Monday, July 30, 2012

What Is It Like to Be Deaf?

I am finally back to my normal blogging. No more baby-oriented posts other than my weekly pregnancy update and soon, weekly/monthly baby update about my son from now on, I promise! I am sure some of you are cheering for happiness and saying whew, she has baby brain out of her system!

Sign for DEAF 

So, having said that....I want to share something that have come across my way about being Deaf. I really like how this author is honest and open about the struggles we do face as Deaf people. I don't want to edit or correct the sentence structure and some grammatical mistakes because if I do that then I will be taking away the meaning of this author's experience. I am sure that you will understand this short propose, and get a feel of our struggles. 

This is credited to Kelly Anderson's friend (Once I find out the name of her friend then I will properly cite this): 

What is it like to be Deaf?

People have asked me. How are you Deaf? Deaf? Oh, hmm... how do I explain that? Simple: I can't hear. No, wait... it is much more than that. It is similar to a goldfish in a bowl, always observing things going on. People talking at all times. It is like a man on his own island Among foreigners. Isolation is no stranger to me. Relatives say hi and bye, but I sit for 5 hours among them, taking great pleasure at amusing babies or being amused by TV. Reading books, resting, helping out with food. Natural curiosity perks up upon seeing great laughter, crying, anger. Inquiring only to meet with a "Never mind", "Nothing" or "Oh, it's not important". Getting a summarized statement of the whole day. I'm supposed to smile to show my happiness. Little do they know how truly miserable I am. People are in control of language usage, I am at loss and really uncomfortable there. Always feeling like an outsider among the hearing people, even though it was not their intention. They are always assuming that I am part of them by my physical presence, not understanding the importance of communication. Facing the choice between Deaf Event weekend or a family reunion. Facing the choice between the family commitment and Deaf friends. I must make the choices constantly, any wonder why I choose Deaf friends??? I get such great pleasure at the Deaf clubs, before I realize it, it is already 2:00 am, whereas I anxiously look at the clock every few minutes at the Family Reunion. With Deaf people, I feel so normal, our communication flows back and forth. Catch up with little trivials, our daily life, our frustration in the bigger world, seeking the mutual understanding, contented smiles and laughter are musical. So magical to me, so attuned to each other's feelings. True happiness is so important. I feel more at home with Deaf people of various color, religion, short or tall than I do among my own hearing relatives. And you wonder why? Our language is common. We understand each other. Being at loss of control of the environment that is communication, people panic and retreat to avoid Deaf people like the plague. But Deaf people are still human beings with dreams, desires, and needs to belong, just like everyone else. That's how I am Deaf.

NTD (National Theater for the Deaf) 

This is why Deaf people feel an instantaneous connection with each other. We are the one that silently carries  the burden of isolation, frustration, and loneliness of living in the hearing world. We are always on the outside. We have a harder time connecting with our hearing friends and family members. It is not that we don't want to connect with them. We desperately do. It is difficult to be sitting among them talking over each other, laughing, and not fully participating in that conversation. We have to ask a person, who is able to sign, what is going on. Most of the time, we are told summary of what is going on, or even worse, be told that nothing is going on. Sometimes, we are fortunate to have a person signing for us for a few minutes only to have her or him stop signing and forget about us. It is not intentional on their part. It just happens.

When we get upset about this; we are viewed as a bad guy for not having a positive attitude, and be told that we need to suck it up. Little they do realize is not always fun to be sitting there reading a book as if I am a part of the decor rather than a part of them.

So when we go to a Deaf event, it is as if the whole other world opens up! I understand what they are talking about. I can see what everybody are talking about. I can see what a couple is whispering about across the room. I see kids signing to each other about nonsense while giggling and screaming and running amok. Deaf people come up to me and say HEY! There's no invisible barrier between me and them. I can connect with them immediately. It feels so good. I don't feel isolated, lonely, and rejected. There's no awkwardness among us. There's no anxiety in me. I feel less pressured to understand what is not being understood. There's a world of pressure off my shoulders. I am a part of them, and they are a part of me. 

Even if I am not at a Deaf event, when a Deaf person comes up to me and ask me if I am Deaf then I happily replied Yes I am Deaf!  Then we talk for good twenty minutes to fill up the social bar within ourselves until next time we meet other Deaf person. This is why Deaf people reach out to each other all of the time. It is a mutual understanding we have. We don't have to explain to each other why we are frustrated, tired, and lonely. We already know the obstacles we face. We have experienced discrimination. All of that is already known and spoke through our eyes once we see each other. It's a nice break from our daily grind of living in the hearing world.

It is not that we dislike being with hearing people. It is just that they don't understand what it is like to be Deaf.

Does this mean that Deaf people don't want to be around with hearing friends and families? Absolutely not.

We do have plenty of hearing friends and families that we love being with! I do enjoy being with hearing friends, and my families. I even enjoy making new hearing friends even if they don't know sign language.

Matter of fact, I just spent the other night hanging out with our downstairs neighbors playing a board game and enjoying the cook-out food. Did they know sign language? No. Not a stitch of it! Yet we managed to have a good time together! It was a really good feeling to be invited, and to see them try.

This is why I know that most of hearing people do try their best. I keep this in my mind and try to forge ahead while focusing on the good rather than the bad. It is not always easy yet at the same time, it is worth trying and staying in the moment to be with people I care and love about. None of this is their fault that I am Deaf. It is not their fault that they don't know sign language fluently. It is not their fault that they don't know the obstacles that comes with being Deaf. Sometimes people are just not sure what to do with a person that they can't communicate with very well. I can't blame them for that.

