Annelise’s First Birthday

Have you ever forced yourself to smile even though you feel like hell on the inside? Nothing about nausea is pleasant. But what do you do when your nausea lasts for 9 months? People might be sympathetic for the first few months of the pregnancy but they expect you to feel better after a while. So, at some point, you have to suck it up and fake a smile for the world. And at some point, you have to minimize your symptoms and tell people you feel okay even though you don’t really feel all that great.

So I forced myself to smile for Annelise’s first birthday this past July.

Traditionally, Korean families hold big celebrations (called “dol janchi”) for their child’s first birthday. Apparently, this tradition came about because in the past, babies frequently died before their first birthday due to various diseases. So if a baby made it to his or her first birthday, it was a big deal. Of course, these days in Korea, most babies survive well past their first birthday but people still throw elaborate and extravagant “dol” parties.

Because of the HG, I hadn’t done a single thing to prepare for Annelise’s birthday party. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I would feel good enough to even attend her party! We decided to do a simple, cozy family party. My mother-in-law made the reservations for the restaurant. My mom arranged catering for the fruit and dessert and she also bought a han-bok (traditional Korean dress) for Annelise. The one thing I did was order a custom-design cake for her.

It took every ounce of energy for me to get ready and go out to the restaurant for Lisi’s birthday. This would be the first time I would go out in public since my HG nightmare started. I had just discontinued my home IV treatment. Taking a shower was arduous. Getting dressed and putting on makeup for the first time in months felt strange. I was very anxious about throwing up during the car ride to the restaurant or during her party but thankfully I made it through the day without vomiting. I couldn’t eat too much because my stomach still hurt every time I ate anything.

I forced myself to smile during pictures – I really wanted a good family photo. It was pretty overwhelming to see all our relatives after being cooped up at home, but I was so thankful for everyone coming out, so I forced more smiles.

Annelise is quite a character. She became cranky and started bawling in the middle of the party because she was sleepy and tired. But as soon as we gave her a snack, she immediately calmed down. She loves food!

Looking at her gleefully chowing down on the puffs made me smile. And this one was a genuine smile…I was glad that my daughter was happy. I was thankful that the Lord blessed her for one year and that she is so healthy and chubby. My first HG miracle baby.

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The Big 3-0!

This year I turned the big 3-0 in April. I had a quiet celebration with my husband. We went back to one of our first date spots – Sir Winston’s aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. We also celebrated with my parents and brother at a cute little restaurant in Larchmont. And my friends took me out to a Persian place in Westwood. This all happened right before I become pregnant and the HG storm started in May.

This week, I’m so excited to say that I made it to another big 3-0. By God’s grace, I made it to the 30 week mark of my pregnancy! I think I’m more excited to celebrate this milestone than even my 30th birthday. I’m excited because I am that much closer to the due date and meeting our little girl, Katelynn. I am 10 weeks away from beating HG for the second time. Ten weeks away from living nausea-free again. Ten weeks away from finally feeling normal again!

I’m also so grateful that this blog helped to inform another blogger about HG and that she decided to make a donation to the HER foundation! What a wonderful gift to celebrate hitting the 30 week mark. I’m so honored that she mentioned me in her recent post. Please support Miss Marzipan and her commitment to donate to charities on behalf of her little “cupcake” who is due in 14 weeks!