing sour, you can see that I have sunken in cheeks, puckered lips, raised eyebrows, and a look of distortion on my face.

5) He said that: In this case, there's not any specific facial expression cues for the word said, but rather it is the context that is being used in the sentence.

Can you really imagine us signing without using our facial expressions? So much will be lost in translation, and  no one will even be understood. Also, not to mention that sign language will be pretty boring without rich meaning, tone, and context to fill in what each sign represents.

Just like hearing folks speaking in long, flat, and monotone voices. It will be pretty boring, right?

So be sure to remember to use your facial expressions if you are learning ASL or any form of sign language, and have fun with it! :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Far Has Layla Come

September 26th is Layla's adoption/birthday date. We do not know her actual birthday. It feels right to use that date for her birthday since it has a special meaning to us. Layla is estimated to be 3-4 years old, and we have a feeling she is 4-year old based on her physical examination by her vet. 

After I was interviewed by the adoption agency, I received a good news that we were approved to meet and adopt Layla! I thanked the lady and ran to call Stuart. I broke the good news to him. He was coaching at Ripon College that day. I begged Stu to make time for us to go down to Milwaukee area to meet Layla. He agreed. 

I was so excited. I ran to Walmart to purchase a dog crate, and went to Petco to get leash along with some bowls, and toys. I must have spent $100 that day! I came home and set up the new home for Layla. Stu arrived home and approved the items I had purchased for Layla. We drove down to Grafton (north of Milwaukee) and arrived at the local Petco store. We were a bit early so we spent a bit of time walking around and talking about our possible dog. We must have waited what felt like forever (in reality, it was probably just half hour), and Layla finally showed up with her handler. She was timid and unsure. Other than that, she was a perfect size for our home. We ended up adopting her right there.

In a few months from now, it will be a year since we added Layla to our family. We can't imagine our lives without Layla in it.

Layla has been doing beautifully. Her resource guarding behaviors are nearly non-existent. It is because we maintain her training and continually remind her of her boundaries. Layla is comfortable enough to allow me to take unapproved food out of her mouth with my bare hand. Believe it or not; there was a time when I couldn't do this without getting nipped! More often than not, during our walks; Layla will find a chicken bone or scraps on the sidewalk and tries to eat it, I end up taking it out of her mouth without her getting upset, and I give her a treat for her cooperation. Sometimes, I don't even give her a treat and pet her instead. 

We are able to leave our food on the coffee table or eat around Layla nearby without worrying she will try to snatch food from us. The drooling part...nothing we can do about that though! She does counter surf in the kitchen if I have my back turned to her or leave the kitchen unattended for a few minutes. That is a Basset thing more than guard resourcing behavior! 

Layla is a completely different dog from when she first came to us. Our family members continue to tell us how wonderful, how sweet, and how hilarious Layla is. My aunt even gave me a wonderful compliment about Layla--saying that she is a miracle with given how much she has come from the beginning. 

This kind of makes me want to find our first trainer (here's the post about her first assessment by this particular trainer: First Awful Assessment) and tell her to SUCK IT. Childish of me, I is just that it still angers me how badly the first trainer misjudged Layla. All I can do is really write a review online explaining that this trainer is not a good fit for us, and that I would not recommend her at all. Matter of fact, I have a feeling if this trainer returns to evaluate Layla once again then she will give us a completely 180 answer about Layla. Only if I can get her do this to herself.....



Layla has recently developed a new habit of being leash aggressive during our walks. She has a tendency to lunge and bark like crazy at a dog being walked by his/her owner across the street. However, if the dog and his/her owner walks up to us; Layla is fine and sniffs happily to say hello. I am not sure why she does this. Maybe she is frustrated that she cannot go across the street to say hello or wants to assert her dominance over that dog. Who knows. Fortunately, we are able to nip this in the bud by asserting our dominant position over Layla by standing in front of her and forcing her to calm down rather than becoming too fixated on the dog. Like us people, she has both good and bad days. Some days, she doesn't want to cooperate and listen and it is when I usually cut our daily walk short. On most days, which are good, she listens and continues to move on without going crazy on her leash.