Some Deaf people prefer not to have this mindset and embrace their Deaf family (often close-knitted friends) over their given family. Do I blame them for that? Not really. I am fortunate that my family is able to sign even though they do forget to sign during social events sometimes, and I know at least they try. I am fortunate that my husband's family is willing to at least try talk to me and include me somehow. My hearing friends, even though not all of them know sign language, do make an effort to make me feel as a part of their world. I may not fit in all way with them, and I have made a peace with this. Not many Deaf people have the same experiences that I do. This is why I understand how some of them prefer to stay in the world that they feel comfortable with and understand and feel a part of it.

Friday, July 27, 2012


How Far Along: 36 Weeks! I'm officially now in 9th month of my pregnancy. Stu says that it is starting to be difficult to take my pregnancy pictures because of my HUGE belly! 

How Big Is Baby Russ: Baby Russ is now between 5.8 to 6 pounds! He's definitely beefing up, isn't he? He could be between 17.2 to 19 inches long. I'm leaning toward to him being a longer baby since Stu and I are tall ourselves, and it seems that he is getting really cramped inside my belly. Baby Russ is the size of a Honeydew melon! 

Total Weight Gain: 5 pounds. So the total weight gain is whooping 39 pounds! Dr. Mbah said that most of the recent weight gain is contributed to my baby boy. Eek!

Stretch Marks: Nothing. My stomach has been itchy on the top so I've been using a lot more lotion these days. My boy is definitely getting bigger inside! 

Sleep: I am tired even though my sleeping has not changed much aside from getting up every so to pee and switching over to my other side to alleviate my sore hips (yep they're back). Thank goodness for my body pillow otherwise I'd be sleeping a lot less than I have! 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Having our hospital bag to be nearly done with being packed, being told that my dad wants to expose Baby Russ to Frank Zappa, seeing Lauren and Joey even though it is bittersweet, hiking with Stu and Layla, feeling Baby Russ's heartbeat (145 this time), and getting to try out a new phone for a few days before deciding if it's the one for me to buy! 

Food Craving(s): Really don't have one this week. But I'm definitely looking forward to Steve's (my step dad) canned jams that my mom will be bringing up this weekend! Nom Nom! 

Food Aversion(s): New ones I have discovered recently; Chai tea and buttered popcorn. They both turn my stomach and make me feel blah. I think Chai Tea had too much sugar and buttered popcorn was greasy. No big deal though. I don't often eat/drink those anyway! 

Symptoms: This may sound gross, yet normal in a pregnancy; my gums have started bleeding every time I brush my teeth! It is due to my gums becoming more sensitive and increased blood flow in my body. Thankfully, this will go away after I give birth. This is nothing new and has become my weekly symptom that has not gone away--my sore ribs. It's funny because Baby Russ's heel occasionally stick out right under my rib cage on the side and when I touch his heel, he pulls his foot back inside! What a funny guy he is already. I'm stating to have more of frequent back soreness. I feel like turtle these days--waddling and walking slowly in order to not get out of breath. Sore hips; I am told that it is because my joints are loosening in my pelvis for childbirth. 

Labor Signs: I have recently learned that achy lower back is a symptom of labor warming up, and my pelvis joints loosening up. I've been having a lot of back ache in past week. It could also be due to Baby Russ's gaining weight. 

Movements: Baby Russ is now squirmy little worm. He does not punch or kick anymore because face it, he has no room to do this, and he has to settle for squirming instead. He likes to trace his fingers on the wall of my belly and it feels like a very tingly sensation. His head bumps on my pelvis when he is having hiccups. From time to time, he will stick his butt out when he is trying to wiggle into a comfortable spot! It's pretty funny how his body parts are beginning to stick out of my belly quite often these days. He also shakes my whole belly when he's in a mood! 

What Do I Miss: Licking raw batter or eating raw cookie dough in small doses. It can be tempting and hard not to do this since I bake a lot! Don't worry. I've been good and resisted the temptation!


Looking Forward To: Getting my bassinet and seeing my family this weekend. Baby Russ will be FULL TERM on Monday! He really can come anytime after that!

Next Appointment: Friday August 3rd at 10:30 am. I will need my blood drawn again to monitor my CBC (Comprehensive Blood Cell) level because it is still dropping. Dr. Mbah also wants to discuss with me about my CBC and about a possible inducement? We will see!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What To Pack for YOURSELF & Your Husband/Partner

This is the last segment that goes with my posts regarding What To Pack For Your Hospital Bag. Keep in the mind that you can remove some things off the list anytime from ANY Hospital Bag Posts I have written. It's not set in the stone, and is up to you to pack whatever you wish! 

To some, it may seem that I am packing a bit too much. My policy is, better be safe than sorry and over-pack in a bit in event of a possible longer recovery time. Also, it depends on the distance and location of your hospital. If you live far from the hospital where you are planning on giving birth at (hello, me) then it's better to pack extras as opposed to if you live closer to the hospital within 5 minutes to half hour. 

For Yourself:

Coming home outfit: Entirely optional, if you want to come home looking like a million bucks. I just opted for a nice loose shirt with yoga pants.

Comfortable sweat pants: I packed one that is a bit too large in case if I have a C-Section or get swollen from IV fluids.

High waisted grandma underwear: I've spoken with some C-Section mamas and they SWEAR by grandma underwear because it does not rub on their incision. Also, for those who have given vaginally, you would want something comfortable!

