It's official... I'm going to be a father! So surreal. When I found out the news, way too many emotions came swirling over me. How else would you react if you saw this?
I'll be periodically updating this entry on a month-by-month basis so that I can keep track of Priscilla's (Mommy's) pregnancy for my personal records. Each entry will include my thoughts, updates and illustrations in order to show the memorable moments of each month.
THE FIRST TRIMESTER
October 2016: So far, so good! Mommy seems to be feeling normal with no signs of nausea or enraged hormonal behavioral patterns. I can only hope that it turns out to be a smooth process with no hiccups. I'm super excited to find out what the gender of the baby is. I'm having strong hunches that you will be a girl, but I could be wrong.
Right now, you are the size of a lentil... so at this particular moment, it's still too early to tell. I've only told a few people that we're expecting so far because I don't want to be one of those parents that announces everything about their baby on social media. I'll let Mommy handle that the best way she knows how. I've always been one to value privacy when it comes to family and I'm sticking to that. I'm thinking about doing a 365 photo project to capture every important moment of the day, so maybe you'll see some baby stuff in there every now and then. At this time, I'm still trying to process my thoughts and enjoy the wonderful news. I've never been so nervous, yet excited to meet someone in my life.
November 2016: I'm about to head off to Japan for a few weeks, so I can only hope that Mommy will be fine while I'm not home. I won't enjoy being away during her time of need, but I'll find time to stay in touch during my absence. Factoring in the major time difference, it will be fairly difficult, but it's important that I make the effort.
[UPDATE]: I'm back from Japan, and it is not looking good at all. Mommy has been bedridden and has spent the last few days at my parent's house. Looks like she has severe nausea and has been losing weight at a rapid pace. Now that I'm back, I can drop everything and focus on getting her back to normal. She tells me that she hates this and that she doesn't want to do it anymore. It's hard to encourage someone going through intense pain to look on the bright side. I can remember being in that situation when I had my Colorectal surgery. I fear that the symptoms are going to get worse with her throughout this pregnancy. At this point, all I can do is make things easier by just being here and tending to her needs.
After receiving nausea medication from her doctor, it looks like Mommy has been showing very slow signs of recovery. She stopped vomiting every 20 minutes or so and she is able to go back to work after resting for a week. I'll continue monitoring her process. We're still about 8 1/2 weeks into this, so hopefully the symptoms will regress.
December 2016: It's been two months and it's already off to a rocky start. Looks like it will be difficult to celebrate the holidays and our birthdays while this is going on. I'm actually thrilled to be spending time at home for once rather than traveling, but my main focus is making sure that Mommy is taken care of. Grandma is coming into town next week, so that will help ease the load for both of us. She is more or less in the same condition and I'm not sure if it's getting better or worse. I can't wait to see the OB-GYN this week and get more information for our first prenatal visit. I've listed a bunch of questions regarding her current condition, dietary restrictions, and whether we'll be able to tell if the baby is developing fine.
[UPDATE]: We finally have an ultrasound! The baby seems to be very active with a normal heartbeat, which is a great sign. Everything is normal, despite the constant nausea and irritability.
We're going strong and celebrating our birthdays and New Year's Day without any troubles so far. The family seems to be in good spirits and we can't wait to celebrate the holidays with our new bundle of joy.
January 2017: Not exactly sure what to make of this, but it's already week 15 into Mommy's gestation and she's not showing any signs of improvement. Most women start to recover from their nausea after week 13, but Mommy is a strange case. She has no urge to eat or get out of the house and stay active. She always feels sick. This makes it slightly difficult to figure out how we're going to deal with this. Hopefully by her next doctor visit, we should be able to get some answers. It was great having Grandma back for the holidays, but for the long term, we're going to need her for the remainder of the pregnancy. She's coming back in late February, so it puts the responsibility on me to step up and make sure that Mommy can make it through to the next few months.
February 2017: Technically it's the last day of January, but we finally found out that you are a baby girl! We just got back from Dr. Gutkin (the ultrasound specialist) and she basically confirmed it through the blood work and advanced imaging. You are such an active and happy baby in there! And the best news is that you're healthy. I am so excited. I'm so happy that I can finally call you Stella. I think Mommy is relieved and happy to know that we're going to have a girl first. She wants to name her Eun-byeol as her Korean name, which I love because the name means "star". I will definitely ask mom and dad to come up with a Vietnamese name for her. I don't think they would be as open to it just because you'll already have so many names.
Mommy's nausea is subsiding just so long as she takes the Diclegis medication regularly. We missed it one time and things did not turn out so well. As long as we keep it under control, she can function throughout the day with no problem and eat regularly.
