Week 31 – Day 6

It’s been a busy week! Dutch classes on Monday and Thursday evenings, pre-natal course on Tuesdays, and the weekend was fully of doing things and getting the baby room sorted. Feels nice to be a bit more effective, but tiring too.

Yesterday we did an inventory of a the clothes we have, and put stuff into drawers, we’re quite covered for the beginning, but a couple of things are still missing, so will need to get those over the next month. And of course we need to actually continue with and finish off the baby room!

This week’s pre-natal course talked a lot about pain, and it was actually really interesting, and got me thinking quite a lot. The woman explained about the components of pain; the physical pain itself which is made up of the intensity and the duration, the brain’s interpretation of that pain, and then the psychological component which contributes to how we perceive the pain. For example, if you’ve had previous traumas involving pain, then your mind is already expecting it to be unbearable… So I was thinking about what kind of pain I’ve experience and how I’ve felt about it… Overall I can’t say that I’ve been through many physically painful experiences in my life, which I’m very happy about. But even the ones that I have been through, are probably not comparable to birth.

For example…. tattoos? So the most painful one I had was the one on my thigh. Not because of any one component, but the duration (5 hours), in combination with the type of needle used (colouring – so very scratchy, rather than lining), and the location of my upper thigh which is quite sensitive. I remember thinking at the end, that if it lasted for more than another 5-10 minutes, I’d have to give up and ask him to stop. But then I was having this thought for well more than the last hour. I guess this means, that if i break the pain down into more manageable chunks (whether they are realistic or not), it helps me cope for that pre-defined time period. Now with contractions, the peak of pain is only a couple of seconds at the time, so maybe it’ll be helpful to keep that in mind, when it’s at its worse.

The other painful(ish) experience I came to think about was marathon training and running, and even all those times I’ve ran a half-marathon while being a tad unprepared. For the marathon it’s the sheer exhaustion and aching of the legs, and as for being unprepared, it’s usually my knee that starts hurting first. Whenever it’s been too painful to run it’s always been possible to push through for a little longer, or walk for a bit and finish the race anyway, and the feeling in the end makes you forget very quickly what you’ve been through. For the long term tiredness of a marathon, and keeping going for hours when you want to stop, I guess the preparation is the main thing, and again, the totally ecstatic feeling at the end. So the parallel to childbirth here I guess is that I’m preparing (by learning about it), and that the feeling in the end will make it worthwhile.

All in all some very interesting thoughts have been prompted, and although I still feel like I have no idea what to expect, and I’m in no way going to underestimate the pain, I do think that it’s going to be doable.

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Week 22 – Day 4

I was talking to a colleague at lunch today who has a friend who’s also pregnant. She commented on the fact that I’ve booked a trip to Ireland in September, asking if I’m not worried about stuff going wrong. Got me thinking a bit about attitude. She said her friend is panicking and worrying about everything and anything that could potentially happen, even though it hasn’t happened yet.

I know I’m quite an optimistic person by nature, sometimes over optimistic. But it hasn’t really crossed my mind to plan for things as if though it wouldn’t work. What would be the point in that? Some people have the mindset of “everything that can go wrong will go wrong” with the goal to have a plan of action when the bad stuff happens. Maybe I’m naive or unprepared, but I’m pretty sure IF anything was to not go according to plan, I could handle it when it happens. It doesn’t make sense to me to walk around worrying about all the potential horrors of pregnancy… cause what if they DON’T happen? Then I would have worried for nothing, and not enjoyed the times that did go well.

Is it just me? I mean, I’m a firm believer in planning in general and to be prepared for the baby. And I’m very much aware that things may not be this easy in a month, or two or three…. but as long as it’s all good, it’s all good right?

Week 22 – Day 3

Today was the first time someone asked me if I’m pregnant! Haha, pretty brave right, and I have to give it to her, very subtly handled. She came up to me when we were both heading into the office.. “Cata, can I ask you a bit of a personal question and sorry in advance if I’m wrong… but are you pregnant?”. I answered truthfully straight away rather than acting offended like I’d planned to. But to be fair, out of all the people, she would have found it funny!

We’re officially in month number 6, and baby should pass the half kilo mark this week! Time moves quickly and slowly all at the same time. I can’t wait to hang out in Malmo next week 🙂

Me and Dave met up with a girl I know from London on Saturday. She lives in Rotterdam now and is also preggo, a week behind me, and it’s nice to know that when I’m off work before the baby comes I’ll have someone to hang out with. She’s very similar to me in the sense that she’s not feeling over emotional about the whole thing. We spend a lot of time talking about bonding with the baby, and how neither of us feel that “super connection” that people keep talking about. I wrote about this earlier on in the pregnancy but will follow up, as I think it’s worth talking about.