1-2 Nursing Tops: It is nice to have an extra in case if your boobs leak right through everything!

Nightgown with a robe: This one is optional. It's just more for comfort thing. Some women doesn't like the idea of having a nightgown after delivering because of PP bleeding while some others adore the idea.

Warm Fuzzy socks: It will come in handy especially if you need to get up and walk around, and it will keep your feet warm!

Overnight nursing bra
Day nursing bra

Your Husband/Partner:

Sweatshirt: We did a tour of our maternity ward plus we had our labor and delivery scare and we had to stay in our delivery/recovery room. It was so cold! If you are having a baby in middle of the summer then you can bet that your room will be cold due to air conditioning. Also, giving birth is a hard work--you will get hot and want to have a lower temperature. Therefore, your husband/partner will get cold! So be considerate and get him/her something warm to wear on the top!

Sweatpants or PJ bottom: Wouldn't you want your spouse to be comfortable as well? Some Mamas have suggested, if you and your partner aren't too far from home then your partner should head home to get some sleep instead of at the hospital!

Cash and/or Coins for food and vending machines:  Face it, you may not be hungry while you're laboring for 10-12 hours, but your husband/partner will be!

Socks: I admit that I almost forgot the socks for my husband seeing that it will be August and he will probably be wearing flip-flops. So he might want his feet to be warm especially for when he's sleeping at the night!


A couple shirts

Snacks: Make sure it doesn't give your husband/partner a bad breath! I have been told by some mamas that they were upset at their partners' lack of nice breath at the birth! 

Extra Stuff You Might Want to Consider: 

Phone/laptop/kindle/nook Chargers
A fully charged camera: Of course, to take pictures of your beautiful newborn!

Maxi Pads: I was told by a Mommy that it was good to bring 1-2 along because the hospital will only give you 1-2 super giant pads and you'll be itching to get rid of them soon enough!

A book
A crossword puzzle
A Kindle/Nook/Laptop 
A Journal: I do plan on bringing my journal along to document my birth experience so it stays fresh in my mind!

Hair Tie and Bobby Pins
Glasses if you and/or your husband/partner wear one
Hair Brush

Boppy Pillow: Some mamas say it has come in handy for breastfeeding if you are planning on it!

Yoga Ball:  I'm planning on bringing one for myself.

Flame-less Candles: Many hospitals do not allow flammable candles and if you want to focus on something that smells good to relax you through labor then you can purchase a flame-less candle or those that you can dump oil in and have it warm up to get it smell good in your room.

Focal Point: Can be a baby blanket, outfit, or anything to help you get through labor!

Body Pillow: I will be bringing one for myself because I hate flat hospital pillows! Besides, it's nice to have something from home! 


If there is something you wish to bring along with and you don't see it on my list or in any of my posts then feel free to bring it for yourself! Same goes with if you see something you don't want to bring/pack on my list or in my posts then there's no need to pack it!

Stay tuned for my WEEK 36 Bump watch tomorrow evening! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What To Pack For Your Hospital Bag: Your Baby

Continuing with the segment: What to Pack For your Hospital Bag

Thank you for leaving comments to my blog post yesterday! It was really great to read your feedback and suggestions. It was really interesting how each one of you had differing thoughts/views on what to pack and I enjoyed reading them! 

I will be having my son in August assuming if he wants to come out right on time around the due date. This is what I have packed for him:

1. One piece outfits in varying sizes because I have no clue if 
my baby will turn out to be a chunker, or a skinny little boy. Better
be safe than sorry and pack 2-3 different sizes. 

2. Onesies. I got a great tip from a mommy board that I frequented that
I should pack slightly bigger onesie to avoid from irritating the stump from the 
cord being cut off. 

3. Sleeper bag outfit. This may not going to be even worn at all seeing that
my son will be born in late summer and it will be warm. However, I want to 
include this as in case if it does come in handy. Delivery/recovery room
can be a bit chilly especially with air conditioning blaring during the summer!

4. Mittens. Babies will flail their little arms and hands and accidentally
scratch themselves. This is why you want to swaddle your little one especially
in first 4 months of his/her life. Meanwhile, if you aren't swaddling your newborn
then use mittens! 

Pack 2-3 Receiving blankets! 
It will come in super handy for swaddling your newborn. 
The reason why I am packing 2-3 is because my son will probably
have accidents (pee, poop or throw up) on the blanket. It's better
to have a few at the hand ready as a back-up! 

The last but not the least....

Car seat! 

Speaking about car seat, make sure your base of the car seat is firmly secured in your car, and have it inspected either by your local fire department or police department or hospital (not all hospitals will inspect your car seat). I am planning on latching the car seat between 36-38 weeks. Included with my car seat, I will be installing the shade to prevent sun from shining directly on my baby. There is a car seat cover, but it is not necessary for the day when I am released with my son. So it will be kept in my jeep until I need to use it. 

It is fairly easy to pack for your newborn baby! 

Stay posted for next segment: What To Pack for Yourself and Your Husband/partner. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What To Pack For Your Hospital Bag: Necessities

This is the first of few segments that I am planning on posting. It is to help Mama-To-Be to determine what she should pack for the hospital bag! I find it annoying when I am unable to figure out what I need to pack and there are million of different responses all over the internet sites, among your friends and family members.  This led to a decision to lump everything together in few posts to help reduce confusion for new mamas! 

