Here we go!

Okay folks, M’s getting some pretty regular contractions, so we’re heading off to the hospital. I might have overpacked. Might be a false alarm, but rest assured I’ll do my best to live-tweet and blog whatever the heck it is.

Thanks for all your support!


Any Day Now

Well, the kid’s due date has come and gone. Marilyn’s getting some signs of early labor, but nothing regular. At this point, we’re just waiting from day to day to see when he decides to take the plunge. Keeping my batteries charged. We’ll let you know if things pick up.

End in Sight

Ok, let's do this. #bradleymethod #week33

A post shared by Josh Ong (@beijingdou) on

So we’ve been back in the US of A for a little over a month now. To be completely honest, time has moved rather slowly as we’ve been transitioning. In between getting situated with work, Marilyn and I have been traveling back and forth between our parents’ houses to get time with both families. Lots of visitors have been coming through to see my parents, so we’ve enjoyed catching up with relatives and family friends, even if under sobering circumstances.

I’d set the month of April as a mental marker for baby’s arrival since M’s due date is the 30th. All that stuff I’ve been putting off is now going to have to get done. My mind still threatens to explode when I think about the fact that I’m about to be a father, but we’re just going to have to roll with it.

We started taking birth classes a few weeks ago, and that’s really helped us wrap our minds around what we’re about to go through. Marilyn went with the Bradley Method, aka Husband-Coached Childbirth. Any illusions I’d had about shirking any responsibility during labor are gone, as I’m now on the hook for helping baby get born. M seems quite happy with the setup. By way of recommendation, our instructor, Renea Capozzi Cotto, has been hugely helpful.

If I’m not too busy coaching, I’m hoping to live tweet/instagram the birth process, though I’ll try and keep it fairly PG. Watched a very un-PG birth video the other day and it was intense. If I’m able to have a computer open, I’ll also drop updates here, though you’ll have to forgive me if I end up doing a recap.

Goodbye, Beijing

So @beijingbean wanted to take our unborn child up on the Wall.

A post shared by Josh Ong (@beijingdou) on

A bit of news: Marilyn and I are leaving Beijing this Saturday. Our departure has come unexpectedly as we had planned to have the baby here (and stay here indefinitely), but a family situation back in California has called us home.

We’re quite sad to be leaving this city, (notwithstanding its toxic air, water and food) and we do hope to return.

We arrived in Beijing in 2008, just a couple months before the Olympics. We witnessed the city’s final sprint to the Games, the resulting letdown that fall once the world moved on from Beijing, and then the financial crisis.

Maybe I’m just a late bloomer, but it definitely feels like I finally grew up into a responsible adult in Beijing. A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re headed home with a baby on the way.

Speaking of which, I’m still planning on being a daddy blogger. I’ll have to decide whether to change all my @beijingdou usernames across Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, etc. To be completely honest, I’ve wondered whether my hesitation to leave Beijing was because I was already invested in those handles.

If you’re wondering about work, I’ll still be writing for The Next Web, just based in LA. I’m hoping to continue to keep an eye on developments in China and Asia, so feel free to keep pitching me stories. And, please drop me a line if you’re involved with a startup or tech company in southern California.

As we did in Beijing, Marilyn and I will jump right into eating our way through LA’s deliciousness. We haven’t settled yet on where we’ll write about it, but I’m sure you’ll see plenty of it on Instagram. M’s got some calm before the storm that is a baby arrives, so we’ll keep you posted if she decides to start a new site.

Beijing friends, you have helped make the past 4+ years a joyful time and an exciting adventure. We’ll miss you all dearly. I’ll hope to see you in the future, and sooner than the distant future envisioned by Tupac:

A Quick Update

Baby’s progressing along nicely. Marilyn had a doctor’s appointment earlier this week and everything seems to be normal. We’re still waiting on the results of her fasting glucose test, as she’s being checked for a possible gestational diabetes. I’m not sure what that really entails, but we’re told that it’s quite common among Asians.

M’s been having a blissful second trimester so far. She keeps leaning over to me and telling me how much she loves being pregnant and how she wants to be pregnant forever. Weird stuff. I’m totally going to remind her what she said when she hits the third trimester and has trouble sleeping.

By the way, you should definitely get the Snoogle pillow (affiliate link just because I can) if you’re pregnant. I might even start using it for my own belly (which is apparently the equivalent of 5 months along, as M passed me up a few weeks ago).

I’ll have to wait until we move and get a bigger bed, though, as I don’t think we could fit two Snoogles onto our current one. On that note, goodnight.

A Beijing International Christmas (Rough EP)

Marilyn and I have kept ourselves busy this winter. In addition to the writers’ group collection, we’ve also been working on an ad hoc Christmas album. I don’t have digital licensing for the modern tracks on the disc, but here’s a short EP with a few of the songs in the public domain. You should know that it’s quite rough, no pitch correction here, so apologies for any accidental warbles.


A Child For Us

The following post is an excerpt from Unblocked: Winter Is Coming…to Town, the first collection from Writers’ Block B, the writers’ group I lead in Beijing. We’ll be releasing the collection tonight at Ahava Bistro + Cafe from 6-9pm.

Credit: Bethany Eden

Credit: Bethany Eden

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – the prophet Isaiah (h/t King James)

“I’m pregnant.”

Two words that change everything. It’s an all too common trope in movies and TV shows, and, to be completely honest, I never quite grasped the impact. It always seemed a bit forced. The zooming away, the strained instrumentals, the closeup on the man’s face as the world falls away around him and he is hit with the stark realization that he is going to be a father. It never made sense – until recently.

In all other respects, it was an uneventful Sunday morning in August. There’s something ignominious and anti-climactic about the fact that today’s women pee on a stick to find out that they’re about to bring a new life into this world. The pink and white plastic heralded our fates (no trumpets or angelic voices here), and it was so. We’re having a baby.

In junior high, we used to call it the miracle of life. A messy, sticky, awkward miracle, to be sure, but when you get down to it, the fact that a woman (let’s be honest here, the guy’s part is negligible) can grow another tiny person within her belly is amazing. We all came from the womb one way or another, so childbirth can feel mundane, but it is no less mystical and miraculous.

Christmas approaches and the holiday has changed. My wife’s own pushes are still a few months off, but this Advent is tinged with expectation. Not that we have any idea what to expect. The thought of being a father fills me with gratitude and amazement, but it’s also accompanied by paralytic hysteria. I can barely take care of myself, let alone a helpless infant.

This process requires faith. After all, much of it takes place unseen. The baby books are full of syndromes and conditions, dos and don’ts, but only a micro-fraction of it is in our control.

“Offspring are a reward from him,” the Psalmist writes, after noting that we labor in vain unless He does the work. And I’m sure any mother can attest that labor, the baby kind, is aptly named.

For my part, I’m helpless. I can take to my knees and plead for the safety of mother and child, pray for the strength to not cause permanent psychological scarring on this coming kid. God, help me not screw this up.

Elsewhere, the Psalmist wrote: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

As I ride out these next few months in nervous anticipation, I’ve definitely got the “fearfully” part covered. Now, I can but trust that Wonderful himself, formerly known as baby Jesus, will do the rest of the making.