Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Whole Fish for Breakfast

[Previously posted on Kimchi Mamas.]

In my early 20s, I used to think it was important to marry a Korean. Not that I was particularly attracted to Korean men. I wasn't. And even though their incessant harping weighed down on me, it wasn't only because my parents wanted me to bring home a Korean boy with an advanced degree and the perfect Korean family.

Mainly, it was because I couldn't see how a non-Korean could fit into our family.

For decades, our family of five had lived as if we were stranded on an island. We had no relatives in the US. My parents had very few friends. We no longer attended church. The time they didn’t spend at our dry cleaners was passed snoozing in front of a TV. We didn't have family activities apart from eating. We hadn't taken a family vacation since the mid-80s.

In our relative isolation, we had our own way of doing things. On Thanksgiving, we didn't carve the turkey. After tearing off the drumsticks and the wings, my mom piled random chunks of the bird onto a dish. Once we shredded it further with our chopsticks, we chased turkey bites with kimchi and other banchan. For regular meals, we ate things like pressed pigs' ears, oxtails, and various roots that we couldn’t name in English. We often ate the same things day after day. We double dipped with our chopsticks. On birthdays or Christmas, we didn't always exchange gifts in nicely wrapped boxes. Sometimes, we forgot to celebrate each other's birthdays -- or put them off until the timing was more convenient.

There was also the language issue. My mom doesn’t speak English. When we sat down to dinner together, the children spoke English to each other. To our parents, we spoke Korean, the only language they spoke with each other. Often, we ate without speaking at all. Silences were particularly noticeable on the few occasions we ate out. I longed to have engaging conversations about politics and current affairs, books, anything -- rather than the often repeated "eat this, eat that, don't eat too quickly" that came out of our parents' mouths.

I didn't think of us as a normal family. At least not the kind that seemed to exist out there. I didn’t know how a stranger could fit into our fold. Much less a non-Korean stranger who didn’t have parents like mine. What would he think? How would he communicate with my mother? What would he think of our eating habits?

More than anything, I didn’t want an outsider entering our family and judging my parents the way “Americans” often seemed to. It was bad enough when a contractor turned to me for interpretation even when my dad was speaking English. Or when a white couple passed us as we were eating kimbap on one of our infrequent outings to a Long Island beach, and the lady stopped to point her finger at our lunch as she exclaimed, “Look, Bob, they’re eating sushi!” Or when our store customers slowed down their speaking, simplified their vocabulary, and increased the volume when speaking to my mom.

I can’t remember all the incidents that made me clench my teeth and cross my arms. All I remember is the feeling that our family’s small haven should be protected against outsiders who couldn’t possibly understand. Not that I thought of all outsiders as racists or malicious people. We just had different backgrounds, and I couldn’t imagine others understanding us in our own light, against our own backdrop of social and cultural norms, without processing us through the prism of American life.

Most of all, I think I was worried that if I introduced a “foreigner” into our home, I would see my parents more through his eyes. I already caught myself doing it when we dealt with store customers. When my mom spoke to a customer, her accent seemed unusually pronounced. And the three or four layers of shirts and sweaters she usually wore to keep warm appeared mismatched and shabby. Her hair needed touch up and her shoes needed cleaning. My dad’s emphatic English, usually articulated as if he were delivering the Gettysburg Address even during normal conversation, made him sound like a caricature at times. Sure, that’s how they appeared now that we lived in America, but the least I could do was protect them on our side of the threshold.

And I wanted my future husband to be able to see them as they really were. To be able to laugh with us when my mother ran out of the bathroom covering her nose at the stink of her own fart. Or to understand why my father so often repeated his stories about the time he had to give up his valedictorian position for that kid from a rich family. To understand that how they appeared here was a distortion of a kind.

In my late 20’s, I gave up this idea of meeting a Korean man. Maybe because I met more than my share, and I realized that I was scared of becoming that Korean daughter-in-law who cuts fruit symmetrically or plays the piano. Maybe because when I met a Korean-American guy who had an investment bank internship on his resume followed by Harvard and Wharton degrees, I saw a failure of imagination and originality rather than his hard work – something I feared in myself. But more than anything, it was probably because I was no longer living at home and I felt freer to live my life without trying to make everything fit into one big jigsaw puzzle.