***If you are not a baby person then feel free to skip this week blog posts since it will be about packing Hospital bag, expectations, and necessities. Of course, I will be posting my weekly pregnancy bump this Friday evening after my doctor's appointment!  Next week, it will be less baby-orientated, I promise! ***

Necessities that you should pack. 

1. Tissues. Face it, you'll be crying when you first lay your eyes on your newborn. 
Then there's hormones going nutty inside your body, and not to mention that 
delivery/recovery room can be pretty chilly! 

2. Shaving Razor. Even if you are not planning on shaving yourself then keep it in your mind
that your husband or partner may appreciate having one!

3. Facial Wipes. Just because you want to feel clean, right? Especially if you
are planning on putting on make-up when visitors come to see you and your baby!

4. Shampoo.

5. Soap.

6. Conditioner & mushy ball. 

*Sometime, hospitals will provide you with their own, but there's no guarantee. 
It is better to be safe than sorry to pack your own! 

7. Hand lotion. It will be really dry. If you are anything like me, then 
you're prone to dry skin. 

8. Shaving cream. Again, your husband or partner may appreciate this especially
if they have to stay in the hospital for more than 2 days!

9. Toothbrushes

10. Toothpaste. 

**Better to pack new ones for your husband/partner and yourself. That way,
you won't accidentally forget it while you're packing the bag at last minute while in labor!

11. Q-Tips. I have sensitive ears, and I definitely plan on showering after 
giving birth. So this is a necessity for me to have water out of my ears! 

12. Deodorant for your husband/partner. Don't forget about him/her! 

13. Purell anti-bacterial lotion. You don't want your visitors to be handling your newborn without
having clean hands!

14. Deodorant for yourself! It is easier to purchase a traveling size one and put it away so you
don't have to worry about forgetting your own last minute!

15. Chapstick. It is a MUST. You will be laboring for many hours. You will be parched.
As result, your lips will crack. Better to have one at the hand! 

If you are anything like me then you don't really see a point in buying a really fancy nice bag to keep your necessities intact. I don't want to have to spend $24-$40 on a cute cosmetic bag that I will probably only use once. So I come up with a simpler solution. Use a gallon zip-lock bag! Honestly, it is cheaper and cost-effective way to keep everything together in one bag. You also can toss the zip-lock bag out once it is done being used.

If you are planning on breastfeeding then make sure to include nipple cream to alleviate your cracked and sore nipples. It doesn't sound pretty or fun, I know, and it is part of process of breastfeeding until you and your baby get the hang of it. Also, include the pads because you will be leaking! Even if you *do not* plan on breastfeeding and use formula instead to feed your baby then I'd still suggest you to still pack pads because you will definitely be leaking until your milk supply dries up. 

If you are planning on breastfeeding and/or pumping the milk for your newborn, then bring your pump(s) if you have one. It can be helpful to learn how to pump while you are in the hospital especially when you are given an opportunity to work with a lactation consultation. Many hospitals does offer rental pumps if you do not own one. I find it better to have one on the hand even if you are planning on breastfeeding for majority of the time because you just never know. You might end up with a baby that is unable to latch well because of premature birth, struggling to latch on, or because of how your nipples are (inverted or flat). It can be good to take advantage of your lactation consultation while you are staying at the hospital! 

Stay posted for the next few posts regarding this topic. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Embracing Your Stretch Marks

Based on some of my readers' question about how I have managed to keep stretch marks at the bay with my pregnancy thus far, I have decided to write a post to answer your question! 

My secret weapons are:

I use Coca Butter Moisturizing Body Oil and Coca Butter Formula for Stretch Marks Treatment. I absolutely love them both. It is cost-effective, and easy to use. They both are $12 each. I don't mind the smell since I've gotten used to it. Both of them do have coconut scent. 

Some women are not a fan of the smell and prefer something else over this. There are other lotions on the market called Bio-Oil and Merderma. They both are not primarily targeted for pregnancy, but are used by pregnant women as well! Bio-Oil and Merderma are more expensive (in range between $35 to $60). Personally, I don't see any difference with those lotions and Coca Butter lotion. They all have same ingredients, however, each one of them do have varying levels of ingredients that are used in the lotions. If you find that you hate them all then you can simply use hand lotions. Look for those that are high in Vitamin E because it ensures the elasticity of your skin while your belly grows! 

I dump in capful of Moisturizing oil in the tub when I take baths to alleviate my sore lower back and hips. I also apply this right after I take my showers. It does have greasy feel to it at first so be careful not to apply too much, and let it dry off for a minute before you put on your shirt. 

As for Coca Butter Stretch Mark Treatment lotion, it is not greasy and feels like your normal hand lotion. I apply this 2-4x a day or every time when my skin is starting to feel irritated/itchy. It does wonder and soothes the feeling of itchiness almost immediately. It also leaves my hands soft! 

Make sure you don't expose your belly to the sunlight because it can dry out your skin. If you hit the beach then make sure you have your belly covered! 

Never let your belly stay dry because it will lead to less elasticity of your skin. You don't want that. Make sure your growing belly stays moisturized! 

DO NOT ITCH! If you scratch your skin then it can leave a bit of damage to your skin and a stretch mark can appear. Itchiness occurs because your skin is too dry. So again, keep it moisturized!!! 

Make sure your clothes FIT you right. Don't wear clothes that are too tight or constricting. It cuts off the circulation to your skin, and face it, it's not comfortable! You want to be comfortable especially when you are very pregnant! 