We've let all of our close friends and family know the good news. Mom was definitely feeling very emotional now that she knows that she's getting a granddaughter, but in a joyful sense. I'm happy for her too. Everyone is excited to welcome a baby girl into their lives, and I'm still processing it in my own way.
[UPDATE]: 20 weeks! We're already at the halfway point! What a journey it's been. Mommy is off the nausea medication and functioning better than I thought. We're doing all the prep that we can to get ready for your arrival. Mommy is making me read baby books and look at cribs for you, so that's fun. She announced your arrival on Facebook, which caught me off guard, but at least people know that you're coming! You are getting bigger and bigger by the day just looking at Mommy's stomach, so I'm just processing all of this day-by-day.
[ADVICE]: As human beings, we're conditioned to feel pressure in spontaneous situations. That's why our minds go through so many emotions leading up to big moments. Whether we're happy, sad, or angry during difficult moments... we can only hope for the best in other people and for ourselves. Sometimes Mommy and I don't always have the answers and we're flawed in our own ways just like everybody else on this planet, but you're helping me realize that we did some good in our lives.
I love you and I will do anything to protect you, even if it means having to eliminate people in our lives that are so-called "friends" and "family". In the end... lots of tears will be shed and there will be many instances where we question if we made the right decision or not, but in the end, I know it was the best for us. I don't want to do this to hurt anybody (especially your Mommy), but I'm doing this because I came to a realization that people will take advantage of us for who we are. We're just nice people and there are those out there that think that no matter what they do, we'll always be fine with it and accept it.
There are givers and takers in this world, and unfortunately, we can't always tell the difference which is which. I will teach you that it is never okay to treat people like trash or that they don't matter. We are no better than anyone else. We work for our money, we treat others with kindness, and we show compassion/respect for our loved ones. If ever you step out of line and break these rules, I will call you out on it and punish you because when you grow up, you will realize that these negative actions will affect the people that love and care about you. When I look at you, I will love you, but I will hold you accountable because it is my job to do that.
Just so you know, I hate being the bad guy. For good measure, I hope you never see this side of me. I love you and your Mommy way too much and I do not want to create a hostile environment that makes everyone sad and depressed. But just know that I will go through extreme measures to make sure that you are protected from these people and I will show no remorse.
March 2017: Wow, already five and a half months in and I cannot wait for you to arrive! Apparently, you're as big as a zucchini? I hope you can hear me knocking and kissing at your mommy's stomach. Good news is that she's getting a little plumper and eating a bit more than usual, so that's good news. I take any weight gain at this point as a positive sign now. Either way, mommy is eating again! Yay!
All I can think about at this point is what we're going to do together as a family. I would love to travel the world and show you all the things that you're about to see and discover as you grow up. I've been trying to find time to do all of this while waiting for your arrival. In the last few months, I realized that there are so many places that I need to revisit. When you're older, we can do it together as a family. The best part is that everything will be a new experience for you, and so it will be a new experience for me as well.
April 2017: Oh my goodness, you're getting to be so big! I can see and feel the little kicks and bumps inside of Mommy's stomach now. We just took a short trip up to San Francisco this past weekend, but I don't think she was feeling too good after the plane ride. I was afraid that you weren't feeling well because Mommy had some sharp pains and nausea again. Even though she was tired, Mommy did a great job hiking up and down mountains and carrying you up the hills, even though it looked really tough on her. We got to enjoy some nice views and fresh air. Even Mr. Clint (who you'll get to know in due time) has a girlfriend now, so things are looking up!
Our new house is coming along great! In just a few months, you'll be moving into what will be your permanent home. I remember when I was a kid, we moved at least 4-5 times in the span of ten years... so I never really got to call a particular place home for long.
Anyway, we're planning a party for you on the 15th! Instead of doing a shower, we're planning to have a small party with close friends and play baby games in your honor. Mommy seems to be very excited, so it'll be fun!
[UPDATE]: Great news baby! The party was a success! Mommy and friends had a wonderful time eating, relaxing and playing baby related games. Uncle Ryan, Caesar, Dean, Ray, and Nelson all joined in on the fun as well as Grandma. Tiffany did a great job organizing the party and decorating the place, and I think Mommy really enjoyed her time with Mayabi, Ashley, and Dede. Everyone is really happy to see you and we all got you very cool stuff! Mommy is in a shopping craze right now trying to get everything ready for you, which I think is kind of funny because she doesn't like to spend money at all (especially on herself).