When I first introduced Jeff to my parents, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He’s not Korean and doesn’t speak the language. The conversation was stilted at times, and my mom spent most of the lunch smiling and nodding along. At one point in the car, my mom reached forward, tapped him on the arm, and said, “Jeff, you learn Korean. I’m too old to learn English.” Jeff just smiled and nodded.

A few months later, we visited them for a few days in their Long Island home. After making fun of my second grade school picture, in which I bore a remarkable resemblance to the cartoon character Nancy, Jeff made himself at home. The following morning, he didn’t even flinch when my mom served him a whole fish for breakfast. And even though he hates fighting fish bones, he worked his way through the whole damn thing, telling my mom how delicious it was. And I was ready to give him a thousand kisses.

No one thinks about the love that comes with a whole fish prepared for breakfast. But I do. I thought about it when my mom asked me over the phone a few weeks later why I didn’t prepare some of that fish Jeff liked so much. I think about it when Jeff orders a cod fillet at our favorite Italian restaurant. When I see him make room for us – and for my parents – in our lives, as we plan for our future.

Nowadays, all the cultural hodge-podge that preoccupied me in my 20s no longer seems so confusing. And I am relieved that I wasn't foolish enough to try to force everything to fit together when I didn't know any better.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Professional Advice

Maybe I would have reacted differently if we hadn't watched Michael Moore's Sicko on Friday night.

On Saturday, I woke up bleeding. It was a very small amount. I looked it up in my Mayo Clinic guide, and it advised calling a doctor if the bleeding continued past 24 hours. Jeff and I decided not to worry about it unless it got worse. This past Thursday's ultrasound showed the little thing looking perfectly fine. And when I had some spotting two weeks ago, we rushed in for an ultrasound only to find out that all was ok.

On Sunday morning, I was bleeding again. I called my doctor's hotline and spoke to a triage nurse who asked me to call back if I started passing clots the size of a plum. I tried to rest, but when I used the restroom again, I appeared to be bleeding more. And this time, the blood looked fresh, as if I had some open wound somewhere, instead of the brownish color I had been seeing earlier. My first miscarriage started with a small streak of fresh blood in mid-afternoon. By 3am the following morning, I was dropping blood in buckets. I couldn't bear the thought of going through that process again -- sitting on the toilet, crying as my body purged itself, and feeling so out of control. I assumed that if I were already miscarrying, there was nothing the doctor could do. But she could at least help me cut the process short.

So I called the hotline again and spoke to another triage nurse. I explained that I was bleeding more, and I wanted to go in for an ultrasound. She asked me how much I was bleeding. I said that it wasn't very much but it now looked fresh, and I was concerned given my past two miscarriages at about the same stage in my pregnancy. She advised me against going into the emergency room since I was not bleeding enough. I asked her what harm it would do to just go in for a quick checkup to make sure the baby was ok.

She responded, "We have our protocol, and we don't advise you to go in unless you are filling more than one pad an hour or passing clots the size of plums." She advised me to lie in bed for the rest of the day.

I then asked her, "Do you know what is causing the bleeding? Can you tell me if this is normal?"

She responded, "No, Ma'am, we don't know the cause and we certainly wouldn't say it's normal."

I said, "Well, if you don't know what's causing the bleeding, then how do you know that bed rest would help?"

She simply repeated that that was the protocol.

I then explained that my first miscarriage started with a small amount of blood, and by that evening, I was miscarrying. Waiting until I was bleeding more to see a doctor didn't seem to make sense.

But she kept insisting that I rest in bed and not go to the emergency room.

I responded that I was going to go in and that I wasn't taking her advice. Then, she kept repeating, "Ma'am, that is not my advice. You would be going in against my advice."

I asked her what difference that made. Would going against her advice mean that insurance would refuse to cover my emergency visit? Would doctors refuse to see me?

She said, "No, maam, that's not what I'm saying. It's just our protocol, and I'm supposed to call ahead if we are sending someone."

I finally got fed up and said, "Well, I'm going in. Thank you for your help." Then I hung up.

When Jeff and I arrived at the CPMC emergeny room, there were two patients waiting. We waited for less than 20 minutes, and a nurse set us up in a room. She explained that the ultrasound in the emergency room wasn't very clear, but the doctor would be in shortly. When the doctor appeared in less than 15 minutes, he quickly performed an ultrasound. On the screen, the baby appeared alive and well, and we saw the little heart pumping away.

