Thursday, January 22, 2015

20 week countdown!

Dearest Chloe,

I started my 100 week countdown when you were about 6 months old. I think I just started my PGY 3 year of residency. I had you in January of my PGY 2 year. I went back to work end of February. At that point, it seemed impossible as I still had another 3.5 years of residency and a year of fellowship. The light at the end of the tunnel was not visible in any way shape or form. When I went up 1 year in residency that July, just maybe there was a slight flicker of light. I thought at least that's another year down. I did the math and it seemed that there was approximately 100 weeks until then to when I took my boards, which is when your dad, your grandparents and I believed would be the most appropriate time for you to move down to San Diego. Well here we are now! In week 80! I can't friggen believe it!

It is now January 22nd of 2015. You are now 2 years old. I am now a PGY 4 and your dad is a PGY 6. We have both matched fellowships. I'll be staying at UCSD for a women's imaging fellowship and your daddy will be going to Yale come July of this year for his spine fellowship. I take boards June 11-12 of this year and you my little girl are moving down June 13th and starting pre-school in San Diego June 15th. By the time you're able to read this blog, I'm sure you'll already know how neurotic I am.

It's been such a crazy roller coaster. It still is. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I try to imagine how residency would have been like or how my marriage with your dad would have been like if I hadn't gotten pregnant so early on in training but simply put, I just can't.

The heartbreak, the tears and the incredibly amount of guilt I felt being away from you has ultimately defined who I am. I am a survivor. I am a mother. Nobody can take that away from me. There will be a day when I will stop practicing medicine but I will be your mother until the day I die. I will always put you first. I will alway sleep a little less. My mind will always be a little more complicated. But it is the most rewarding role I have ever been given and I feel so incredibly blessed to be your mom.

Back to my obsessive compulsive habits. One of things that have helped me with the process of being away from you has been setting up your room. It was so hard having to take down your nursery when I first came back from maternity leave. When you were about a year and a half, I realized I had a year left to anticipate your move so that is when I started redoing your room with the help of pottery barn! It has been so much fun!

You've been coming to San Diego on weekends. We take the train down and I get a glimpse of life with you here and it is wonderful. Although, I have yet to experience what it's like to have you here during the work week but I'm sure we'll figure that out and I'm sure it will be topic of a future blog.

In fact, our place has been completely taken over by your stuff now.

Here is your room! I'm still waiting on your bookshelf but other than that, it's done! You've slept in it on the weekends you've been here and it's with great joy I watch you sleep in your bed!

This is our living room! I made your dad clear out the coffee table and a couch so this can be your play room. It will be hard to compete with grandma and grandpa's place but just know that, I tried! Most important part is I, as in your mom, did it! I built the art table and the play house! (So much for having an orthropod as a dad huh? Just kidding babe, I love you!)

I just can't get over it. It's 2015! We celebrated your 2nd birthday. You started pre-school part time in Irvine. You've given grandma a lot of grief with the morning drop-offs but you've only gone for about 2 weeks now. However, it seems like you do well when you are there. I am so proud of you! But for grandma's sake, I hope you give her a little easier time in the mornings. I had to do it for a week when I was on vacation and it is very heartbreaking having to leave you at pre-school when you're crying on top of your lungs.

Right now, I'm trying to just focus on studying for boards and the next 20 weeks will be dedicated to making sure I pass these darn radiology boards! But after being in medicine for so long, which is an endless slew of exams, I have never been so motivated as I've never been presented with such a sweet reward at the end. I'm ready (or will be in about 20 weeks)! I'm going to do this. You're going to move down! and you and I are going to figure out what it's like to be in each other's lives every single day!

Despite all the happiness of what is to come, my heart is also a little heavy. Because 2015 isn't only about your arrival to San Diego but it's also about your dad's move to Yale. We'll have 1 month as a family of 3 before he has to leave end of July.

The reality of it didn't really set in when he matched last year but now that the reality of you moving down is becoming more real, the reality of your dad leaving is also becoming more real. He's my best friend. He's my rock. I think to myself if I'm going to survive a year without him by my side.

But you know what? I have you. You need me. We're going to make it. It's going to our special year of just the 2 of us. I'm going to make up to you the best I can for what I missed the first two and a half years. I know I still have my last year of residency and I'll still have call but it's going to be different. I'll be dropping you and picking you up from pre-school. I'll be making your dinner. I'll be reading your your bedtime story. I know it won't be all rainbows and butterflies but I'll take every day, even the day ones filled with temper tantrums and "no's" because I already know I'll feel so lucky that we made it to this point.

I hope you're ready because I've been waiting for this day since my first day back from maternity leave!

Love, Mom

P.S. Here's some other photos since my last blog post in October.

We went in Seattle in October. Our first family trip!