Layla is a huge clown. She likes to make funniest facial expressions, noises, and does things that make us laugh. Her tail wags like crazy when we laugh. On some occasions, we have found her sleeping on our bed just like a person (never mind that she is really not allowed on our bed in the first place...). 

Even with her quirks, funny characteristics, and some naughty behaviors to be remedied; we would not trade her for any other dog in the whole world. She is ours.

Truly, if you do end up adopting a dog that may have a major adjustment issue then please do not give up on your dog. It may be hard on some days. It may make you question your decision whether you are the right person for your dog. It may make you want to scream, and pull hair out of your head. If you keep on working with your dog to remedy some issues he/she may have then you will be amazed by the outcome.

It did take us at least half year to see a drastic change with Layla's behavior. Even so, when her undesirable behavior showed up then we corrected it immediately to remind her that it was not desirable and likable. We continually rewarded her for good and likable behaviors. We socialized Layla with other dogs--our family pets, at dog parks, and even at places that allowed dogs such as Petco or Petsmart stores.

It has been nearly a year and Layla is a very different dog from when we first got her. She is no longer frightened or timid. There has been moments when she is a bit shy, and when she is in that mood then we explain to people to give her time rather than rushing to her and overwhelming her. Her confidence level has definitely boosted ever since. She is always supervised around kids--really, with any dogs, you will need to supervise dogs with kids--and even so; she is really wonderful with them. Layla is a HUGE sucker for petting and kisses. She stops every person she sees and begs to be petted. 

There is always hope for dogs like her.

Just don't give up on your dog with similar issues.

It will be worth the journey and hard work. I promise.

***If you do end up with a dog that is deemed to be still very difficult and aggressive despite all of your hard work and patience then be aware that you are not doing wrong by surrendering your dog, and take credit in at least trying. Fortunately, this does not happen very often. More often than not, you'll end up having  dog that will drastically improve!***

Layla hanging out with Coco (My mom's dog)


Thursday, June 14, 2012


How Far Along: 3-0 weeks! 30!!! We are about 10 weeks away from meeting my little boy (give or take a week or two)!! 


How Big Is Baby: Baby Russ is now in 3-pounds range! He is between 15.2 to 16.7 inches long. He is as big as an English Hothouse Cucumber. What a funny name for a cumber, eh? 

Total Weight Gain: -1, lost a pound since the last appointment even though I was not sure why given with how much I have been eating lately! Dr. Mbah didn't seem to be worried at all because I've been eating well so far.  So, 27 pounds it is! 

Stretch Marks: Nada. I'm kind of surprised that I've made this far without any tiger stripes. So I'm still knocking on the wood. 

Maternity Clothes: I'm mixing up all clothes I have in my maternity stock. I'm glad that I have a quite nice variety of shirts, dresses, a yoga pants, and leggings!

Sleep: It is the same old. I like using my body pillow to support my belly. Stu says that I am a terrible bed cover hog because the blanket rolls into with my body pillow as I roll over to my sides during the night. It's a good thing that Stu doesn't mind! 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Having our family friends; Sue and Roseanne to let me know that Baby Russ's quilt is all done, and I am absolutely thrilled about it! My new changing table will be shipped to my house (we decided we wanted a bigger changing table and Carter's offered to send us a new changing table). Feeling Baby Russ's heartbeat on the fetal monitor--he is at 153, steady and strong! I love that part at my appointments. Getting ready to wash Baby Russ's clothes and bed sheets! 

Food Craving(s): O-M-G; I had a terrible craving for mini-tacos, random I know,  the other night, and Stu was more than happy to oblige to do a food store run to pick up just mini-tacos for me. I was one very happy lady that night! 

Food Aversion(s): Unchanged. I just avoid the food I don't like and I'm golden. 