I asked the doctor if I needed to stay in bed for the rest of the day. He shook his head and said, "Don't lift anything heavy. Don't climb Mount Tam today. Otherwise, you're fine."

I could have spent the whole day lying in bed, fearful that I was miscarrying, reading everything on the web on bleeding during pregnancy, and counting the minutes until I could call my regular doctor on Monday morning. Instead, I spent the rest of the afternoon at my friend's baby shower, celebrating her new arrival. Sometimes, it helps not to listen to a professional.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I'm in my 12th week. The first one died on the first day of the 12th week. The second had already died at nine weeks and three days, even though we didn't know it until we went in for our CVS on week 12. So technically, this is the furthest I have come with any pregnancy.

Last week, we rushed into the hospital for an ultrasound after I had some spotting. Seeing just a spot of blood takes me back to that first night when everything gushed out, when I continued to drain in buckets until the D&C the next afternoon.

When we went in this past Monday, the doctor first tried to find the hearbeat with a doppler because the ultrasound room was in use. She slathered my belly with some jelly and pressed down the wand. She moved it around and around, and we silenced ourselves to hear the heartbeat. We heard static, irregular beat that abruptly ended, more white noise. After 30 seconds, she said, "This is torture. Let's move to the other room."

In the ultrasound room, the image popped up and much to our relief, we saw the little thing moving around, flashing its heartbeat. We were stunned by how big it looked. We had never seen the fetus past eight or nine weeks. Those had been the size of a nickle. This guy or gal looked the size of a hand, and we could see its legs kicking mid-air.

Walking down the street later that day, I passed a little girl carried by her mom. I realized that I had stopped imagining our fetus as a baby. I stopped thinking about the little outfits and the crib. I just focused on seeing its heartbeat from one ultrasound to the next. I had forgotten that it's supposed to grow into a little baby we would carry around like that mom on the street.

Tomorrow is my CVS. Despite everything that has happened, we are hopeful. Sometimes, hope can make you feel like a sucker. But we've been suckers before.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Visit

“Come back here.”

The guard motions with her wand. Her hair is pulled back so tightly that her face stretches like a taut balloon.

“Who, me?” I look around to see if she’s talking to someone else. I shrug at my friend Heather as I walk back out through the metal detector.

“Raise your arms,” she says and moves the wand up and down my back. No beep.

“Turn around.”

She scans my front. Mid-chest, the wand starts beeping. She waves across my chest again. “Under-wires?”


“You can’t wear that in there.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said you can’t wear that in there. You need to take it off.”

“But they let me in the last time.”

She glares. “I said… you can’t wear it in there.”

As I turn to look at Heather, the guard points her wand at her.

“You, come back here.”

“Me?” Heather asks.

“Um hmm,” the guard nods her head once, with her wrist on her hip, the wand sticking out to the side.

Once Heather approaches, the guard commands, “Take off your jacket.”

Heather gives me a what-the-fuck look. When she removes her black jacket, the guard moves her wand up and down Heather’s back and front and then zooms in mid-chest.

“You too?” she asks, lifting her left eyebrow.

Heather responds, “Well, yeah, but it’s the same bra I wore last time.”

“Well, you can’t wear that in there.”

“Are you serious?” Heather asks.

The guard just looks.

“Excuse me,” I interrupt. “We’re lawyers and we’re here to see our client. They’ve let us in before…”

The guard turns her eyes on me. “I said you can’t wear them in there.”

I look at Heather and say, “Should we take them off in the bathroom?”

“Yeah, let’s just take them off,” says Heather.

“You,” the guard says pointing at me, “can get away with it.” Turning to Heather, she says, “But not you.”

We both look down on our chests. And then at each others’.

“And you,” the guard continues, pointing her wand at Heather, “you need to get another shirt. No sleeveless tops allowed.”

We all look at Heather’s top.

“But I have a jacket I’m wearing on top of it,” Heather says.

The guard stares back. “I said no sleeveless tops.”

“So what are you saying, that I need to take off both the bra and the top?”

The guard smirks. “You can get another shirt at the Friendship House.”

“What’s the Friendship House?”

“At the end of the parking lot,” she says as she turns her back on us.

Heather and I look at each other, sigh, put our jackets and shoes back on, re-pack our purses, pick up our three-ring binders and redwelds, and retrieve all the forms we had submitted to the guard at the desk. We walk past the line of people who had been standing behind us in the queue and push past the double doors. Back out in the scorching heat, we trek across the parking lot.

