Now that Baby Eva is two-and-a-half months old, I finally took the time to edit together the photos we took of my belly each week after the fourth month of pregnancy. (Before that there wasn’t enough tummy expansion to warrant a photo every week.)
These photos basically tell the story of how I spent most of 2012.
(Cross-posted at HeyElise.com)
Well folks, the fetus is now a tiny human. She (yes, it turns out fetus was a lady) is now home from the hospital after a quick delivery and a less-than-24-hour stay. I awoke Saturday morning with contractions — which happened to be the same day my parents were getting to town from Amsterdam to support us postpartum — and by Saturday night, Eva Blythe Hu-Stiles made her grand entrance.
Like a good journalist baby, she waited until right up against her deadline to arrive. (She was due on Sunday.) The metrics: 8 pounds, 2 ounces and 22 inches long. Full head of black hair (which the nurse and midwife made me very aware of while she was crowning) and dark blue eyes, for now.
As for the name, I just needed to pick something simple that any of my Chinese relatives could pronounce, hence Eva with the Spanish pronunciation. Blythe is after Matty’s late paternal grandmother, who worked in a newsroom and was a supporter of the civil rights movement way before it was cool.
Just as she was awesome as a fetus, Eva has been awesome as a baby, sleeping for long stretches, eating lots and passing all her random medical tests with flying colors. Thanks to all of you for your love and support during the pregnancy, as I know the real ride is just beginning.
P.S. While she’s in town, my hobbyist photographer mom is taking some fun shots of Eva, which inspired me to start Eva Everyday, a tumblr that posts a select Eva photo each day. Check it out if you’re interested.
Saving this for posterity. Our DC pals came over for a weenie roast the other day, and folks tried to guess when the baby would arrive, whether it would be a boy or girl, and how much he/she will weigh in at.
Our nearby children’s hospital is one of the few in the country that performs Fetal MRI’s, which allow researchers to study brain development in utero and how that might be connected to say, heart defects.
So I got asked by our midwife to take part in one of these studies, which often need “normal controls”. (Fetus is “normal,” apparently.) Just got back some photos from the Fetal MRI we got this week, at 32 weeks.
We still don’t know the sex (so if you can tell what it is please do us a solid and don’t tell us), but I do feel for my poor little baby who seems to be really crammed up in there without much space.
Also, the fetus seems to have gigantic feet.
I’m not going to post any sonogram photos of the fetus for fear that will scare the crap out of you (my friends are particularly weirded out by the newer 3-D full-color ones that look like claymation figures). But I went in for my nearly six month checkup today and everything was cool. Matty has never heard the baby’s heartbeat because I usually only ask him to go to sonogram appointments since the rest of my checkups have been so dull.
But here’s fetus, proving he/she is there with a nice steady heartbeat of 140 beats per minute:
There are a few Hu-Stiles “staples” — tokens or cultural symbols that have been important in our now-eight-year relationship. They include construction paper cards (that we made for one another every year), Radiohead (which brought us together) and The Wire (the best show on television ever). Stiles actually watched all five seasons of the cult-favorite as it was airing on HBO.
Suffice to say, during our four years of long distance dating, he basically FORCED ME to watch it. And I’m so much better off for it. So for our first wedding anniversary, we decided to do the self-guided Wire tour — driving to the many sketchy locations in Baltimore where the show was filmed. Here are some of the places we visited:
*Thank you Justin Bieber for contributing that to the lexicon.
Cross-posted on HeyElise
Yep. I’m slowly wrapping my brain around this situation.
The Chinese think it is highly auspicious to have a “dragon baby” — a child born in the Year of the Dragon. (Women in China are rushing to get fertility treatments because a dragon baby is apparently too lucky to be left to chance. Crazy, right?) The Wall Street Journal reports:
Being aligned with cosmic forces is important in Chinese culture. The year of the dragon is supposed to be particularly fortunate for babies, marriages and businesses. Those born as dragons are “the strongest, smartest and the luckiest—supposedly,” says Yibing Huang, a professor of Chinese literature and culture at Connecticut College.
