Bebe, Familia

Our journey begins

Friday, November 23, 2012

I really wasn’t surprised to see two bold blue lines. The text on the six-inch white stick was clearer than the results. Positive. Pregnant.

Sean was behind me as we looked at the stick on the bathroom sink. I don’t remember if I said anything, probably “I’m pregnant.” We just hugged. And then I cried a little because I’m happy, scared and all that stuff.

After calming down a bit, I went to my laptop and my trusty friend, Google. I think my search terms were “I just found out I’m pregnant.” I went from there on starting the next steps. Obviously, seeing a professional was high on the list. I tried setting up an appointment online through my HMO which was more complicated than I expected since I was used to the easy system I used with the student health center I used as a grad student.

I didn’t find much on the website that was truly helpful. I called the appointment hotline and soon was speaking to a helpful scheduler/operator at the West LA medical center. She answered my questions and informed me that pregnancy tests are done on a walk-in basis at the woman’s health center. She gave me the hours and said she didn’t know how long a patient might have to wait to be seen. With 45 minutes before they closed, Sean and I rushed out and were parking 5 minutes later. Yay for proximity.

I checked in and was called a few minutes later.

Sean got up to come in with me to the exam room. The nurse waved him down, “He’ll get to go to the next one,” she added.

“First, the test.” She handed me a cup and pointed out the bathroom. When I came out, she stuck a test strip in and pulled it out.

The color changed as she looked at it. “It looks light, but that’s probably because you’re so early. You’re definitely pregnant.”

We moved away from the nurse’s station and into a second room where she took my vitals, weighed me and asked some basic questions to figure out how far along I was.

“Five weeks! You’re early.”

She set up an appointment with an Ob/Gyn for the first week of December. It seemed so far away. She gave me some forms to bring back with me for my next appointment with info about my lifestyle, personal and family medical history. And I got a folder packed with info on each month of pregnancy. It was cute, but so obvious. Finally, she ordered some tests and sent me down to the lab.

Your journey begins

I met Sean out in the waiting room and we headed down to the lab. We looked over the forms while we waited to get my blood drawn. Even with a big folder making it pretty obvious I was expecting and two positive tests, it still felt surreal. On our way out of the medical center, I stopped by the pharmacy and picked up some prenatal vitamins. Those would be necessary.


Filling in the backstory

Mid November and Thanksgiving

Best cheese ever

Sean and I joked about being pregnant before we knew for sure. Being a week late, I started looking up foods I should avoid. I complained when I saw Mexican soft cheeses like queso fresco on the list. Good thing I found out there are plenty of pasteurized options for my favorite cheese. [That cheese up there would probably be off limits.]

After Thanksgiving dinner, my cousin Nancy put me on the spot. “When are you and Sean going to make babies? I want some Mariah Carey babies.” Nancy isn’t the first person who has asked about our plans for having kids. We heard it as soon as we got engaged.

Valerie chimed in before I could answer, “Unless she already is…”

I stayed quiet. The “Mariah Carey baby” Nancy asked about might have already been in the works.

The next day I went to the nail salon for a much needed pedicure and eyebrow/upper lip wax. The salon only accepts cash so Sean went to Rite-Aid to buy some items and get cash back. I suggested a home pregnancy test. We needed a definite answer.


On lockdown

Years ago I signed up to get Google news alerts for any mention of my hometown. Most of the time the “news” is about sports or an announcement from a community center. Actual “real news” is rare, but when it happens it immediately makes me reach out to my family.

Yesterday “real news” popped up in my inbox.

Overheard statement leads to lockdown, search at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights

HACIENDA HEIGHTS – School police and sheriff’s deputies found nothing suspicious as they searched Los Altos High School Wednesday after a student reported overhearing other students possibly talking about a gun in a campus bathroom.

The incident began about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday at the school…

“A student who was in one of the restrooms overheard two other students that were in one of the bathroom stalls saying, ‘it’s loaded,'” the lieutenant said. The student did not report seeing a gun.

The student reported the incident to administrators, who then checked the bathroom but found no one inside, Sotelo said.

Sheriff’s deputies assisted officers from the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in locking down the school and looking for the student who made the alarming statement, as well as any weapon on campus, Sotelo said.

[Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune]

My first thought was “Oh, shit! That’s where my mom works.”

Naturally, I freaked out a little. I called my dad thinking mom might have checked in with him. He sounded too cheery and normal. I told him about the lockdown and he immediately hung up with me to get ahold of mom.

A few moments later dad got back to me. Thankfully, mom was okay as were her students. Almost as soon as I hung up with dad, mom called to check in.

She told me the students were getting antsy and uncomfortable not being able to get out to use the bathroom for a few hours. Their class was searched, but they didn’t really know what was going on. Later in the evening, I spoke to mom again. She was home after a longer than normal day thanks to the lockdown. Apparently, getting students picked up after a lockdown was a lengthy process as emergency contacts had to be verified.

I felt extremely grateful to hear that no one was hurt. More selfishly, I’m glad my mom was home last night and we could talk about mundane things like making tamales.

Sadly, I know there are lots of families who have been through something similar. Even worse, there are too many families who don’t know the feeling that everything is okay.


Memories from a box: Away from home alone

Autobiography box

Years ago my good friend Isabel gave me The Autobiography Box: A Step-by-Step Kit for Examining the Life Worth Living by Brian Bouldrey. I love the gift, but beginning to write an autobiography or memoir, even as a writing exercise, felt odd when I was barely in my mid 20s. (If only Girls was around back then…) Still, I liked the prompts and opened the box once in a while when I organized my desk. Each time, I’d think I should tackle some of the topics. Anyway, I’d like to write more and perhaps this box can help.

First up, chosen sort of at random:
Write about the first time you went away from home alone. Was it a vacation? Was it for work? Were you looking for something? Were you running away? Do you see that excursion as a “hero’s journey,” or did you go kicking and screaming? How did it change you?


I’m not sure I’ve truly ever been away from home alone. Totally alone. Sure, I’ve traveled on my own, but even then there was always something familiar there. I stayed with friends or visited family.

Still, I do know the first time I went somewhere without my parents or siblings: Girl Scout camp.

Setting up camp

El Potrero Girl Scout campground is only a couple hours away by bus, but it felt far. Before going to camp, I’d never even heard of Lake Elsinore.

I don’t remember much about the bus trip aside from the scorched terrain along the mountainside. The trees were bare and dirt was black. I don’t remember if there were brush fires or the fire department had preemptively burned off the dry brush.

I wasn’t alone on this trip. There were a couple other girls from my troop attending the space-themed camp that summer. I also remember being excited to find a couple of notes from my mom packed with my things.

I really liked being away at camp. I remember feeling like a kid from the movies. We stayed in tents, did arts and crafts and ate trail mix. It was the first time I heard the term GORP (good old raisins and peanuts). We took hikes and slept under the stars at night. We had campfires, sang “Kumbaya” and freaked out over creepy things — a toilet flushing on it’s own.

There were things I didn’t like. Some of the girls were a bit catty and mean. I also got stung three times by wasps on the nose, arm and thumb. Everyone got stung by a wasp at least one, but I think I was the only one unlucky enough to get stung on the nose and develop a huge red welt.

Gee mom I want to go
But they won’t let me go
Gee mom I want to go home
From Girl Scout camp

I didn’t stay in Girl Scouts much longer after going away to camp. I don’t know if it happened that summer or the next summer, but there was a bus accident involving Girl Scouts going to camp.