“Maybe there’s something in my car,” Heather mumbles. We reach the car, and Heather unloads her Audi trunk. She pulls out the box of knick knacks, a black plastic container of tools, a grey blanket, a lawn chair, an umbrella, two frisbees, and a dodgeball. She rummages in the corner and emerges with a crumpled navy blue Speedo swimsuit.

“Awesome! My mom’s swimsuit!” she says. “I’ll wear this instead of the bra.”

“Ok… I hope it’s clean.”

She brings it to her nose and sniffs.

“What are you going to do about the sleeveless top?”

Our eyes veer across the parking lot. There’s a trailer about 30 meters away with a “Welcome” sign splashed across the front.

“Do you think that’s what she was talking about?”

We walk over and up the steps.

There’s an obese lady sitting behind a desk, knitting.

“Hi, is this the Friendship House?”

“Sure is.”

“Uhh, we need a shirt because I’m wearing a sleeveless top.”

“Over there,” the lady says, pointing her head toward to a box in the corner.

In the left corner of the trailer, there is a big cardboard box. We walk over and see a mound of shirts. Flannel, striped, paisleys, electric blue, hot pink. Heather digs into the pile and pulls out a bright yellow polo top. She holds it up against her torso.

“What do you think?”

The shirt is the color of McDonald’s golden arches. It runs down past her butt, almost half the length of her skirt. It is large enough to fit a football player. It is wrinkled and has a brown stain the size of a spatula.

“Works great.”

She runs into the bathroom and comes out with her new yellow top over her black pencil skirt, black pantyhose, and her black pumps. I can see the blue of her mom’s swimsuit through the sleeve large enough to be a collar. I then run into the bathroom, remove my bra, and dress back in my blouse and suit jacket.

We stop by the car to drop off our clothing. Then, we head back across the parking lot toward the prison and straighten our postures to present ourselves to the client.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Finding My Balance

I think I finally struck a decent balance between trying to make a living and working on my writing. My friends have been sending me contract work as well as cases to handle on my own. The contract work does not pay very much, although it is a generous sum for what I am doing (i.e., brainless work). On the other hand, the cases pay quite well. On an hourly basis, I'm making more than double what I was paid as an associate. At the same time, the clients are paying far less than what they would for the same time were I at a big law firm. We're all happy.

I limit my legal work to part time and spend the rest of it interviewing, writing, and attending classes. I used to feel guilty signing up for a $500 class at Berkeley Extension, but now, I can pay for it with what I earn. One hand feeds the other. It's perfect. I am also so grateful to have the flexibility. This pregnancy has seriously slowed me down, and I feel relieved that I can take breaks when I feel overwhelmingly exhausted or nauseous.

This week so far has been fascinating. Over the weekend, I had a chance to interview Bobby Seale, who founded the Black Panther Party with Huey Newton. I went out to his house right off of MLK Way in Oakland, and he let me ask him questions non-stop. At first, he seemed suspicious and didn't make much eye contact. Within 30 minutes of the interview, he was up and about, gesticulating, re-enacting some of his memorable moments, and nudging me when he was making important points. What a charismatic man. An hour and a half later, I walked out with three books on the Black Panther Party.

Yesterday, I met with Yul Kwon, who won Survivor: Cook Island in 2006. A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed him briefly for an article I was doing for KoreAm on an anthology of Asian American superheroes called Secret Identities (coming out in April). I thought it would be fun to talk to him more to find out what he's been up to since the show and blog about it on Kimchi Mamas. We met at Red Mango, a frozen yogurt franchise that he has invested in with two of his friends. He now has four stores in the Bay Area. We talked about his current life (he's getting married next month, and has been active in many non-profits and political events), parental expectations (his parents were mortified when he decided to do Survivor. His dad said, "What have I done to you? Why are you embarrassing the family?"), and what he's done with the prize money (not much. He hasn't bought himself anything except a car with over 100K miles on it. The most expensive thing he has bought since is the engagement ring).

I feel that every time I interview someone, I learn so much. On the whole, they have been so thoughtful about what they are doing with their lives, how they are spending their time, what kind of an impact they want to make. Talking to them takes me out of my way of thinking - and makes me question a lot of the assumptions I have come to accept as the norm. I have a lot of crusty beliefs to flake off.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Luke Song

Here's a fun little article I did on Luke Song, the creator of Aretha Franklin's Inauguration hat. His life is a great lesson for following your passions. Who thinks milliners run multi-million dollar businesses? But that's exactly what he does, and he loves it. His advice: "I really think you should do what you love, and not listen to others say that's not a respectable position. You'll do well in what you love."

