Saturday, September 12, 2009

American Dreams


I’m sitting here on the floor in the sunroom of a luxury Victorian home in San Francisco that is undergoing a remodel. I’m staring at the beautiful antique wooden vanity missing its mirror. I obviously find myself in this home because it’s one of Javier’s projects. The house is worth around $5 million and owned by a young man who is probably not over 30 years old. I’ve come to this project a couple of times and caught glimpses of the owner. He’s always wearing sporty gear, including his sunglasses, shorts, and running shoes. Last week we stopped by for an additional estimate, and Javier took Qori with him while I stayed in the car. Rob, the owner was there with his own dog, a long-legged black female poodle, and Qori met her. After a few minutes, due to rowdiness, Qori and the female dog were banished to the outside of the house so their dads could focus on the objective of their meeting. From the car, I watched the dynamics between Qori and the female dog; Qori couldn’t have been the least bit interested in her.
Rob is a married man, and has a little daughter. Each time that Javier brings me to the project, I start to imagine a happy family living in it. The daughter’s room is being furnished with an animal theme and the walls have been painted with special chalkboard paint so that she can write on the walls. While I can’t understand the concept that the designers have in mind for the entire house (there are many things that are not to my taste in this house such as pink walls, leopard-print stair carpet, and very dramatic wall-paper) nonetheless, the house will still be someone’s home; someone’s American Dream.
While my own house is nowhere near $5 million, maybe not even 15% of that now due to the economic crisis, I’m still happy to have it. Even more so now that Javier helped us remodel the 1st floor. But as I sit here staring around at Rob’s dream and the memories that he will create here, I can’t help but feel excited for my own little dream that is now coming true.

Two days ago, I found out that I was pregnant. Javier and I have been trying to have a child since we got married almost 3 years ago. Before the US was hit with the economic crisis, before the US ever even thought it would ever have a black president, we were trying to have a baby. During that time, I learned a lot about my body, the lunar cycle, and how conception works. We officially became an infertile couple trying to have a baby, and began diagnostics procedures. The diagnostics came out that we were free of the typical obstacles that unfertile couples usually face. Though through the months, I realized that Javier’s swimmers were a little slow, while my paved roads may have been a little complex for them. We tried artificial insemination 3 times, took a break, and tried once more. We were bracing ourselves for the next step: In-vitro. Unfortunately, the next step would come with a hefty price tag: at least $12,000. Up to this point, we had been lucky because my insurance covered the inseminations.
We were healing from what the economic crisis had done to us, and gone were the days where Javier and I could spend $12,000 on something that still only gave us a 50% chance. I felt horrible that money was standing in our way and tried to justify how a couple that could not really afford to have in-vitro, could possibly be ready for a baby. Let’s put it this way, during our trying times, I read a lot of blogs and stories written by unfertile couples. It really made me realize that when the gift is bestowed upon you, you are truly blessed. And you can’t let time pass you by, economic crisis or not.
So we put this dream on hold until Javier could get more stable in his projects. The past 4 months have flown by. During that time period, a Swiss company bought out my company and all my stocks were forced to cash out. I also got some tax return money. This caused me to second-think a trip to Japan & China that my dad had been planning for the past 6 months. I talked to Javier and told him that I was willing to pay for the two of us to go to Asia with my parents. While it would be a $6000 investment, I truly believed that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had no idea the magnitude of this opportunity at the time, but now looking at my calendar, there is a very high likelihood that we conceived during the first couple of days in Japan. So you can probably say that I got a good deal or maybe even two deals: 2 for 1, and 50% off!
So after returning from our trip I kept a close eye on my calendar tracker. The first day of my missed period, I didn’t really think anything of it. Years of tracking my days, it was normal for me to be 2 days late. Only once before was I 5 days late. I waited until I was 6 days late before I truly started to believe that I might be pregnant. You may wonder why I didn’t just take a test on the 1st day of my missed period. The truth is that being disappointed so many times, I just felt like peeing on that stick was jinx and bad luck. I just didn’t want to be disappointed.
I had one stick left and decided that I would use it now. Javier was in a semi-bad mood and wanted me to order food from the Outback, our favorite restaurant. I peed on the stick and called the Outback to put in my order. For a split-second I forgot about the test while talking to the Outback guy on the phone. But my eyes glanced over to the test as I was telling him the type of car we had for the pickup.
I noticed there were 2 lines, one fainter than the other. Honestly, at that moment, I didn’t remember what that meant. I’d taken more ovulation tests than pregnancy tests in the past, and the ovulation tests required that your line be of equal or more darkness than the indicator line: therefore there was always a fainter line for the ovulation test.
Once I got off the phone I opened the test guide pamphlet and saw that 1 line=not pregnant, 2=pregnant. So I was pregnant?! But why was one line fainter than the other? Did that mean I was probably pregnant, or did that mean I was pregnant for sure? I went online and Googled images of other people’s pregnancy tests. Everybody’s tests had one fainter line, but it was the right one instead of the left one like mine. After reviewing many online photos, I was convinced the darker line was my line and the fainter line was the indicator line. Judging by the fact that my line was way darker than the reference, I was totally preggers! Everyone else’s line was fainter because they probably took their tests on the first day of their missed period, instead of waiting a whole week like I did.
The next day, after having brunch with an old high school friend, I immediately went to buy some more tests. I bought a different brand and type. This time it was one of those cool digital tests that simply read “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant” on the LCD screen. According to the funny commercials on TV, it would be the most sophisticated state of the art technology – that you could ever pee on. I watched the screen as the hourglass was blinking and finally it concluded “Pregnant”. Seeing that word on the screen instead of typical 2 lines made such a psychological difference. I got nervous and queasy for a moment.
You can imagine the types of thoughts I’ve been having since. Should I change my diet? I need to schedule a dr. appt. Who is this little person going to be when he/she grows up? Is it a boy or a girl? Could it be twins? How long do I have to wait to tell people? How am I going to tell people? At what point is the risk of a miscarriage lower? Are my tight pants bothering the baby when I sit down? Does Qori know that I’m pregnant? It’s apparent that I don’t know the first thing about being pregnant.
Javier is happy and caught off guard at this news. He – like me – was not expecting to be pregnant “so soon” or so quickly. We had both sort of convinced ourselves that we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant this year either. Now he has increased pressure. We are here on Sunday at the Victorian house and he is wall-papering while I spend time with him. While Rob and his family are anxious to begin their new dreams, we are too.