**Unless if your doctor says differently then please listen to your doctor and disregard this part**

You don't have to go overboard with exercising. Growing a baby is a hard work for your body. So take it easy and enjoy your pregnancy. Do not worry about staying under the weight requirement that you may read on the internet or in your pregnancy books. Every woman is DIFFERENT in how she gain weight and carry weight. Okay? Trust me, I definitely don't meet/stay under the weight requirement that I see in my books, and I am a very healthy pregnant woman. 

However, enjoy a simple half-hour walk. Swim a few laps. Stretch your legs, and arms. It is not only good for you, but also for your baby. It promotes happy hormone called Endorphin to increase in your body and it affects your baby in a very good way. It encourages a healthy growth of your baby. When you feel good about yourself and your pregnancy then guess what, you will want to take a better care of yourself. Also, when you exercise moderately, you sweat out bad bacteria and causes your skin to stretch slowly because you are maintaining your health. 

Again, do enjoy your pregnancy and do not worry too much about weight gain. It is a normal part of your pregnancy! 

Eat WELL! 

Does this mean you can't splurge here and there? Absolutely not. You can! I have plenty of times! Being pregnant does not mean you are completely off limit from eating yummy food that may not be the best for you. 

At the same time, be careful not to overboard with bad food. Your baby need wide variety of nutrition. It is also proven that if you sample different types of food such as vegetables, fruits, meat, beans, and many more then the likelihood of your baby will end up with more willingness to try different food!

Adding more fruits and vegetables especially those with high antioxidants does WONDER for your skin. It promotes healthy growth of your skin and encourages your skin to gain more elasticity.  I personally love drinking NAKED fruit drinks and POM (pomegranate juice). I also love eating vegetables that are very rich in greens (Artichoke, Broccoli, Asparagus, Zucchini, Cucumbers and Spinach). Vegetables and fruits have so many benefits other than making your skin more elastic such as it giving you a lot of fiber, trust me, you will need it, and nutrition to your baby. 

Drink a lot of water! I mean it. One glass of water a day is not enough. Our bodies are about 60% of water. So if we are dehydrated then our organs suffer. Guess what is our biggest organ? SKIN! So make sure you drink plenty of water and try to avoid or reduce caffeine intake since it can dehydrate you. 

Last but not the least.....

All of this may not completely prevent your stretch marks. You can thank your genetics for this. 

Some women are genetically disposed to get stretch marks no matter what during their pregnancy. Instead of  feeling awful about the stretch marks, view them as Tiger Stripes, Motherhood Badge, or Courage Badge, and feel good that you ARE doing everything to ensure a healthy newborn! 

Also, even if you have NO stretch marks during your pregnancy then you might still get them AFTER giving birth and your skin goes back to normal. 

Embrace it instead of hate your stretch marks because you only get to experience your pregnancy a few times in your life and the result is your beautiful baby. 

"A mark for every breath you took, every blink, every sleepy yawn. One for every time you sucked your thumb, waved hello, closed your eyes and slept in the most perfect darkness. One for every time you had the hiccups. One for every dream you dreamed within me. It isn't very pretty anymore. Some may even think it ugly. That's OK. It was your home. It's where I first grew to love you, where I lay my hand as I dreamed about who you were and who you would be. It held you until my arms could, and for that, I will always find something beautiful in it." -Unknown

Friday, July 20, 2012


How Far Along: 35 weeks! It's my last week of being in 8th month of my pregnancy. Then I'll enter 9th month. Wow, it is really getting closer to me having this little boy!

**Just interjecting exciting piece of news; today is a month away from my due date! Holy Batman and Robin!**


How Big Is Baby Russ: My little guy is still in 5 pounds range, and is between 17.2 to 18.7 inches long. He won't be getting any taller,   but he's definitely plumping up! He will continue to gain half a pound to a pound per week from now on. Baby Russ is as big as a coconut! 

Total Weight Gain: 34 pounds. 

Stretch Marks: None. 

Sleep: Eh, I'll take what I can! I still get up randomly during the night to pee. Interesting fact: Baby Russ is now peeing out a pint of urine every day! 

Best Moment(s) Of The Week: I got a care package for Baby Russ in the mail from Mary, and to my great surprise, I got a beautiful quilt that was handmade with a lot of love from her (the picture is down below). Knowing that our due date is A MONTH AWAY! Got all of my nursing clothes in the mail this week. I even started packing our hospital bag! Whoo whoo. 

Food Craving(s): I've been craving a lot of cheese lately. I think it is because I need more calcium in my diet! Or Baby Russ is just a regular good ole Wisconsin boy! 

Food Aversion(s): Pretty much the same. 

Symptoms: Sore rib area; that is nothing new, right? I think my little guy is really a long baby because his head is causing some pressure in my lower belly while his feet are sticking up into my ribs. Let's see if my guess is right when he is born! I've been getting a lot more emotional these days (up and down). I get dizzy on and off quite often and I find it helpful when I get up and move around  or lay on my left side to get rid of the dizziness. I find that I cry when I think about giving birth and meeting Baby Russ for the very first time, getting a nice compliment from someone, or seeing stupid ASPCA/Humane society commercials on TV! 

I blacked out a naughty word in case if you are
wondering why there's a big black spot in the middle
of the sentence! 

Labor Signs: I had some contractions on Friday the 13th! I was probably being too active and on my feet too much so I rested and it went away within half hour. An occasional back achiness. Other than that, it has been a very quiet week. I think it helps that I am taking it easy and spreading out my errands out during the week instead of trying to cram everything within a day or two. 