Symptoms: Still with the sore ribs! My guy really likes to hang out in that particular spot and pushes everything up against my poor ribs. I have to lean forward or walk around in order to get him to move lower in my belly. Geez. Acid Reflux from my heartburn is awful--I hate it because the acid goes up into my throat and it burns! Fortunately, I don't have this very often--just recently because I've been eating a bit too much spicy food! Walking up stairs is getting harder for me and I get out of breath easily. I am starting to hate laundry days just for that reason. I am peeing a lot more now--I thought it was bad if I drink a glass of juice/water then I have to go in 5 minutes. Oy. I am getting Braxton-Hicks now especially after long walks with my dog. My whole belly gets very hard. It doesn't hurt at all--just really uncomfortable and it passes within 60 seconds. It's crazy! 

Movements: Baby Russ likes to stretch out and it is weirdest thing EVER. The sensation is hard to explain. It does not hurt at all. When Baby Russ's butt, head, foot or elbow pushes out from the inside; that particular area of my skin bulges out, and gets hard--I can feel Baby Russ. Then I can feel the skin stretching inside. He does not roll around anymore so I am assuming he's getting kind of cramped inside his little home. All he can really do is jab, poke, stretch, or kick at this point. 

What Do I Miss: Wine. Food that I cannot touch like poppy seeds Kolaches (it's a pastry filled with fruit or whatnot--my favorite is poppy seed), Sushi, Cured meat, licking batter from the bowl (it has raw egg in it), Deli meat like Ham that is COLD not heated, and I want my body back so I can eat all that stuff! 

Belly Button In or Out: Psh, it has been out for some time now. People can notice my belly button through my shirts. Fortunately, shirts haven't been bothering my belly button. 

Wedding Ring On or Off: Off. I've put it away in a safe spot until Baby Russ is born. I have no swelling at all, but I want to be safe than sorry. I'm thinking about purchasing a cheap fake ring in a bigger size--I just feel so naked without it!

Looking Forward To: Having my mom visit and staying the whole week with me while Stu goes to his AP history conference at O'Lakes, and having my aunts come up for a day to help us with decorating and organizing  Baby Russ's nursery! 

Next Appointment: Tuesday June 26th. At that appointment, I need my blood-work up done again to re-check my Platelet level. For those that aren't sure what Platelet is; it is found in blood stream and it plays a factor with clotting the blood. The blood work from my Glucose test shows that my Platelet level is on the low side. Dr. Mbah wants it to be rechecked. Basically, if my platelet and CBC levels are still low when it gets closer to when I deliver my boy then it means the epidural and drugs are definitely OUT--it affects the blood clotting process even more. It won't affect the way how I deliver Baby Russ though. Let's see if my CBC/Platelet levels will be normalized or stays the same until Baby Russ is ready to be born. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


How Far Along: 29 weeks! It  is hard to believe that I'll be 30 weeks next week. It seems like yesterday when I just learned that I am pregnant. I alternate between thinking wow, time flies to ugh, I feel I've been pregnant forever! 

How Big Is Baby: Baby Russ is between 15.2 to 16.7 inches long and about 2.5 to 3.8 pounds. He's as big as an Acorn Squash. 

Total Weight Gain: 28 pounds. I sure feel as if I had swallowed a basketball! 

Stretch Marks: The only obvious mark I have on my stomach is the darkening Linea Nigra. My belly has been feeling itchy a lot more these days so I've been applying Coca Palmer lotion on my belly more frequently now. 

Maternity Clothes: I got a bunch of hand-down cute shirts and couple dresses that I am able to wear over the summer! One of those hand-down shirts was pictured above...cute, right? 

Sleep: Fair enough. I am not complaining. Baby Russ has been making a habit of waking me up at early sunrise every morning especially if I turn to my right side (he seems to like to sleep on the right side) so I feel him moving and jabbing. 

Best Moment(s) Of The Week: Aiken Baby Shower was awesome! I got so much stuff that we needed for Baby Russ. I had a feeling that we were pretty much covered for everything! I loved everything that I got from the shower. Seeing adorable things that my aunt Marlene made for the shower put a smile on my face. I had to laugh at my last childbirth class--we were starting Infant Care 101, and our teacher focused on breastfeeding prep. Stu cracked up the whole class from being goofy, and using his diary cow farming experience to compare with breastfeeding. Silly guy. Getting congratulatory cards in the mail always made me smile! Being a part of a wonderful mommy groups online and waiting for my friends to deliver their babies anytime soon! 