According to the latest NY Times article, his hat is landing in the Smithsonian. Not too shabby, huh?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

For Shame

So, Paul Hastings announced some layoffs earlier this week. This time around, they are calling them "layoffs" instead of pretending that they are performance-based terminations. I also understand from associates in the firm that they are no longer requesting that laid-off attorneys sign non-disclosure agreements. Also, the management is going out of its way to assure the employees that the layoff is based not on performance, but on the economy.

Even as recently as last month, Paul Hastings was claiming that its layoff of 15% of the associates in the Atlanta office was somehow based on job performance even though the firm had not yet conducted any performance reviews. It was also apparently trying to keep its stealth layoffs in LA and Shanghai under the radar.

From the way Paul Hastings partners have been trolling the comment section on Above the Law to write in asinine defense of the firm, they apparently do care about their public image. I've heard from friends who still work there that after my email was posted on Above the Law, partners pleaded with associates to post positive comments about the firm on the site. I've also heard that the head management begged associates not to make negative comments about the firm on blogs. It's all rather pathetic.

Apparently, some companies have to be shamed into doing the right thing. We could all have saved ourselves a lot of time and bad PR if they had the brains to figure out the meaning of decency on their own.

PS - As one of the readers pointed out, Paul Hastings is admitting to their layoffs only because Latham already announced theirs. Of course. They aren't motivated by shame. They are - and will be - industry followers to their dying day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Ultrasound

We slowly drive up through the familiar narrow tunnels, being careful not to run into the pillars flanking our sides. I scour left and right, looking for an empty spot. Nothing on floor 3. Nothing on floor 4. Nothing on floor 5. Nothing on floor 6. We finally find ourselves on the top floor, with not one empty space in sight. As as we are about to voice our irritation, I notice a woman sitting behind the steering wheel of a Mazda. I hop out and approach, signaling with my hands and mouthing in exaggerated fashion, "Are you leaving?" She smiles and nods yes. We pull into the last empty space in the entire garage and make our way down the stairs.

We step out onto the sidewalk briefly before walking into the familiar building.

"We're here so often," I say to Jeff.

I can't believe we are back so soon -- just four months after my last miscarriage, with me already two months into my pregnancy. My third pregnancy in one year.

We ride up the elevator and into the reception area where we greet the receptionist by name. She smiles at us, and I remember the last visit when I sat on the same couch and cried silently with my head down in my chest as two obviously pregnant ladies chattered about their due dates and nursery room decorations.

We are soon in the examination room. Our doctor bounces in, and we no longer notice the lap top she always carries in the crook of her arm.

"How are you feeling?" she asks.

"I'm nauseous and exhausted ALL THE TIME. All I want to do is sleep."

"All right!" she cheers.

She props me up and prepares for the ultrasound. As she moves the wand, my eyes are fixed on the little screen. It is probably no more than a few seconds, but they seem to stretch into infinity. I stare and keep staring at the screen. All I see is a dark hole. Yes, there is the uterus, but... I'm afraid to ask. I just look at the screen, afraid to see the doctor's reaction, Jeff's.

I don't want to think of the last ultrasound when we stared so expectantly. While we obliviously chatted with the nurse about the state of the art ultrasound that could accurately measure the translucent space in the tissue at the back of the baby's neck, she kept rubbing the pad over my belly, pressing down more and more urgently. Abruptly, she removed the pad said, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't see a heartbeat." And we sat there, stunned, not knowing what to say.

This time, I am ready, for whatever the news may be. As I decide it would be ok, no matter what, a faint image appears. A little blob on the empty space.

"There's the heartbeat," the doctor says. She points to a speck less than half the size of the space in the letter "o" on this page. It blinks, and I remind myself that we saw them the last two times. But despite myself, relief sets in.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


A couple of days after I was laid off, I met with a couple of friends for lunch. They showed up in their business casual attire, and me in my camouflage pants, a black knit top, and fleece. I felt like a college kid having lunch with grown-ups. We slurped our Vietnamese noodles, chatting about this and that, as they periodically checked their blackberries. After our one hour lunch, they rushed back to their offices. I walked back with one of them a few blocks, and then when she left me, I found myself wandering through the streets, feeling incredibly sorry for myself. I saw the homeless people on the streets, and even though I was nowhere close to being homeless, I identified with them. I saw myself in them -- aimless and purposeless. I wondered what the hell had happened to be. Just a week before, I had been working a very well paid job and expecting my first baby. And all of a sudden, I found myself roaming the streets with nowhere to go.