Movements: Baby Russ is shaking up a storm inside my belly. It's fun to watch my belly shake out of the blue! He doesn't kick or flip around anymore. So he settles for stretching out and jabbing at anything that presses against him. It doesn't feel good when he does that! It is because the amniotic fluid is no longer cushioning his he's getting to be big and strong!

What Do I Miss: To be honest, I don't have anything that I miss this week. I am feeling content and happy. I am pretty active for being very pregnant and there is not much I can't do. Baby Russ is finally letting me enjoy my sweet food so this makes me to be one very happy mama. Despite this heat, I am doing good, and I am liking summer. It's funny because people warn me that I will be so miserable with this heat, and the thing is, I'm surprisingly fine with the heat. Stu says that I've been handling my pregnancy gracefully. What a darling husband that he is! 

Looking Forward To: Having lunch with my sister, Lauren and her boyfriend, Joey, after our appointment on Friday next week. I'm also eager to be finally entering 9th month of my pregnancy because it means we are so, so, so close to meeting my little boy! 

Next Appointment: Friday July 27th at 10:45 am. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Genetics: Deaf By Design

This is kind of old news...but an interesting one, nonetheless. I am sure many of you have heard about Designer Babies. In a nutshell, it is about choosing which genes to use in order to create a perfect child. Let's explore this topic a bit deeper....what's about a Deaf baby? 

In 2008, a Deaf couple was denied by a fertility treatment center, not because they were seeking for an IVF treatment to become pregnant, but because this couple specifically requested for a fertilized embyro that will result in a Deaf baby. This led to a Government Fertilization and Embryology Bill to be passed through the Parliament with an order to ban any request requesting a baby to be born with any form of disability...including Deafness. 

In not so many words, any flawed embryos that were donated to the fertility centers were immediately discarded without a consideration. 

This couple grew enraged, and exclaimed, "If hearing people were to have the right to throw away a Deaf embryo, then we as Deaf people should have the right to throw away a hearing embryo". 

 In our culture, it is a blessing to receive a Deaf child, because it is an opportunity to pass our culture down to them, to preserve our culture, and to maintain Deafhood. Being Deaf is NOT a disability. It is our way of life. To some Deaf parents, they feel that they can't create a bond with their hearing children, because of lack of communication, lack of understanding of what it is like to be Deaf, and not being able to relate to them. 

To hearing people, this concept is beyond astonishing. They question why anyone would want to intentionally cause a disability on a child. Any decent parents would have wanted the best for their children, and for them to lead better lives than they did. Deafness, to hearing people and some deaf people, is an obstacle from having a full access to life. To have a disability certainly will take away any quality of life. There will be issues in living in the hearing world such as isolation, social barriers, fighting for an equality, finding a job, getting an education, getting a right to have an interpreter, obtaining accommodations, and having to deal with ignorance on a  daily basis. 

It is difficult to be a Deaf person surviving in the hearing world. I do face obstacles, frustrations, and occasional social barriers. At the same time, I am well equipped to adjust and accommodate my Deafness to overcome most of the difficulties that I face in my life. It is not something I want my unborn son to have to deal with. I do not view my Deafness as a disability. I never have, and I never will. At the same time, I am cognizant enough to realize that my Deafness IS a disability in the hearing world.  My hope is that my son will be an ally to the Deaf world, and to help us bridge both worlds together. 

I am not a believer or an advocate of creating designer babies including screening to increase a likelihood of getting traits parents want for their child. I see nothing wrong with conceiving (whether through the old fashioned way or IVF treatment) a baby as what there is present to create a life. At the same time, I would not go that far of calling Deaf parents selfish or arrogant for wanting a Deaf child. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


How Far Along: 34 weeks! 

How big Is Baby Russ: Baby Russ is now in 5 pounds range and is between 17.2 to 18.7 inches long. He is as big as a Butternut Squash. 

Total Weight Gain: I gained 2 pounds since the last appointment. So 34 pounds, it is! I'm on a good track and everything looks really great. 

Stretch Marks: None. I have been told that it may show up after the birth (little silver jagged lines that won't be super noticeable). So we will see! 

Sleep: Okay. I can tell that the end is coming near because it's harder to get comfortable enough to feel rested. At least I can get a few hours of sleep at time. 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Watching Fireworks with Stu last weekend at his hometown (it was nice since we missed our July of 4th fireworks), having Stu see my belly shake like crazy from the outside, visiting Stu's family for the last time before Baby Russ gets here, finally getting nursing tank tops and a nightgown ordered, preparing our hospital bag, getting a book on infant sleeping care from Aunt Ro in the mail, experimenting with yummy recipes from Pinterest, finally getting a baby DR situation straightened out, getting our changing table and setting up, and our nursery room being DONE! All left there to do is to PACK OUR HOSPITAL BAG. 
I feel pretty accomplished with all stuff I've done this week!

Our changing table! It feels
great to be able to organize
everything and be done with the room! 

Food Craving(s): Unchanged even though I admit that I've been wanting onion rings for some time now! It's okay to have one bad food craving along with multiple healthy ones, right?

Food Aversion(s): I don't have much aversion toward food. It is becoming more of to the point when eating too much food can trigger nausea. There is not much room for my stomach to expand until Baby Russ drops hopefully soon. Until then, I have to watch how much I eat in one sitting which sucks because I like to scarf down my food! *winks* 

Symptoms: Sore rib area; I can often feel Baby Russ's knee and leg resting across underneath my rib cage while his little foot is sticking and pushing up my liver into my lung. Even so, the rib pain is not that bad this week. Swollen feet if I am on them for too long. Out of breath and/or difficulty in catching my breath. Feeling super duber pregnant. My belly is bumping into everything! Feeling pretty crabby sometimes due to being so tired and not having much patience these days. I go to bathroom literally every 5 minutes now that I am drinking a lot of water. My lower back has been really sore lately especially if I am doing too much running around. 