Onesies and burp clothes made into roses

Food Craving(s): I have been really liking blackberries a lot lately. I can easily consume a box of Blackberries in one sitting if I am not too careful! To my surprise; I am liking black beans in my diet--I used to be super picky eater and really hate black beans. Mind you, it's not the same as Bush beans--yuck; I still don't like them and avoid them at all cost. Black beans are surprisingly not bad and the texture isn't bad if it's mixed in with salad or other things. 

Food Aversion(s): Unchanged. 

Symptoms: Sore rib. That obviously has not changed. My bladder no longer can contain itself especially when Baby Russ is sitting low! I've had an accident where I peed my pants from waiting a bit too long--crap--so that means if I gotta go then I gotta go NOW. My round ligament has been more painful this trimester especially on my right lower side. Grow, little guy, grow! 
I have been trying to tell myself this, but does not ring true at all.
(Big Bang Theory; Sheldon)

Movements: Baby Russ is probably getting a bit crowded in his home. My stomach jiggles and moves as he moves around. He has been a slider lately--sliding around and elbowing or pushing out with his heels. It's the most bizarre thing I have ever seen in my whole life! I feel like I have an alien inside me wanting to get out. Baby Russ also moves when he is sampling food and likes the food that I've eaten. 

What Do I Miss: Being able to breath and having energy. I'm running out of both! I'm looking forward to when Baby Russ drops so I can breath easier.....yet at the same time, it will be hard on my bladder! So there's no win-situation in this case. I don't have the same energy as I used to in my second trimester. I miss it and want it back!! 

Belly Button In or Out: OUT. I feel like a cooked turkey! 

Wedding Ring On or Off: I decided to keep my ring off. I'm tired of taking it off and on according to the weather. It is just easier to take it off and keep it in a safe spot until Baby Russ is here. It does feel really weird to walk around in the public without my ring and I feel like people thinks I'm a single pregnant woman! 

Looking Forward To: Finally being able to set up Baby Russ's nursery room! 

Next Appointment: June 12 at 10:30 am. That's next week! I'm kind of not used to that just yet! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Do I Get By In My Everyday Life As a Deaf Person?

ASL Order: Sounds in Everyday Life Me do???
English: What I do with everyday sounds in life? 

Since I have been getting a lot of questions lately about accommodations for my Deafness in my daily life, I have decided to type up a post about what I use, and how they help me.

How do you get up in the morning? Does Stu wake you up? If he does then what if he is gone before you wake up then what? 

Actually, I do not rely on Stu to wake me up. I have an alarm clock called Sonic Boom that looks like this:

Image reserved by Harris Communication

You see the attached pod to the clock? That is the vibrator, and I know it sounds a bit dirty, but it is not. Trust me. *winks* I put the vibrating pod under the sheet fitter so it won't fall out during the night. I set the alarm at the specific time I want to get up. There is 3 different modes that you can choose from: The buzzer with vibrating, buzzer alone, or vibrating alone. I often use vibrating with buzzer because if the vibrator pod falls out during the night then Layla (my dog) can alert me if the buzzer goes off!  The following morning; when it is time for me to wake up, the vibrator will go off and shakes the whole bed! 

There is a different method that Deaf people can use if they don't like the vibrating clock. They have other choice which is plugging the alarm clock to their lamp. When it is time for them to get up, the alarm will be connected to the lamp and cause the light to go on and off very much like a strobe effect. 

I am not a fan of this. I am a heavy--I mean, a very, very heavy sleeper--and the light does not wake me up! I will sleep through anything. The only thing that has been successful is the vibrating clock and I love it. Unfortunately, this equipment is very expensive, and I have to pay out of my pocket. However, the good thing about this is that it can last for a very, very, very long time. My first one lasted about 12 years before it choked and died. 

Does this bother Stu? 

The answer is no; it does not bother him because Stu is often up before I am. On those days when I am up before Stu is, he is already accustomed to the shaking bed, and I am not the type of person to hit snooze button. Once it goes off, I get up right away and start off to my day. 

Do you need people to make phone calls for you? 

