Koi maan luuk (or, “I am pregnant”)

Koi maan luuk was the first Lao phrase I learned in the new year, and you would have already known this piece of news for at least a month if you lived in Laos. You would know this because you would be the deceptively reserved-looking Vietnamese woman who runs our favourite grocery store and you would ask me the first time you saw me after I’d been away for Christmas: “So, any news to tell me? Any news about a baby?” And I would look totally stunned at being accosted with this query over a basket full of milk and pasta, and then shrug and tell you.

Or you would be Mike’s work colleagues offering me glasses of beer at an event – and there is apparently only one acceptable reason to turn down beer in this country. So I would shrug and tell you.

Or you would be some stranger meeting us for the first time and right after you ask us how long we’ve been married you’d ask us whether we have kids. And, then, when we answered “no”, you’d look worried and ask us whether we will have them? Whether we are, in fact, even trying? So I would shrug and tell you.

Apparently there’s none of this “waiting until three months” thing here, pretty much the minute you find out you’re pregnant, it becomes public knowledge.

I find this practice both refreshing and confronting. Refreshing because you then have a damn good explanation for why you’re always wandering around looking like you might throw up at any moment. And why you’re so wiped out sometimes that you can’t get up off the couch and go out with work colleagues. And, let’s not forget, why you can’t drink beer or homemade whisky.

But it’s also confronting to have this big life event out there as fodder for the communal discussion mill. Everyone’s so happy for you when they hear. They smile really big and say they’re thrilled, and that you must be, too. Often in those moments I wonder whether I look thrilled. I doubt it. I probably look confused, which is fair enough, really, because what I’m thinking is usually some combination of all of the following at once:

  • Oh that’s right, I’m pregnant. I momentarily forgot.
  • Yes, I’m happy
  • No, I’m terrified
  • Actually, I’m hungry
  • Is it too late to push the reset button?
  • Oh, wait, maybe I have to throw up. Yes, I certainly am pregnant.
  • Yes, I am happy. Yeah. Happy.
  • No, I’m terrified…

And so it goes.

I’m not terrified about whether or not I’ll be a good mother. Even though I’ve never really been a kid-person, I reckon I’ll be pretty good as a mother at least 80% of the time. Even if I’m not, Mike’s going to be a great dad, so the baby’s covered. No, true to form, I’m worried about me. I like my life right now. I like my marriage. And I’ve heard babies described as “hand grenades” in relation to both those institutions.

Oh well, I have nine months… scratch that, six months now… to get used to the fact that this particular hand grenade is coming. And that I have to give birth to it.

Gosh, I wish babies came out the size of hand grenades (healthy, of course). I mean, don’t you think koalas have it all over most other mammals in this area? Baby koalas slide on out of the womb when they’re about the size of a jellybean and (pink, hairless, blind, and without ears) nonetheless manage to crawl unaided up their mother’s stomach and squirm into that warm, furry pouch. Then they just hang out there for six months drinking milk until they grow eyes and ears and stop looking so much like a maggot. That’s so the way to do this birth thing. Plus, I bet koalas don’t get morning sick.

Morning sickness… don’t get me started. Next week I might tell you all about how Mike and I found out that I was maan luuk ourselves, and if you’re really lucky I won’t tell you about morning sickness (or, as it should really be called, all-day sickness).

Until then I leave you with a photo and a grandparent-anecdote. After I posted about playing with monkeys last week, my grandfather (who got an iPad and his first ever email account for Christmas) sent me the following…

Hi Lisa,

It’s only me trying to learn to type. If anyone told you that an iPad was easy to learn, especially an 86 year old, don’t you believe them. I am finding it hard to find the letters as they are not in alphabetical order.

We have just been viewing your letter on the monkey visit. What good practice for you. He looks cute, but I think you may be able to do better than that.

Love, Pa.

We’ll see about that, Pa. We’ll see.

81 responses to “Koi maan luuk (or, “I am pregnant”)

  1. Congratulations!!!!! 😀

  2. Yay! I’ll just start chanting this to you now: “It’s aaalllll gonna be OK. It’s aaalllll gonna be OK.” Hugs to you and Mike!

  3. What wonderful news ! Congratulations – I am quite sure there is no “reset” button so would be best to just go with it now.

  4. big congrats! that’s so exciting! pass on my congratulations to Mike as well!

    • Hey Bec, I tried to leave a comment on your blog re truffles (yum) but got an open source error for some reason. Just mentioning it here in case others tell you the same thing and you can investigate. And thanks for the congrats!