Labor Signs: Braxton-Hicks showing up in random areas on my belly and lower back. I hope I don't end up with back labor! It goes away when I lay down and rest. Baby Russ is currently head-down and is still sticking in the same position. 

Movements: Baby Russ reacts to sounds especially loud ones! He bumps against my belly and stretches out his arms as if he is startled. He has hiccups a lot these days and it causes his little head to bump against my hip/pelvis bone. 

What Do I Miss: Being pregnant in the second trimester. I am beginning to understand why people say that being pregnant in the second trimester is the "honeymoon" stage. It's nice to be pregnant and feel great. Don't get me wrong; I still feel pretty good for being 8 months along...and I do have my moments when I am like ugh, I am so done being pregnant then I realize that I am really almost done. It's worth reminding myself that Baby Russ is really coming very soon. It also helps that I have an awesome husband to help me out anytime I need it. :) 

Belly Button In or Out: Out. It is even noticeable through my shirts! Stu thinks it's funny to see how my belly button is completely out.

Wedding Ring On or Out: I still can get my wedding ring on and off without any problem, but I have not been wearing it and keeping it in a safe spot. It has been very hot and humid outside. I don't want my fingers to swell up and have a hard time getting my ring off. 

Looking Forward To: My nursery clothes and gown with robe to arrive in the mail then I can begin packing our hospital bag a bit at time! Having a lunch/dinner date with Lauren and Joey before they move to Texas. 

Next Appointment: Friday July 27th at 10:45 am. I will have my blood pressure checked to make sure it stays the same (it has been low but stable--it's considered "normal" with my pregnancy), my blood drawn to determine my platelet count is still stable, and have Group Strep B test done to rule or determine if I have it. weekly appointments will begin! Crazy!! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Funny OR Offensive?

**I'm sorry that I can't seem to fix the highlighted paragraphs on this post from being edited. Just bear with me and enjoy!**

This week post for "It's the Deaf Thing" is a bit unique, I shall say. It is not my normal posting per se. At the same time, it is almost too irresistible for me not to write about this. I am gripping my sides in a roaring laughter yet at the same time, I can't help but shake my head and do a massive face-palm. 


From time to time, a controversy will spark up in Deaf community, and everyone is in uproar about that issue. Most of the time, I tend to keep my nose out of it and shrug. Most of the time, it doesn't even warrant a blink of my eye. Not that I'm saying issues are to be neglected or to be pushed aside; it just doesn't apply to me most of the time, and I'm Laissez Faire when it comes to trivial issues in Deaf world. 

However, today; one of my good friends brought this up to my interest and told me to check it out. Intrigued, I decided to check out the group on Facebook, and immediately came to the fact that this group of Deaf people were boycotting a woman named Kristin for what she was doing. 

Here's her mug shot: 

Apparently, Kristin is a hearing woman in her early 20s, and she has already attended a smaller college for Deaf people in New York City (not to be mistaken with Gallaudet--that school is in Washington DC). The school is called RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), and it's really for Deaf people who are more on oral side (talking, and using hearing aids, etc). Hearing people do attend there as well. Okay. No big deal.

Just a word of caution....if you want to click on the link to Kristin's personal blog then please be aware that there are inappropriate signs that can refer to drug use, sex, and just plain crude language. If you are easily offended, then don't click on the link to her blog, okay? 

Apparently, how she become famous is due to her infamous dirty videos on youtube, and posting them on her personal blog:

Before I proceed with this any further, I want to clarify something: This is very different from hearing people sincerely wanting to learn and applying sign language in the everyday life. I am very encouraging and understanding. I appreciate the gesture and love it that they try. Everyone signs differently as much as hearing people speak differently. Some sign a bit more SEE (Signed Exact English--word for word), some sign a bit more mixed (word for word yet more relaxed with slangs and ASL thrown in), and some are very purely ASL (American Sign Language--not exact English at all; a language of its own). It's all good. 

However, in the case of Kristin here; it is almost very painful for me, as a Deaf person, to witness her attempts at dirty signs. It is almost as if someone is pulling my fingernails out of my fingers with a dull rusty nail clipper. I am not sure if I should cry in agony or laugh at this sheer ridiculousness. I cringe when Kristin attempts at signing dirty because it is not even in the ballpark! It's WAY OUT THERE WRONG conceptually. The grammar usage is off base. There is no flow with her signing despite her claims of learning sign language for some time now.


I opted for laughing while watching her videos on her blog. I laughed so hard to the point that I almost pissed in my pants, and you know that was not a good news for 8-months pregnant woman! I did not laugh because Kristin was funny in a humorous way. She was not even that funny, you see. I was simply laughing because not only Kristin severely misrepresented dirty signs that she used, but she also made herself look really, really bad especially to the Deaf world. By the way, you, especially as a hearing person, don't want to make yourself look bad in the Deaf world, trust me. 

Now here comes the controversy in Deaf community with Kristin's Dirty Signs. Kristin's signs are very misrepresented. It is extremely inaccurate. It's also dirty as in disgusting in a really embarrassing way, and it is a lot coming from me (I find humor in pretty much everything and laugh it off).  