Chinese often schedule important life events to take advantage of the luckiest times. A recent lunar year that spanned two springs spurred a spike in weddings. And even though births are trickier to plan, in 2000, the most recent year of the dragon, 202,000 more babies were born in Taiwan than a year earlier, according to the Taipei Times citing government statistics.
I was personally way less interested in a dragon baby due to my own zodiac sign: the dog. It is the sign that’s least compatible with the dragon, and I already have one dragon to contend with — my husband. Now, barring unforeseen events, I’ll have two dragons to go up against. Grrrrreat.
Observation: My going vodka-free has created cascading problems. But the fetus has been awesome to me. Wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Costa Rica, assorted work travel and/or all the SXSW magic — Jay Z, Radiohead, etc — while sick. Fetus is always game to party. “Of course it is,” Fiscus said. “It is YOUR baby. Even if it looks like Matty.”
ME: My eggo is preggo.
REEVE: Holy shit.
ME: I’m pregnant.
JAVAUN: [Incredulous] HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!?!?
ME: I’m knocked up dude.
JAY: Dude, you are going to be so huge.
ME: Yeah, so I’m pregnant.
MCKENNEY: That baby is going to come out with a vodka tonic in one hand and a hot dog in the other.
A month ago, we noticed a small pink growth between Saidee-the-Hu-beagle’s toes. It was the size of one of her paw pads, only it wasn’t black and she didn’t need any extra paw pads. We took her to the vet, a loquacious southerner named Dr. DuBois. Upon examination, he decided she needed surgery right away to remove the growth.
Once he got in there, Dr. DuBois found a tumor that wasn’t well-defined, as he had hoped. “It was tangled into veins and tissue and growing everywhere,” he said to me on the phone. “I got a lot of it, but there was no way to get all of it.” He started preparing me for the worst-case scenario: that Saidee had a malignant tumor that would require amputation of her leg to save her life.
Three days later, he called and left a message on Matty’s phone with fantastic news. Even though the tumor was locally aggressive, it wasn’t cancerous. We were beyond relieved.
Saidee’s 12 going on 13, which is pretty old for a dog. I got her my junior year of high school for my Mom, because mom is a dog lover and since I knew I was soon going away to college, I wanted her to have another daughter. Since she joined the Hu family, Saidee has lived in Texas, and St. Louis, and then with my brother Roger in Arizona, and for the last four years, with me and Matty in Austin and now, D.C. She’s as important member of the Hu family as any of the rest of us; she loves all of us unconditionally, and never wavers in her loyalty.
So we owe it to her to give her many stimulating memories for these sunset years of her life. She joined the rest of the tourists this weekend (and was a huge attention getter) as she roamed the Washington Mall and saw the sights.
We got stuck in a National Press Building elevator with four others, including a random Russian journalist. We called for help and rang the alarm but were still stuck a good 15 minutes later, so when it was clear we were on a floor and not in between them, Matty pried the doors open and we got safely out in time for dinner. Thank god. But it was pretty funny before it got unfunny — the woman on the help intercom asked Matty questions like, “How many people are on the elevator with you?” And he said, “Six. But R. Kelly’s in here. Please hurry.” (Thankfully she got the joke.)
Since the November trip to Barcelona, we rang in the new year in Austin, then together made the decision to leave the place that we’ve loved living to decamp for Washington, DC. I (Elise) got a job offer from NPR in late December, and it was a pretty sweet gig, so Matty and I decided to go for it. Before the move, we squeezed in a trip to my mom’s beloved homeland, Taiwan, (photos are Facebooked but I need to put them up here), and then we split up for the past month, me living in DC and starting our life here, Matty staying back in Texas to finalize the move and work obligations.
I’ve been by myself but surrounded by plenty of friends from Texas and elsewhere who come into town, or call this area their home. They’ve introduced me to a lot of places to eat and drink already, so I’ve been tracking them with a handy Google Map.
Click on the map to view it larger, and click on each plot point to read more about the place.
View Elise Hu-Stiles’ Washington, DC Spots in a larger map