Ex Pat Mamma

Friday, January 28, 2005


Three days without vomiting!!! Long may it continue :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Lessons in pregnancy etiquette

A couple of weeks ago, I said, "I would be sick till next Christmas if it means my baby is OK."
I TAKE IT BACK!!! Yesterday and today I was teaching at 8am, which involve crawling out of bed at 6.30 and spending much of the time in between getting intimate with Mr Gustavsberg till vomit was running out of my nose and I was spitting up blood. NO MORE! Please!

There are two reactions that I commonly experience when people learn of this: they almost always start with a raised eyebrow and "are you STILL throwing up?" Either they tell me I "should" be feeling better by now (as described in an earlier post) and then I want to hit them. Or they tell me a story of their sister, aunt, friend, friend of friend, friend of friend of friend who was sick all the way through till the birth and beyond. This is not exactly endearing either.

So, when you see the shadows under my eyes and I am clearly exhausted and can't find the energy to teach standing up, all you have to say is this:
"Poor you."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Off topic

Nothing to do with pregnancy but it made me laugh:



Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bare Faced Horror

Yesterday I wasn't teaching, which meant I got to stay in bed till the positively slothful 8am. There was no point in getting up earlier, because I had to go for the blood test (very traumatic, thought I was going to faint and wretched six times on my way to the clinic). As I wasn't teaching, and had planned to spend at best half a day in the office (it didn't work out that way, it never does), I couldn't be bothered putting on the usual mandatory minimum make up. Bad move. No less than three people asked me how I was and said I needed to sleep more as I looked tired and sick.Ouch! How bad do I look without make-up? I mean, I was a bit tired and had been wretching a lot but that was me with a long lie!
Oh dear. Let's hope the baby is better looking: not sure what is worse - taking after me or taking after its dad....

Friday, January 21, 2005

I dreamt my baby!

Last night I dreamt of my baby. He was about 5 months old and had been staying with my mum and dad for a few days while hubby and I had been off doing something (no idea what). We got back and I went in to see him and his face was just beaming with joy to see me. I could cry just thinking about it. It was my sister's wedding and there were loads of people around, but I couldn't take my eyes of my baby and just wanted to play with him. At some point I ended up in the wedding dress, but I was still playing with the baby and pretty oblivious to all the people around me.
OK, so you can have a good laugh when I give birth to a girl. And admittedly, said dream baby had suspiciously straight sandy coloured hair... hmmm....

Must have been all the excitement of yesterday. I went to my first maternity yoga class. I thought I was fit and athletic from all my swimming. But the yoga was all slow movements and stretching and my back and arms were aching by the end. I also have a suspicion they are "natural childbirth fanatics" - I'll need to turn off my icelandic ear at that point. Yes, childbirth is "natural" and yes, the pain is "normal". But a migraine is natural and normal and we don't just carry on and say "well, this is just nature taking her course," no, we take a pill. So whilst I won't decide in advance what pain relief I want, I at least want to find out what is available so when I am in pain, I can decide what, if anything I need. At the end, we all had to relax and the midwife went about sticking pins in people's foreheads... I'd already indicated that pins were coming nowhere near me but nonetheless, I was too scared to shut my eyes and "relax" in case she stuck a pin in me when I wasn't looking.

Yesterday also saw teh arrival of lots of pressies for me, yeah! I got a bunch of clothes I had ordered from a British company and they are just fantastic. I got a suit, a long pretty dress, a light cardigan and a long sleeved top for a bargain 75 pounds in the sale and they all look fantastic. Mummy also sent me a calendar of the area where I grew up. And my dear best friend sent me a couple of books and magazines to help me get a bit more organised. There's a sensible Miriam Stoppard book which looks quite medical (good, I know nothing!) and also the Baby Whisperer, which my friend swears by for her own baby but, wisely, suggests may not suit every parent or child. So now, I can look all professional in my new suit AND read up and become an expert (maybe... I think in 20 years I will still be a beginner!)

Sickness keeps promising to get better (yesterday just a small wretch; Tuesday good) but then comes back (today, Wednesday), although today I think was triggered by picking up my lovely urine sample and finding the bottle still warm... it doesn't take much to gross me out these days! (sorry if too much info!) Off to the doc's to drop it off and get a blood test - seems I can't avoid the pinsticking forever.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We met the midwife today, who was lovely and young and fun. The word for midwife in Icelandic is ljósmoðir which is literally "light mother."

We were there for over an hour covering all the usual questions and she listened for the heartbeat, which I had prepared myself not to find, and there it was, clear as a bell! Hubby's face just lit up; I have never seen him smile so broadly. The midwife was a bit worried about the bleeding I have had (still no sex :( )But at least I am allowed to sit in a not-too-hot hot tub for not-too-long which should be nice for my stiff old back. I've got to go for a blood test on Friday as fobbing her off with results of one I had 4 years ago in Toronto wasn't going to do, unfortunately ;)

We meet again in five weeks and I should keep seeing the same midwife for the whole pregnancy; until birth, when the hospital midwives will take over. Plenty time to find out about the hospital procedures; I'm hoping not to be strapped down with my legs in stirrups a la Monty Python's Meaning of Life....


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Getting Organised

The week has been uneventful. Busy busy teaching, which has been tiring, especially since it starts at 8am and I have to get up extra early to allow time to nurse the toilet bowl. Grandmas are starting to express their excitement in knitting needles and asking us: "But what do you need?" I have no idea!! This weekend, we (ok, I, with hubby looking it over after and going "it looks fine") tried to prepare a list of basic essentials to get started. I had a friend, a mum, look it over and add a few things we had forgotten. How could we forget the muslin squares? Needless to say, it is rather a long list but the only real big investments are the nappies and paraphenalia (we want to use cloth), the pram, the cot and a car seat.