We all went for a nice bike ride to cool off. We were right near the beach, so it was a good idea to take a nice bike ride while the sun was setting. You and I will go on many bicycle rides together. I think it would be a great father-daughter activity just being outdoors and watching the water. I just have to remind myself not to go super fast until your little legs can catch up. Either way, I think it will be very fun to do these types of things with you and Mommy.
May 2017: Wow, it's already May... which means we're hitting the 8 month mark. Words can't express how excited I am to meet you. Your mommy is getting more anxious by the day too. The bigger her tummy gets, the more reality becomes apparent.
When I got back from San Francisco this past weekend, your mommy and I had a talk about what kind of person I should raise you to become and what kind of father I want to be. I know having you in my life is going to transform me in ways I would have never thought. It's already starting to change me in little ways that my friends are starting to notice. My outward appearance, subtle actions, and even mannerisms are completely different than they used to be, and I think it's just the simple realization that I'm going to be a dad in a few months.
There are so many things that I want to teach you, but it feels like there's never enough time or patience to absorb it all. You should understand that surrounding yourself with quality people is important. There is so much value in the human connection. When I was growing up, I was taught that people will only put you in harm's way in order to get what they want... so I approached everything with a pessimistic mindset that carried with me all the way through my late teens. I never trusted anybody, and when they hurt me, it validated everything that I was taught. People suck. Screw the world.
As an emotional and sensitive person, this can be a very poisonous mentality. Mommy thinks you will be like this since you most likely will be a Cancer, and every Cancer she knows is basically an emotional roller coaster. That's why I want you to know that if you can't go to Mommy, you'll always have this guy. I was super sensitive and emotional as a kid, and bits of pieces of that kid still exist in me to this day. I see the relationship that your aunt has with my mom and I wouldn't want that saltiness to exist between you two. Your mommy is the sweetest and kindest person I know, but be fair to her because she has never been a parent before. Neither have I. We will constantly make mistakes either for your benefit or for your growth.
The reason we named you Stella is because you're an extension of your mommy and I. I can only imagine that you'll have the best features of us put together, but I'm expecting that you'll be a great person surrounded by people who love you very much.
Right now, we're preparing your room and getting all of the necessities ready... but I'm trying to decide how to do all of this without making a huge mess. Don't worry! Everything will be good when you finally come home.
June 2017: Can't believe we're almost 2 weeks away from your arrival! Mommy and I have been slowly preparing for your arrival. I have to admit that we're a bit lazy on the cleaning up, but we've been packing your room full of cool baby stuff.
Slowly, I'm starting to warm up to the fact that I'm going to be a father. One of my biggest fears in life was getting someone pregnant at the wrong time because the baby would be looked at as a burden rather than a gift. Now I'm realizing that there's never a right time. These nine months have gone by so fast, but I'm glad that we've been given enough time to prepare mentally and emotionally for you.
In the beginning, there were so many emotions going through my mind when I found out Mommy was pregnant... but seeing what she had to go through over the last few months, I had to internalize my own feelings and channel it into something productive so that it wouldn't bog her down. I've been running, hiking, weightlifting, writing, and drawing... anything I can do to make this transition smoother. This is how I am when I'm emotional. You will learn so much about me and I hope you will be the same way whenever you get emotional (which I know you will).
Our friends, Yuefan and YanYan, just found out that they're having a baby girl too. Even my buddy big Jon is expecting a baby girl this coming September. I'm glad that they're all going through this journey with us. For the longest time, I felt that we were going through this by ourselves and it kinda bummed me out. Luckily, that isn't the case anymore. I really hope that we can find other baby friends for you until we plan for your siblings. It sucks to grow up alone and have no one to keep you company, but I guess that just means you will have to settle with me for now!
I guess this will be the last update until you finally arrive. Here's to a safe and healthy delivery!
July 5, 2017: At 11:31 AM and after 12 hours of excruciating labor, your beautiful mother brought you into the world. I never knew that a love like this could exist until I heard your very first cries. With the help of the lovely Dr. Carilyn Sparks and the wonderful nursing team at the Providence Little Company of Mary hospital, you were born a healthy 8 lbs, 2 oz and 20 inches. Isn't that crazy? That makes you one giant whopper of a baby girl.
It was such a memorable July 4th because we were trying to get Mommy to the hospital that very night as a bunch of fireworks were going off. People stood watching in amazement. I would like to believe that it was the world's way of celebrating your upcoming arrival. In reality, I know that's not the case... but that is the memory that I'll take away from that whole night. Now whenever we see fireworks, you will be the first thing that comes to our minds.
Everybody loves you, Stella Gee Nguyen. Especially Daddy. :)