  5. With you and Mike as his/her parents, your first child will be blessed with a great genetic code to live up to.

  6. So happy for you but understand your concerns! But you know so many of us go back for more of the same sickness, worry, pain, disruption so it will be manageable for the most part 😉

    Congratulations again to you both xo

  7. ha ha, yay!! well you already have a metal saw in your life; why not a grenade, right? 🙂

  8. Congratulations Lisa and Mike!!! Happy, busy, crazy, draining, exhilarating days and years ahead! You’ve lived through natural disasters and man-made wars–you’ll not only survive this, you’ll have even more great stories!

    • When you put it that way it sounds somewhat more… interesting. Just kidding, we’re stoked. I’m sure it will be plenty interesting. And, you’re right. Plenty of stories.

  9. Lisa–congratulations to you and Mike! It does change your life forever, but in the best way possible. I was sick as a dog with both kids–crazy sick with Sammy. I hear you on the all day sickness, mine was worse at night and I would go to bed at 7:00pm! I told everybody as soon as I knew. The way I figure it, if something happened during the beginning of my pregnancy, I would want the prayers, help and support of everyone I know! Prayers to you and baby and God bless your family in this exciting time!

  10. Loved this post- thanks for sharing your very exciting news! And I am all in agreement with your koala theory. I feel so much bigger second time around and i am not even half way there… can’t imagine the size I will end up! Hope the sickness improves shortly.

    • Thanks Elisa. Yeah, I’ve heard you pop a lots faster the second time around. Someone told me their pants were tight before they even knew they were pregnant with number two!! Hope you’re feeling well and PhD is moving forward.

  11. Wow. The start of a brand new adventure. One that is simultaneously exhilerating, frustrating, TIRING and heart-achingly, mind-stretchingly foreign. Kind of like- am I going to throw up? Or am I hungry? I think I’m going to throw up. No, I’m definitely hungry. Like so many of life’s conundrums, you’ll soon find out which it is. All the best for the pregnancy and birth and growth of your new family.

  12. Ahhh! Congrats, Lisa! (And Mike too!) Hoping the all-day sickness eventually goes away for you. Sooner rather than later, of course.

  13. Woo hoo! I’m thrilled for you both!
    Yes, it’s life-altering, yes it’s scary, yes it’s difficult.
    But children are SUCH a blessing!!! Congratulations….for two people so used to adventure, this new adventure of a baby will be AWESOME. 🙂
    (Oh, and I found that “sea bands” – the acupressure wrist bands with a bead that presses on a certain spot on your wrist and are used for sea sickness – helped a bit with the “all-day-sickness”)

    • Thanks Sharon. I’ll keep my eyes out for them. I doubt we’ll find them here but maybe in Bangkok in five weeks. Then again hopefully I won’t need them in five weeks! Hope you’re feeling well.

  14. Hurray, Hurray, Hurray, So excited foryou guys! Love you.

  15. Loved your post — excited about your news — loved the pic!!

  16. Eeee! Wonderful news!!!! Congrats!

  17. Wonderful, exciting, amazing news Lisa! (and yes papa Mike)!!!:)
    Understandably all of the above emotions noted run through one’s stream of consciousness. Like to share it with my nephew and his expecting wife.
    Rest when you can, hope the sea bands do the trick…and keep us posted.
    Your family must be ‘over the moon”! Blessings and hugs to all of you.
    It is thee perfect excuse to turn down a beer or whiskey as you indicated!
    All the best.

  18. That’s wonderful news Lisa and Mike! Congratulations. We also have 2 babies expected, both in early July. Jeremy and Elise will be in London (google Cloud Control if you’d like to find out why). For Anthony and Amanda, this will be a younger sibling to 2 year old Ivy. Blessings to you both (oops, to all 3 of you – assuming no multiple babies!) Carolyn and Alan

    • Wow, that’s pretty exciting for Jeremy and everyone else in the fam, I’m guessing. Good on them! T’is the season of babies it seems. Half the people I know seem to be pregnant or have just had one! Hope you guys are well.

  19. Precious Lisa!

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Praise God! Well, as an “old” mom of and 18 yr old and nearly 16 year old sons, I can assuredly testify that children are great and wonderful blessings from the Lord! God uses them to humble us, teach us more about gratitude and how much we need Him for everything. 🙂

    Train them up faithfully with the word of God and not with the word or ways of this world, and purchase some great knee pads, b/c that’s where you’ll spend most of your time…and that’s a good thing. It’s only when we humble ourselves before the Lord that we really learn to stand. 🙂

    Love you, bless you, praying for you,

  20. Nienke van der Zwan

    Hi Mike and Lisa,

    What a great blog; well describe mixture of feelings, which I recognize very well. For me, having a baby / being a mother, wife, carreer woman, friend etc. etc. the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ fluctuate more and are higher and lower as before Niel was around. Although the ups win from the downs.