And I thought of how easily things can slip from your grasp. I could be working in a law firm one day and easily at a McDonald's the next. I could have a hefty sum of savings, only to have it melt away in a sudden monetary crisis. My reputation could be ruined over night from one careless act or decision. It could all easily slip away, as easily as one could slip off of a crowded subway platform on a rainy day.

And that is why I always made a point to stand behind one of the pillars.

Now over ten months later, I wonder why I wasted so much time and energy clinging onto that damn pillar.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Layoff Coverage

Earlier this week, I was contacted by a freelance writer working on an article for the Associated Press. I declined to speak to her because I thought the media was focusing too much on how employees are reacting to layoffs instead of highlighting the unethical manners in which companies are handling layoffs. I asked her to focus on what the companies are doing, and she responded that she would be "happy to talk...about that as well." Well, sure enough, the article comes out and it's only about employees and their departure emails. Good thing I declined to speak to her.

[If you want to read a decent and intelligent article that the New York Times did on layoffs, check out this article. I had to email the guy and thank him.]

Here's the email exchange I had with the AP writer:

On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 10:46 AM, Kelly DiNardo wrote:

I'm a freelance writer working on a story about departure e-mails for the
Associated Press. I was hoping to have a quick phone chat with you about the
one you sent out and that then traveled through the blogosphere. Would you
give me a ring at your earliest convenience -- [phone number deleted] -- or let me
know the best way to reach you?


Kelly DiNardo
Freelance Writer

On Mar 4, 2009, at 1:59 PM, Shinyung Oh wrote:

Hi, Kelly,

Thanks for the request, but I think the media should focus on
unethical practices corporations and law firms are engaged in when
laying off their employees. Thanks.



I'm happy to talk to you about that as well. Would you give me a call?



Tuesday, March 3, 2009


"This week your baby is becoming distinctly human in shape, looking less like a tadpole and more like a person."

During the past twelve months, I have read this sentence dozens of times. It is the first sentence of Chapter 3 of the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, entitled "month 3: weeks 9 to 12." I read it when I was supposed to be in Chapters 1 and 2, "weeks 1 to 4" and "weeks 5 to 8," peeking ahead to see how the little creature would transform. I also read it each time my calendar indicated that I was entering Week 9... as well as almost every night during the remaining six days of Week 9.

At this stage, the baby is "almost 1 inch long and weighs a bit less than 1/8 of an ounce." The paragraph tells me that the "embryonic tail at the bottom of your baby's spinal cord is shrinking and disappearing, and the face is more round." I scrutinize the drawing next to those words. It is a funny shaped thing. There is a strange, reptilian tail protruding out of its back. The head is large and bulbous. The rounded neck give it the appearance of an alien, and the pot belly is incongruous with its tiny but defined arms, hands, legs, and feet.

I have touched the figure drawn in the "Actual size" box to try to imagine it inside of me. I have shoved the picture in front of Jeff as he lay in bed reading some history or technical book, and watched him stare at it in fascination that it looks the way it does and that such a thing was actually there - with us in bed.

Between chapters 3 and 4, there is a place holder. I have peeked ahead a few times, like the picture in Week 17, where the page cannot afford space for an "Actual size" drawing, only a 50% reduction. But the pages in the later chapters are not nearly as worn. The first three chapters belong in a used book srore, and the following seven, at Border's.

Many chapters forward, there are other sections I am more familiar with, like the one entitled "trying again after a pregnancy loss." The section on "pregnancy loss" in the chapter on "Problems during pregnancy" is cracked at the spine, where I bent it over the xerox machine to make copies for my parents after my first miscarriage. After both miscarriages, I read those sections over and over again, as if they should explain more than the words provided, as if they answered questions that could not be answered.

This week, I find myself impatient. To rush through the remainder of Week 9 and then skip and hop over Weeks 10, 11, and 12. Another month feels unreasonably long, unnecessarily tormenting. Haven't I earned my way to Chapter 4 already?