All about the babies, and a son to be

Maggie and I are in our final week of a 5-week visit to Canada, and it has been a whirlwind — both physically and mentally.

It has been wonderful being home for the holidays, and a visit that has been full of firsts. It was Maggie’s first time seeing British Columbia (as we flew into Vancouver rather than Toronto, simply for the experience and to visit family out west). It was also our first opportunity to meet my 20-month-old nephew who was born shortly after our last visit to Canada.

My nephew is not the only new addition to our clan since our last visit. My cousin and my step-brother have both had children since we were last here, and being home has given me a chance to sit down with all the somewhat-new parents and pick their brains on being first-time parents.

That experience alone has made this visit home invaluable. We have lists of recommended reading, bags of baby gear, advice layered upon advice and, perhaps most valuable, the opportunity to spend some up-close and personal time with babies and little kids — something that has given us both a much stronger sense that, despite the regular fears I imagine all new parents-to-be have, we are ready for this.

Hands down the best part of being home though came in the form of a short trip to a small office in Oakville on December 23, 2009. For Christmas my sister and my mom decided to take Maggie and I to 3D Baby Vision, a fetal imaging clinic that specializes in keepsake 3d ultrasounds.

We got the works; a 30-40 minute 3D ultrasound session, a DVD recording of the session, a CD full of images of our unborn baby, and — most importantly — gender assessment.

Due to Chinese families (particularly in rural areas) favouring boys, and because of the country’s One Child Policy; Chinese doctors and ultrasound techs are legal restricted from revealing the sex of a child so as to prevent parents from aborting the baby if it is a girl.

While there are always ways around this, having the assessment done while we are here in Canada was a simple solution, and one we were quite eager to take part in.

It’s a boy!

Or rather it will be… or should be. Due to the position of the baby, the tech could only give us 90% certainty, but said that in the 5 years of the business, she had never received a call saying she had gotten it wrong.

I was asked a lot prior to knowing the sex what I hoped he would be, and I always said I was completely impartial. More than one person told me I was lying and deep down I had a preference. I really didn’t, and still don’t. I see the benefits and challenges of either — and at the end of the day I’m just thrilled to be a dad.

That said, now that we know I can focus on what having a boy means — basically, a little me. I’m in a lot of trouble. 🙂 Of course I’m kidding. I’m excited to take part in all the “father-son” things that I took part in with my dad. Playing catch, going to games, etc.

I’m also pretty keen on the fact that as the only male child in my family, having a boy means that my family name with carry on (provided he doesn’t go on to hyphenate it — but who does that, really?). 🙂

Sadly, the holiday cheer and baby excitement has been overshadowed a bit the last few days. My paternal grandmother died just after Christmas, and we’ll be attending her funeral tomorrow.

The grief of losing a family member is terrible. It was barely more than a year ago that my maternal grandmother died. The most painful part when she died was being so far away from everyone. In that way, I am glad we happened to be here now.

I have a wide mix of emotions over her death, and don’t have the experience with death to properly put it all to words. However, the one feeling I am confident in is that to me her death was anything but a tragedy. I cannot begin to imagine a way in which it is a tragedy for someone to live 93 years; seeing, experiencing, creating, loving and giving all that she did.

I will miss her more than I can even guess at now; I can’t even fully comprehend that she is gone. But I know that I will always remember her as the amazing person she was and the infinite number of ways her life positively influenced my own.

It is a, ultimately life-affirming, conflict of emotions feeling the kick of my unborn son one day, and losing someone I love dearly the next. Truly, c’est la vie.

And with that in mind, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy New Year. May we all discover things in 2010 which make us more fully appreciate our lives and the way we live them. My best to all of you.

19 Responses

  1. Great stuff, Ryan. Healthy and Happy 2010 to you, Maggie, and jnr-in-waiting.

    That image at the top of the post makes your boy look like he’s already got the goatee – a real chip off the old block.

  2. Hey. Sorry to hear about your grandma. I know her death is hard for you and your family, but hold on to “the infinite number of ways her life positively influenced my own.” And one of those very special ways is your son. So, I guess the circle continues.

    Can’t wait to see you guys!


    PS: Oh, and some would say hyphenating your name honours both families, instead of getting stuck in some antiquated patrilinear rut. I’m just sayin’. 😉

    • But where does that hyphenation end? I mean, will Aria one day be called Aria Marie Lamonte-Bird-Smith? Will her kid then be Lamonte-Bird-Smith-T’valii ? Or maybe second generation drops the first hyphenated name? I dunno… it seems overly complicated.

  3. Nice pics Ryan. We almost decided to get those ourselves, but its pretty expensive here in Denmark. Anyway, we’ll see the real deal in 14-30 days anyway.

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

  4. Congrats on a little one, I have 4 myself and while they can be a handful it was worth it.

    It’s funny i’ve been traveling to China for about a year now and just ran across this blog today. Looking at your pictures it looks like i can see your apt building out my hotel room window (staying at the Hojo).

    Good luck to you with the little one.

  5. Thanks everyone. Should have more updates soon.

    @David: You probably can — at least the community I live in — as it’s one of the larger ones in SIP, and we’re just a bit north west of the HoJo. Must have been a pretty clear day though, as I can barely see my neighbour’s place on most days in the Suzhou soup.

    • Yeah it can get petty hazy, but actually most of the time we can see a decent distance out the windows of the hotel. I have more than a few pictures of the Convention Center and Ferris wheel on the other side of Jin Ji lake.

  6. Pingback: Chun Jie: The Next Generation | Lost Laowai China Blog

  7. Hey saw this after my email. Those 3D images are something else.

    “May we all discover things in 2010 which make us more fully appreciate our lives and the way we live them. ”

    Amen to that. I’ve been (out of necessity) on my own journey of discovery. It’s been difficult, but in the end I can only hope to come out the other side better than when I began.

    Happy New Year

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