We celebrated your 2nd Halloween and your first time treat or treating. You put us through 3 costumes. Fairy--didn't want to wear the wings. Pumpkin--it was too hot. You finally chose a devil ballerina costume--but didn't wear the horns so people had no idea who you were but you were still the cutest trick or treater!

We celebrated your 2nd Christmas!

Your 2nd birthday was a Frozen themed birthday party!

We went to the San Diego zoo multiple times but here's are some pictures from our most recent trip!

P.P.S You're also the coolest 2 year old I've ever met and I'm not just saying because I'm your mom!

Monday, October 20, 2014

How I met your mother--your daddy's version.

Dearest Chloe,

I can't believe it. It's already mid October of 2014. 10 more weeks until your second birthday and the year 2015, which is year I have looked forward to since I made the decision shortly after your birth to leave you with your grandmother, my mother.

You are now 21 months. You are definitely your own person. You have your own personality. You make it known what you like and what you don't like. You definitely don't like strangers. You love ice cream. And even if I only see you on the weekends (not counting Skype), you definitely know I'm your mom. You say "umma" and my heart breaks into a ten billion little pieces. It explodes with such pride, joy, and love. 

But because you've gotten so smart. You broke our deal. Remember in one of my old entries when I told you that it felt like we were always going on a first date.? Every weekend, I would have to convince that I'm your mom, you'd eventually believe me and come Sunday, we'd part ways. This was on repeat for perhaps the first 18 months of your life but now it seems like you really know who I am. You cry and scream out "umma" every time I leave. There are times I can't stand it and would rather wait for you to fall asleep than leave Irvine. I spend majority of time on the drive back to San Diego holding back tears and sometimes I just can't. I try to stay strong to not upset you or grandma. I put on a brave face, kiss you, hug you and just tell you how much I love you and I hope and pray that's enough. I know you're too young understand why somebody who's suppose to be your mom only sees you so intermittently. 

So here we are..its been about 600 days since my maternity leave ended. When you were about 6 months old and 4 months into this back and forth relationship, I realized we had 100 weeks left until mommy took boards and I would bring you down to San Diego permanently. We are in week 67. 33 more weeks. It was suppose to be 33 more first dates but it looks like you've realized that's not what it is and it's actually 33 more weeks of our long distance relationship. During my drive last night, I thought about this and felt compelled to blog to you. 

But I don't want to make this a sad post. So I thought since we're on the topic of first dates, here's the story your dad wrote about how he met me. He wrote this for our wedding website and he doesn't like to write so I treasure it quite a bit. So let's move away from the sadness and focus on moving forward. But every once in awhile, we got to visit to the past. So here it is.

"It was just a routine day as Chuck stepped out of the hospital and walked towards the Bachman parking lot. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a beautiful girl on the opposite side of the street. Chuck took a second look without the girl noticing and quickly entered the parking structure. For some reason, the image of that girl never left Chuck’s mind. Chuck thought it was silly and nothing better to take the stress away than a heavy workout. Little did Chuck know, that girl would appear on the Stairmaster across the room facing the bench press. So, to create a chance for conversation, Chuck worked out for an extra hour in hopes of running into her in the free weights section of the gym. It was Chuck’s lucky day, the girl got off the Stairmaster and headed toward the triceps machine. “Hey, didn’t I see you at the hospital earlier? I’m Chuck, one of the surgical interns.” The girl looked surprised and replied, “maybe, my name’s Geri, a 3rd year med student.” The rest of the conversation revolved around her horrific experience with a medicine resident. Chuck offered his number with the excuse of “call if you have any questions about clerkship,” an excuse in retrospect sounded extremely lame since what can a surgical intern offer in terms of help about a curriculum that he never experienced? To Chuck’s pleasant surprise he received a text that read “I think I’ll take you up on your offer :)” The first date seemed like a blur to Chuck because something about Geri made him lose track of time. Chuck knew this girl was different but he still had no idea of what’s to come. Almost immediately, Chuck and Geri became inseparable and to Chuck, Geri’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him. The rest of the story is history…"

So there it is. and here's something else I want to add. After 6 months of dating and pretending to be cool that there was not yet the "girlfriend" label, on October 11th 2010, exactly 4 years and 9 days ago, your father finally asked me to be his girlfriend. If I only I knew then that he would propose in no less than 5 months later and then we'd be married 3 moths after that. That was our whirlwind romance where when you know you just know. So today, I thought I would also share some pictures of your mom and dad--pre you and earlier into our training, in case you wonder why we look so much younger.

Our first Photo Booth photo. We became "official" boyfriend girlfriend later this day.

One of our date nights. 

no real significance to these photos. just your daddy being silly.

The proposal 03-13-11 (4 days before Match day!)

Match day 2011

Our engagement photos

Engagement photos part 2 fob style

Rehearsal dinner 06-17-11

Our wedding 06-18-11

So what do you think? Your mommy and daddy were once young and just a couple kids who fell in love. 