    Congratulations on the big news and best wishes to the time ahead!
    Remco and Nienke (met Mike in PNG)

    • Ah, yes, higher and lower ups and downs. Sounds like something I’ve said before about life before and after Mike. Luckily that part about the ups winning from the downs also rings very true! Thanks for the congrats.

  21. Hi Lis and Mike
    Congrats. That’s wonderful news. We’re totally thrilled for you. A baby is such a life changing blessing. Amidst all the sleep deprivation and haze of the early years, there is such joy in marveling at things like toothless smiles, little hands and feet and having this small person falling asleep in your arms. We’re so excited for you. We hope the nausea passes and look forward to hearing more about how you’re going.
    Love Huong

    • Thanks Huong – yeah, it’s big news, and big changes coming down the horizon. I remember when you were pregnant with number 1 and how much fun that was to be a spectator to your life changing like that (I guess I felt I got to watch and learn without having too much skin in the game. There’s skin in the game now though… just this week I’m starting to have trouble fitting into my regular pants. Hope all of you are well. Pass my love along to Dave as well. Hugs, Lis

  22. Hi Lisa,
    Congratulations, how exciting. A hand grenade – a very apt description, but worth it all the while.
    With love
    Kirsty(Pithford) and family

    • You would know on the worthwhile front! I do hope you and all the family are going very well. Lovely to hear from you and pass my greetings along to the others. Hugs, Lisa

  23. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHOOOOOOO that’s is such great news!
    Unlike many other followrs of your blog I have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant. And to be completely honoust it doens’t sound that appealing …
    But let’s just say no masterpiece has been developed in a day. Congrats to you both and please give Mike a big fat hug from me 🙂

    • That is a good point about masterpieces – though, just to be totally pedantic, I bet SOME masterpieces (be they few and far between) have been developed in a day. Surely??? I will give Mike a huge, big, fat, hug. I hope you’re really well and loving life.

  24. Congrats Lisa! You’ll be a great mom. You don’t want to be a marsupial. Keeping a pouch clean sounds like a hassle to me.

    • Oh, Andy, Andy. We live in Asia. We can hire people to keep a pouch clean. Problem solved :). I hope you’re going well by the way. I often wonder how you guys are. I particularly hope Becky’s feeling well as you all wait for the arrival of the new little boy.

  25. Congratulations, Lisa!

    I’m excited for you and Mike.

  26. When I was pregnant with Andrew I waited until I was 12 weeks to tell my family and until I knew the gender(19 weeks) to tell everyone else . I didn’t know how to tell anyone because I didn’t know what to think of it myself. And furthermore, me feeling gross didn’t exactly help the excitement level. I experienced a completely odd set of emotions.

    But then he arrived. All tiny and larger than life. I’m his absolute favorite person. And it’s not because I’m awesome. He just likes me best just because I’m the Mama. It’s not bad feeling, it’s not bad at all.

    On a different note, I found some great vitamins that don’t add to the nausea situation and a few things that worked to help me tame the feeling gross ALL OF THE TIME tiger. (Morning sickness… what an understatement.) Just zip me an email if you’re interested to know what worked for me.

    Congrats guys. I can’t wait until you get to experience the joy of a first thing in the morning baby smile. They’re so great. No matter how I feel about the world, in that moment, I can’t not smile back.

    • Yeah, odd set of emotions! I totally GET that. I think I need to do a whole post on pregnancy ambivalence. Mike it totally baffled by this concept, by the way. Yeah, I’ll add it to the list of pregnancy related blog topics. As for nausea… today we hit week 13 and for the first time in a long time I haven’t been nauseous yet today. Here’s hoping it stays that way. Otherwise I’ll be dropping you that email. And, PS, by the way, his face IS adorable.

  27. Yay! Best news ever. Sending anti-nausea thoughts your way…


  28. First off – a big, HUGE, ginormous fantastic, phenomenal CONGRATULATIONS to you both!! Holy WOW. You are jumping into what I consider takes the bravest of people to take on this lifetime responsibility of parenthood so you also have my upost respect. I can only imagine how scarily smart your little grenade will be and she couldn’t ask for more dynamite parents. Oh the adventures ya’ll will have! Secondly, speaking as one of those smart(ass) hand grenades I can tell you that it won’t be easy raising one so you have my sympathies as well. At the ripe age of 30 I still give my parents cause to fall on their well-worn kneepads in desperate prayer – although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it just a little bit. 🙂 My dad uses the word “strong-willed” alot in reference to me and my mum has said if I were the 1st born I woulnd’t have had a sibling. I am assured however – and your other readers agree I see – that us kids are well worth the effort. Please know that both of you will be in my prayers, especially for your health and wellbeing. And while we all wait patiently for photos of the miniature Wolfey-McKay, please do post more photos of the little monkey!!