Nope! I have a videophone called Z-20. I absolutely love it. This is free for me which is awesome because it is extremely expensive to obtain a VP (it can range between $200 to over $1,000 depending on the equipment). The only thing I do not have with my VP is that I opted out to having a phone attached because I obviously do not speak and have no need for it. 

Image reserved by ZVRS

I am able to make phone calls to anyone--both Deaf and Hearing with this. With Deaf people, this works very similar as Skype instant message or a webcam system. I dial the number to a Deaf person and the screen will be filled with the picture of that person while at the bottom corner, there is a smaller screen of me, and it is how we talk. As for a hearing person, it is a bit different. I use relay system, which I contact an ASL interpreter, and the ASL interpreter will connect me to a hearing person. The interpreter is on the screen not the hearing person since the hearing person is on the phone. The ASL interpreter is the middle ground between me and the hearing person. The ASL interpreter will stay on for an entire conversation and is bound to the law not to reveal or share the information to the third party. The interpreter is strictly there as a Deaf person's ears and voice. 

If I am a hearing person and know sign language then can I have a VP as well? 

Absolutely! You can purchase VP if you want. Unfortunately, it is very expensive for hearing people to obtain videophones. This is why hearing people often rely on Skype or instant messaging  or relay interpreter to communicate with a Deaf person.

Since you are pregnant, how do you plan on being there for your baby when he cries and needs your attention? 

Unfortunately, there is no equipment designated specifically for Deaf parents to alert them of their crying baby made by companies that produces assistance tools for the Deaf and/or Deaf and Blind. However, it is not hopeless for us Deaf parents! There are many baby monitors that are produced by companies for hearing parents that can also benefit the Deaf parents. For example; there are baby monitors with video with vibrating alert, or monitors that are without videos but with vibrating alert. 

I have Graco Baby Monitors that vibrates when my baby cries or needs my attention. 

How do you know when there's someone at the door? 

There is a door bell alert designed for Deaf people. The door bell is connected to the strobe light that will go off once someone knocks on the door. 

By the way, I hated the door bell. I used to have one during my sophomore year in college. It never stops going off! I ended up taking it down. 

OR, there is also a hearing ear dog. 

Copyrighted by Hearing Ear Dog of Canada 

Hearing Ear dog is a trained dog that works specifically for Deaf people. The trainers teach them to alert for sounds such as baby crying, door bell ringing or someone knocking, phone going off, stove going off, fire alarm ringing and many more. HED (Hearing Ear Dog) is NOT a pet, and is a working dog. If you see a dog with a bright orange vest then this usually means the dog is working and you should not treat the dog as a pet. HED goes anywhere in the public with a Deaf person while a pet dog obviously stays at home. 

Do you have a HED dog? 

No I do not. I really don't see a point because I live with a hearing husband, and I have a dog that already alerts me! Layla is NOT a trained HED and is a pet. It is easy to know when someone is at the door when  I am home alone because Layla is already barking up a storm and scratching at the door! I can easily train Layla to alert me for other sounds if I wish, but she's just a bit too stubborn, and I really don't care much for to be alerted for simplest things. 

When I go to my appointments, I have ASL interpreter ready to communicate for me. Matter of fact, Stu and I have an interpreter for our childbirth class because it is not Stu's job to interpret for me and frankly; it's not fair to impose that on him anyway! 

Outside my appointments, I do not have an interpreter because there is no need for one, and I am fairly independent. I just pay extra attention to clock if I am baking and cooking. I am more cautious on the road.  I rely on the cues of other drivers to let me know if there is any emergency vehicles coming. I check my rear-view mirror frequently if I am not surrounded by many other drivers. I have a special little mirror on my rear-view mirror to look in the back seat for my dog and soon, my little baby. I find that I am on alert when I am out in the public more than I would be at home. I pay attention to the smallest details to get my cues. I often bring my little notebook with a pen in my purse when I go out so I can communicate with the hearing folks. 

I hope this answers some of your questions, my dear readers! Like always, feel free to ask me any questions via Facebook, or leave a comment to my blog anytime and I'll get back to you with an answer!