One hearing blogger, who is currently learning ASL, tied it in beautifully:

Deaf people aren't cruel, exclusive, cold people that want nothing to do with us hearing people who want to learn about them and learn their beautiful language. Dirty Signs with Kristin is basically shitting on everything all of our language and history teachers have done for us and taught us. I don’t know where she does to school, who her teachers are, what she plans to do with sign language other than wrongfully exploit it, but it makes me sick that here she is doing something with a language that isn’t hers. Also, I just have to say that I went to her youtube channel and already I’m pretty disgusted. Cum bubble? Your wife has a loose anus? You donkey raping shit eater? Please stop tainting a beautiful language with what I’m ashamed we can even do in English. She’s a piss-poor excuse of a hearing ASL student. She’s a piss-poor excuse of a person, to exploit and make a profit off a community of people she has nothing to do with and has no intention of helping or interacting with in any way. 

This embarrasses us, as Deaf community, so much because now there are over a million curious viewers learning and watching Kristin's grossly misrepresented signs and probably using those signs in social settings. I can only cringe while thinking about this because imagine this, a hearing person attempting at signing like this to a Deaf person in a social setting.....won't bode well at all. I can guarantee that a Deaf person will look at you as if you have grown eyes out of your head because he/she won't understand what the hell that signing was. Ultimately, the hearing person unintentionally ends up looking like an idiot instead of ha-ha funny. 

Kristin also comes across to the Deaf world as being insensitive and not funny. This is a perfect example of cultural misunderstanding. Frankly, what Kristin is doing is in a really, really poor taste.

I wouldn't want someone to come up to me and show off the fact that he/she has learned dirty signs. How is that is supposed to be good for the first impression? Really. This is how the Deaf world feels. Don't mistaken this for an occasional funny moments. My friends and I have done that and ended up laughing our butts off. It is just the context and appropriateness of language to be put in a social setting. 

Our language is not to be used as a bait for humorous things. Our language is not to be abused. Our language is not to be defiled, and ridiculed at. It's sad when I come across to issues like this because our culture is used as a laughingstock whether unintentionally or not. It is probably why I find myself being stuck between feeling speechless and having to laugh at the ridiculousness of this situation. The Deaf world wants our language to be recognized as a true language, to be embraced, and to be used in a positive light. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012


How Far Along: 33 weeks! 

How Big is Baby Russ: He is about 4.5 pounds, and between 17.2 to 18.7 inches long. He will gain a full inch this week! From this point on, Baby Russ will steadily gain half a pound to a full pound per week! He is as big as a Durian fruit (If you are a fan of Andrew Zimmerman from Bizzare Food on Travel channel then you'd know that Durian fruit is actually a crappy-tasting fruit that has a texture of a raw oyster). Here's a picture of a Durian Fruit: 

Total Weight Gain: 32 pounds. 

Stretch Marks: None. 

Sleep: Still okay. I feel more tired these days. It is a lot of work to move from one side to other side with a big belly in the way! It has been a hot couple days lately as well--so it made sleeping a bit more uncomfortable than usual. I don't think I've had a full night of sleep since I've gotten pregnant! 

Best Moment(s) of the Week: Kicking Stu's butt at Y while swimming laps, enjoying July of 4th festivals with Stu, being domestic by making all yummy food, & feeling my guy moving around inside. 

Food Craving(s): Grapes is a big one this week! I plowed through nearly 2 bags of grapes last week (well, with help of Stu). My little guy sure liked the grapes--he constantly moved and jived around when I ate grapes. 

Food Aversion(s): Unchanged. Baby Russ didn't like cream soda (that happened to be my favorite soda). So I guess that meant no more drinking soda--not a big deal I'm not a big soda person anyway! At least, Baby Russ was okay with me drinking Vanilla Bean Frappucio from Starbucks. 

Symptoms: I had a toughest time dealing with  my rib pain on the right side. Dang! Bouncing on Yoga Ball, and stretching my arm over my head does help to relieve the pain for a bit. Baby Russ won't budge his foot/feet out of my ribs. It's his favorite resting spot for his foot/feet. Geez. 

Labor Signs: Wow! On 4th of July; we had to go into labor and delivery since Baby Russ was not moving for a few hours, and we were worried. On-Call DR from Women Specialty Care told us to go in. It turned out that our little guy was just perfectly comfortable in his little home, and I was having contractions! I was kind of surprised because I didn't peg achy feeling to be contractions. It turned out that I was a bit dehydrated from this hot weather we have been having lately. I was found not to be a risk of pre-term labor for next 2 weeks, and we were released. I was told to drink more fluids on top of what I was already drinking! 

Now, I have to wait until next Wednesday for my appointment and have Dr. Mbah look at me and make sure all is good (meaning contractions have stopped). 

Movements: Sure, my little guy likes to poke his way around, stretch his legs or arms (that kind of feels weird in really uncomfortable way), hiccuping, and sort of slides his back against my belly. 

What Do I Miss: Being able to get up without needing assistance! If I sit on the floor then there's no way I can get up without gripping on edge of my coffee table, or on my bed or having Stu help me get up. 

Belly Button In or Out: Out. It bulges out a bit when Baby Russ presses his knee against it. It's weird! 

Wedding Ring On or Off: Off. 

Looking Forward To: Getting my changing table for Baby Russ room on Monday! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday July 11 at 1:45 pm. Thankfully, Stu will be done with teaching summer school so he will be able to take me to my weekly appointments after that appointment! It will be nice for him to hear Baby Russ's heartbeat and be updated with me there.