 

Week 21 – Day 0

Something I’ve learned about myself from being pregnant is that I’m actually quite good at taking it easy and not worrying. My initial thoughts when describing myself is that I like to plan things and have stuff under control, and when I imagined what I would be like as pregnant I thought it would be a lot harder to not know, and to worry about stuff. But having gone more than half way through now I can honestly say that I haven’t freaked out or worried about much at all. Yes, there are a million rules to follow, and yes I do wonder if everything is ok in there. But I’ve been quite good at trusting my gut instinct, and to not listen to all the “good advice” out there. I’ve taken things at my pace, not compared (too much), and have just accepted that if things feel ok, then most likely they are!

It might have helped quite a bit that I’ve had a super straight forward pregnancy so far, and that everything has been on track. But I’m actually really proud of myself for just letting things be, and accepting that I don’t know, and don’t have to know everything!

Week 17 – Day 4

We had our first daycare visit today, as our midwife recommended that we start and sign up early to make sure we get a place where we want. Before I walked in we’d talked about timing and things like that and agreed that at 6 months I’d start going back to work and we’d do maybe two days a week of childcare. It’s so expensive here so just two days would cost us around 600 euros per month! Anyway, after seeing the place today and talking to the staff I feel like I never want to leave my child in the care of others.

I don’t know why, but looking at the little babies in there it just felt wrong to the core that they were not with one of their parents. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that for some people there is no choice financially, and it’s not like parental leave here is generous… that’s a whole issue on it’s own. Also, there was nothing actually wrong with the place itself. Plenty of staff that are well trained, small separated groups and it felt safe and all that… but something about it just really hit me in the wrong way.

When a child is still that young doesn’t it need the immediate physical closeness to an adult who is not distracted by other things? Doesn’t it need an actual parent who loves it and care for it, and give it their attention…? We both walked out of there just feeling like “no” not for us. But then we’re stuck in the situation of, can we actually survive on one salary for 6-9 months? How much would we need in savings to live? How would it work with our employers, considering most mothers are back in work in 3 months, and most fathers don’t take any leave at all… and then we turn around and say we want 6 months each..? How forgiving and flexible would they be?

Much to think about, but it still feels like all other things like career and jobs are less important then the welfare of your own child.

Week 10 – Day 2

The discussion about pre-natal testing continues at home. I think we’re going to not get the tests. For my part I don’t see the point. They can test for three things, out of an endless list of things that could possibly go wrong (not that I think that anything will go wrong). And I still argue that knowing wouldn’t change anything… so why stress over it. I’m sort of too tired to write all the pros and cons down, but let’s just say that we’ve spent many many hours discussing this at home. And Dave being a scientist thinks that all knowledge is good. I’m not sure I agree…

I am really looking forward to the ultrasound on Friday though. I’m struggling now tho actually imagine that there’s something in there. I’ve sort of come to terms with how I’ve been feeling without grasping that there’s a real reason for feeling this way… does that make sense? It’ll be nice to get confirmed that there’s actually something in there causing all this hassle for me. Plus we’ll have a little picture of Justin! And we’ll hear his heart ( I hope!!). Three more days!

Week 8 – Day 6

Hello 🙂 two days with parents here and I’m exhausted! Been sick for several days in a row now, not a trend I’d like to continue. Tomorrow we enter week 10, double digits and at the end of next week we’re on quarter of the way through!

The meeting with the midwife went super well, and she was really nice and relaxed and explained everything perfectly. I think it helps me a lot that they generally have such a relaxed attitude towards everything. It means that I also keep calm about stuff. One thing that got brought up that neither me or Dave had thought of before is the pre-natal testing that they offer. It’s up to us whether we want them or not, and she said about 50% of couples do chose to get it done.

Basically they take blood samples and analyse for chromosome variations, like Downs syndrome and some more rare things. The thing is…. for our age and medical history the odds are super super low, and if it turns out that the likelihood is high… then what? The midwife said that couples who get the tests done have already decided that they would abort the baby if something was wrong… but I’m not sure that I would? It’s such a morally sensitive issue to me. If you abort because of a likelihood of Downs, is that not the same as saying that people with Downs syndrome has less of a right to life?

If we’re not gonna change our minds about having the baby either way, then what benefit does knowing have? I’m very confused about the whole thing… But got another 10 days to figure it out, before the next meeting, and regular blood tests and the scan!

Will take a first belly pic tomorrow!