Letters to Our Baby – Letter 1

Written March 21, 2020

It’s been over a year since my last post. I lost track of time and felt so much joy in our travels and adventures that I forgot to write about them. We were too busy moving throughout Asia and enjoying cherry blossoms in Japan (from parks in Tokyo to mountains in Hokkaido), fresh coconuts and warm beaches in Bali with our visits from friends, and a big family trip to Korea. Friendships, family, and memories round out our year on the move. We then settled back in the US, for more summer dinners, boat rides on lakes in the Sierra foothills, and sharing our stories with our loved ones. It was a year to remember.

In September, I had an opportunity to travel to the Middle East for work for about 3 months with Daniel. Even though we were ready to have kids, we thought: “What the hell? Let’s go for one last adventure.” On the second day of arriving, I was feeling really sick. That night, I learned I was pregnant.

Fast forward a few months to February, countless trips from the Middle East to London and back, and we’ve moved to London right before a pandemic on February 3. I was in my third trimester when London came under lock-down March 23. We are far from our family, but we are close to a tremendous support system of friends and colleagues. The house is mostly empty (and our belongings are in quarantine at the UK border), but we are filled with excitement, love, and that good kind of stress that comes with anticipating something big and wonderful happening. There’s a lot of uncertainty around our birth plan given the situation on the ground has been changing to quickly, but we have access to terrific medical support.

It’s during these times of extreme emotions and uncertainty that I’m going to try to document my days again — not for my own record keeping or memories as I did during our travels, but for our little one who will arrive very soon into a reality I know so much less about. Each day I wake up with the feeling the old world will disappear after COVID is over. Certainly, he will arrive as Daniel and I both navigate this new world we step into while adjusting to a very different life.

I hope these stories will one day be meaningful, as our little adventurer faces his own unknown challenges in this quickly moving world.

Dear Darling,

You’re still sleeping snug and safe right now, unaware of everything that is happening in the world around us. You like fruit, juice, and anything sweet really (yesterday you went crazy over some Ben and Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice cream). You jump at the sound of daddy’s voice, and you like to move right around midnight and first thing in the morning. You and daddy have a game already called, “Morse Code”, where daddy taps you over my tummy and you tap back.

During the first 3 months when you were a cluster of cells starting to take human shape, I was sick over a dozen times a day. I never felt badly about it because that’s how I knew you were healthy. You also made me feel confident in work meetings or stressful times, knowing there were two of you rooting me on. For those first 3 months while we traveled with my work, you lived in some very fancy surroundings — eating at Michelin Star restaurants and staying in a 5 star hotel. Don’t get too used to that because it’s not how life will be, and certainly not the way we live.

When it was finally safe to tell people that you were there, everyone welcomed you. I remember very clearly that I was standing in a large conference room in London with the video screens muted when I told your grandparents in the US. There was so much excitement, and we all tried to guess whether you were a boy or girl. I thought you were a girl, and daddy thought you were a boy. Daddy won that bet. But it doesn’t matter because we love you all the same, even though I hate to lose.

The 3 of us moved to London when you were about 5 months old through my work, and daddy left his very comfortable (though intense) Silicon Valley job to start his own business. He figured if he was going to work through weekends and evenings, that he may as well do it for himself. We knew it would be risky, but we don’t typically turn away from a good challenge. Certainly, COVID hadn’t hit then, and we were optimistic that things would all work out. It hasn’t gone that smoothly, but I hope you grow up to be fearless about hard work and diligence, and that you never turn away during tougher times. We have ups and downs with this decision, but in the end, we know that if we roll up our sleeves, we’ll get through this.

These are weird and tough times, and I don’t have the words right now to describe the world before this. When you turned about 28 weeks old, the UK government announced steeper isolation rules across the country. We went to bed one night watching the news about the Coronavirus in Asia. We woke up the next day and joined the same battle half the world had been battling since late December/early January.

At this point in late-March, I’ve been working from home for 3 weeks. Today, schools are closed and the streets of Central London are empty. They’re eerie and beautiful, like everything else I feel about these days. Daddy runs out for groceries nearly every other day (we don’t have a car, and I’ll tell you right now it’s unlikely we’ll get one if your Daddy has anything to do with it). Sometimes he has a hard time finding what we want like eggs, chicken, pork, and for some unknown reason…toilet paper. The hospital is very busy, and the care takers there — doctors, nurses, and hospital staff — are our front line defense. It’s with this in mind that we’ve decided that in order to keep you safe and to make sure daddy can be there during your arrival, we’d deliver you at home in quieter settings, surrounded by people who love you the most.

Even though this wasn’t the ideal environment to bring you into the world, we are just as excited as ever. We see you as a gift we look forward to when we’re stuck in uncertainty. On the tougher days when I miss our family (the borders are closed, and we’re not sure when they’ll open), we plan for your arrival, and it makes us feel so much better.

If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s the power of joy. Don’t let things get you down for too long; it’s not productive. Remember this Darling, you have traveled the world before you could even crawl, made us feel happy and excited before you could even smile, and you have so much more to experience and give.

Love always.

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