    • Thank you!!! Prayers always welcome, indeed coveted! As for being a strong willed child. Ha! You too, huh? My parents said they read every book on strong willed children when I was born and none of the techniques worked that well. My mother, when we were there at Christmas, said with an unholy gleam in here eyes that she hopes we get a child just like I was. I don’t think she meant it as a gentle blessing, either! So, while we all wait for photos of the little bub, I will do my best to get some more monkey photos for you :).

  29. Great news! How apt that you would remember babies being called “hand grenades.” In a manner of speaking, I agree. I was introduced to my “hand grenade” almost twenty-five years ago. Since then, she has brought so much newness into my life, and so much joy! My best wishes to you on this new journey!

    • Thanks! Yes, I’m certainly looking forward to the love expanding part of parenthood, and trusting that that will indeed come. I hope you’re having a good weekend.

  30. Congratulations to you and Mike!
    Pregnancy is such a hopeful (crazy, scary, overwhelming) time. Live it up, without the alcohol, and sleep all you can!
    Best wishes to you both.

    • Thanks Rachel! Right up until week eight (when I started feeling sick, I missed that glass of wine. Then, overnight, I went right off coffee and no longer wanted any alcohol. Perhaps there is something to this whole “feeling sick keeps you away from toxins” thing??

  31. awww, congratulations. Having just gone through this last year and now holding my two month old son…. it’s quite the journey. It has high highs and low lows, but it’s an adventure, and isn’t that what life is all about? Don’t worry, though, you’ll still be you. You will add to your identity the role of a mother, and you will change with it, but you’ll still be Lisa. That’s something that got me too, the fear of the loss of my identity… which I was quite happy with before becoming pregnant.

    • Thanks so much Kacie. And, yes, the adventure. This sure is a big one. Great to hear you feel that you’ve changed, but not at your core – and that your identity has just grown and expanded to accommodate the new love in your life!

  32. Congratulations to you both! I am very excited for you! Isn’t it interesting that your pregnancy news got you more than 50 comments? I think that must be a record. That in itself shows you how significant a first pregnancy is! Blessings and joy to you both. I never suffered from morning sickness. I read that little protein-rich meals helped rather than ‘3 square meals’ so perhaps you could try that, In any case I hope it passes soon!

    • Yes, the blog set record views on the day I posted the news by quite a margin too. It IS fascinating. Perhaps it shows that as far apart as we all are, when we feel relationally connected to someone we’re still, at our core, very interested in the significant and transitional building blocks of their lives that we can all relate too – births, deaths, etc. Thanks for the best wishes – I can attest to the small and frequent meal thing helping!

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  34. Chandra Shoop Burkholder

    Congrats!! I will be praying that everything goes well. I had good pregnencies w/ both Blake & Olivia. In fact, after the sickness left me w/ O, I loved being pregnant. I didn’t have any sickness w/ Blake & we didn’t figure out I was pregnant until a few months into it. Please tell Mike that I said congratulations.

  35. Such great news! I promise you, the adventures of life thus far will pale compared to the adventure of raising a person. Doesn’t mean you won’t want to escape on more “normal” adventures, you know, when the “person” is driving you crazy. It’s gonna be great. I promise! xo

    • Thanks Lisa. I love it when you post about your tribe. You guys are a special family. I was thinking of you and our time in Tanzania just today actually for some reason and hoping you’re going well. How’s the adventure of the book release gone? How do you feel about it all now? Wish I could join you for a cup of tea and watch the moon rise.

  36. So happy and excited for you guys. Yes, children change your lives, but like my mother in law told me after we had our son, “it is as if you have lived your lives in black and white til that moment and all of a sudden you see everything in color. Like in wizard of oz!” Love and gentle hugs to you! !!

  37. Lisa and Mike. Even though we are bit slow on the uptake that is great news. We are so pleased for you both and look forward to more good news in the 6 months to come. Our little girl turned 1 today if that’s any indication the next 6 months will fly by. Hope the morning sickness finishes up soon. Would love to be there to congratulate you both in person. Mike and Rach.

    • Yes, hanging out in person would be lovely. Alas. You live in a place almost as inaccessible as the one we live in :). I saw your blog post the other day – you guys are in my google reader. And I smiled at the photos and laughed at the text. She sounds like a firebrand all right. I’m so glad you guys are doing well. Thanks for the congrats.

  38. Jao teu phar… dee jai num der!!!

    Sok Dee..!!

  39. Lisa!!!! WOW…a little late coming in here but…CONGRATS in a major way! I am thrilled to hear/read of your pregnancy – and can only imagine what a fun life you will have once your little one has made his/her presence known to the world!

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