Lastly, don't you ever forget that life without you is now unimaginable. You were our biggest and most perfect surprise. Don't you ever forget it.

Love, mom

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What? Less than 11 months now!!

Dearest Chloe Bear,

It's been awhile since my last post. I told myself I would update this on a monthly basis but it's been a little hectic these past couple months. I'm going to be better because I think it will really be special for you to read this when you're all grown up.

So what have mom and dad been up to lately?

First of all, I was able to change the header of this blog! Woohoo! Mommy is now a third year radiology resident and your daddy is now a orthopedic chief resident! We're getting closer to being finished and hence, the title of today's entry! What? I can't believe it! You are now almost 19 months old and in less than 11 months, the day I've been looking forward to since you've been born is approaching.

First of all, I want to go into details about what you are up to in your life recently. You are becoming quite the talker. You have added some English to your vocabulary. Some recent words include baby, bye and hi! Some new Koreans words includes dark (you say ggam gaam), which you say when we turn off the lights, mung mung (for dog), bird, ball and po guh (which means it is po's, which you picked up from us saying that when you try to steal all of po's toys!). You are down to one nap a day. You sleep a great ten hours at night. You've always been a great sleeper! Here are some photos :)

You love making funny faces!

You went to baby bible camp with grandma and this is from your last day where you had your first stage experience! So sad I missed it. :(

I absolutely love it when you hold my hand!

We recently went to the beach! 

We are still going to gymboree classes!

You are becoming quite your own person. You are so smart. You definitely know what you want and definitely have no problem letting us know. You know that your daddy is the weakest link and when you want TV time or ice cream time, you approach him first. You have him even more wrapped around your finger it's ridiculous.

You had your first visit to San Diego since your last visit when you were only 6 weeks old! It was great. We're bringing you again this weekend and we're going to the zoo! I spent the past 3 months making your little girl room and it has made me so happy to set it up again.

On our way to San Diego!

First time in your San Diego little girl bed!

I remember distinctly coming back from maternity leave and the pain of taking down your crib.   I remember being OCD and buying things such as a bumbo seat and high chair while you were still inside mommy. I remember bringing these things to grandma's as you would need them as you got older. I felt as if the physical reminders that I had a daughter were disappearing one by one.

There is a hole in my heart for every moment I am not with you. The first year of your life was very difficult for me. Most people believe it's simply sleep deprivation when I mention just how hard it was in the beginning. It was so much more than that. It was the cause of sleep deprivation, which I find hard to explain due to the unique situation you and I are in. It was the overwhelming guilt that I felt that I was not fulfilling my duties as your mother.

It took me a very long time to truly believe that completing my residency and leaving you with grandma was ultimately the best choice for both you and me. As the days get closer to you being with me permanently and as I get a taste of life with you as your primary caregiver, I feel the hole getting slightly smaller. I believe rebuilding your room into a little girl's room was one baby step to making me feel complete again.

It was simply divine watching you sleep in your room. I would just stare at you as you napped and before I knew it, my eyes filled with tears. For the first time, I had tears of joy. I have spent a good amount of your life filled with tears of heartache, guilt and pain. But now, I am going to spend the rest of these less than eleven months with a different approach.

Thanks to your grandma and my mom, you have grown up into such a happy and healthy almost nineteen month old. You have surpassed all of my expectations and life without you is now unimaginable.

I try to think about what would have happened if I hadn't met your dad and how then there wouldn't be you and then there wouldn't be our family. I can't imagine it. Our family consumes my every thought and being your mom brings me the utmost happiness. I realized due to my guilt and my fears of letting you down, I have not allowed myself to enjoy the true joy of motherhood, which is simply being in love with being a mom.

I experienced this feeling during your weekend in San Diego. As I watched you sleep and through my tears, I had an epiphany! I, Geraldine Chang, am defined by being your mom and that makes me so incredibly happy. I am so honored to be your mom and I can't wait to watch you grow up.

I really can't wait baby bear! But there are some more important hurdles I need to get by first! I'm applying to fellowship currently and I'll hopefully find out where I'll (We'll) be going by October. Your daddy is going to Yale for spine surgery. I am so proud of him! We both need to take boards. I'll be taking mine in June and he'll be taking his in July. I already have 2 potential pre-schools lined up for you. My last year of residency is going to be great. I'm petrified and so excited at the same time!

I am going to be a "single" mom doing residency with a 2 and half year old. But patience is a virtue. I suck at it but I know in our case, patience has won. I couldn't be happier with the way you are growing up and residency is going well for both me and your dad.

We're getting there. You'll be here with me in less than 11 months! Daddy will be done with fellowship in 2 years. I promise you after that, we are never ever going to be separated!

I love you to the moon and back baby girl!!!

Love, mom