~ Meet Empi
I'm a 30-year-old first-timer who splits her time between a home in Connecticut and Beijing, China. I work as a lead analyst for a consumer research firm, working online and over the phone with colleagues and clients in NYC and the west coast, from wherever I happen to be; I'm also a composer who works primarily with combinations of western, non-western, and electronic instruments.
I'm from the Philippines but my family moved to the Washington DC area when I was 11; my husband Mikael is Finnish but grew up in Sweden and Singapore. He and I met freshman year in college, and have lived in Connecticut since we were married in 2002. Mikael's job brought us to China this past winter, but I'm planning to be in the US at least one month out of every four. My prenatal care is provided by two excellent American doctors, Dr. K in Connecticut and Dr. F in Beijing, who hand me off to each other depending on where I happen to be for the next prenatal appointment.
I'm generally very healthy and stay pretty active - I was on the squash team at school, did an Olympic-length triathlon last year, ride horses, big into hiking, camping, and climbing, snowboard where there's snow, wakeboard and windsurf where it's warm. My husband is the jock of the family, though-I've always been more interested in music and the arts: besides composing, I also sing and play the piano, and periodically paint and sculpt (mostly metal) when the urge hits.
Finding out I was pregnant…
One lovely, sunny Thursday in late April, I decided to take a break from spraying deer repellent on my plants to make a grocery store run. I had arrived from Beijing two weeks before, and had just about had my fill of all the fast food I had missed for the previous 4 months (there's no Taco Bell in Beijing), and was ready to get back to cooking "real" food again. My period was due that week, but while in the Tampax aisle, I impulsively grabbed an economy box of pregnancy tests, planning to bring them back to China for future use. [A sidebar here: I had only gone off Depo Provera a few months before, and had only been getting my period for a couple of months. We were trying, but I had heard that it could take up to a year to get pregnant after Depo, so we didn't expect anything to happen so soon.] Got home and (of course) couldn't resist the urge to pee on a stick. As the second pink line started to appear, all I could do was giggle and say, "No way… no way… "
"Outed" by non-alcholic Beck's…
I thought I had made some pretty canny choices about the beverage selection for my 30th birthday bash. After a week of agonizing over when we should tell, and to whom, Mik and I decided that we would only tell our families, and wait a few months to tell our friends. This would involve some subterfuge on our part: at my birthday party, I had to avoid alcohol and yet not make it look like I was avoiding alcohol; for as big a milestone as 30, I knew that a whiff of alcohol avoidance was as good as an announcement to my closest friends. Our solution: non-alcoholic Beck's. Why Beck's? Because unlike other non-alcoholic beers, the NA Beck's bottle looks exactly like the regular Beck's bottle - there's just a tiny "NA" on the label (which could easily be hidden with a thumb). If you haven't already figured out how this story goes, the Beck's camouflage ended up being too good, and at some point in the evening, a round of NA Beck's came out of the fridge for some of our guests. The ensuing spluttering and complaints ("Why on EARTH would you even buy nonalcoholic beer?") led to a completely unprepared announcement by Mik (who had been celebrating with real Beck's all day, so it was none too eloquent, but got the point across), a slew of congratulations and hugs, and then came the toasts and champagne. By then, it was obvious to us that it was the right decision to tell our friends all along, but mostly I was just relieved that I could lay off the nasty NA and switch to sweet, wonderful, tummy-soothing, bubbly ginger ale.
Other quick facts…
Conceived: Xi'An, Shaanxi Province, China - home of the Terracotta Warriors (the real thing, not a high school football team)
Most public nausea moment: Puking up on the very shiny marble front steps of the official Chinese tourism office - I attracted quite the crowd, including a few policemen (they neither helped nor arrested me).
Record # of bathroom trips in one night: 7
Major cravings to date: tinned peaches, Schlotsky's Turkey Original sandwich with Louisiana hot sauce, BLT sandwiches