Hubby has gone off skiing today with some friends; I'll stay home and read and sleep and watch some football or an old movie. And try not to throw up (again). Countless people are telling me that I "should" be feeling better by now. Oh really? Every morning I wake up wondering if this will be the day when it stops. Every morning, I am disappointed. It can't last the whole nine months. Surely.... can it?

We see the midwife on Tuesday so I can finally find out something about the system here in Iceland, what kind of help to expect, what will happen in hospital and so on. I shall report.

14 weeks today

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Adding Insult to Injury!

One of the men who had so heartily consumed my scotch on Saturday night had the cheek to complain to me on Monday that he had been sick on Sunday morning! I am not the person to complain to about being sick! Especially not when it is self inflicted. On my scotch.

Not the right thing to say....


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Party at my place!

Hey, I'm pregnant, I'm not past it! So we had a number of people over last night for dinner. So many, in fact, that in advance of their arrival, we had to buy another set of plates and cutlery! (granted, we only had 8 of everything before). Hubby and I each made a big pasta dish (there were lots of kids coming, so I did my dad's special macaroni cheese) and we got our guests to help with the washing up. All very civilized. The kids went home to bed and their mum came back over.
And then it was mentioned. Poker. Now, I have never played poker and don't know the rules. It is also a bit of a taboo in my house since the occasion early in my pregnancy when I was feeling too rotten to go out, and hubby went out to play poker and drink with these same friends and came back at 230am - and that only after an irate call from me. But I decided to give it a go and paired up with someone else to show me the ropes. We took out the scotch and lots of candy.
I got as far as game three. Avoiding the scotch, obviously, but going hell for leather at the Orkney fudge, I clearly "overdid" things:
"If I eat any more of this I am going to make myself sick... oh my god, I AM going to be sick..." and promptly ran off to keep company with Mr Gustavberg. Poor me. I felt too rotten to go back to the table and just went early to bed. They all stayed playing cards, which was what I wanted. No need for them all to go home. I wasn't going to go to sleep straight away, anyway, but I knew that if I didn't lie down I would keep being sick. My head had also decided to start pounding from the effort. It was only 10pm and I told hubby to try to wind things down about midnight.
After about an hour and a half, I rememberd I had forgotten to take my daily vitamin, so up I got to do that and popped in to say hello - and found they had drank about a bottle of my finest scotch! How unfair is that? They drink MY malt whisky and I am the one nursing the toilet bowl? Bah humbug! When the parents come on their multiple visits, they will have a couple of bottles of Orkney's finest added to the cargo of baby clothes.

On which topic, on a more personal note, my mum and I were obviously having the same thoughts. My mum's sister died suddenly when I was only 15. She was my godmother too and would have done anything for me, spoiled me rotten. I had been thinking about her and said to hubby: "I really miss my aunt just now; if she were here, she would be knitting like crazy by now and have bought up half of Mothercare." And my mum phoned the next day and said: "I was thinking about your aunt. When you were born, she knitted for you a beautiful wool shawl and I was wondering if you would like to use it with your own baby. Only if you want to, of course."
So that will be added to the cargo to come in May and July (what would I do without my mammy?). There is nothing more special that I can use to wrap my special baby.

Back in Iceland, domesticity is hitting me hard; I am VERY excited about my new tumble drier! I insisted that if we were going to have a baby, I HAD to have a tumble drier. So here it is. Lovely 6kg Ariston. With instructions in Swedish, Danish, Finish and Norwegian. And no, before you ask the obvious, I can't find an English or Italian (let alone Icelandic) manual online.... perhaps some of hubby's favourite sweaters will be added to the pile of baby clothes.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Enjoying Pregnancy

How does one, exactly, "enjoy" pregnancy? This is something I need to learn. Friends and family are most delighted with my scan news and are all suggesting "relax and enjoy my pregnancy" now. Well, relaxed I am. "Enjoying"... well, maybe later. Don't misunderstand me, I am delighted to be having a baby. Even when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I never for a second wished that I weren't pregnant. Since yesterday's scan I have just felt happier and happier and I feel like I have never been so in love with anyone as I am with this little alien that appeared on the hospital screen - especially when he performed "the thinker" pose; clearly taking after his daddy.

But I just don't find pregnancy "enjoyable." Being sick a lot and feeling sick even more, getting out of breath climbing the stairs, having two giant, but painful, breasts (trust me, you DON'T want the details!), being unable to sleep (not helped by appalling bladder control), no being allowed to eat lots of my favourite things, having a back-ache and a pain in my abdomen that might be a urine infection (sorry if too much info!) are not things I find "enjoyable." I am excited about having a baby - but I really do not think when this pregnancy is over I will look back on it as a "great" experience. It is something I have gone through because the result is going to be soooooo much more worth it than anything else I have ever done.

I am not saying this to complain; on balance, I think I am having a fairly good pregnancy so far. It is just that I don't understand how anyone could find the experience "enjoyable." And yet they do. A dear friend said to me some months ago that whilst she wasn't sure she would be ready for another baby, she would love to be pregnant again because it was "fantastic." Is this just the benefit of hindsight? I don't think so.

Well, time for me to go to the hospital - again. This time just to drop of a "sample" which might explain the abdomen and back pain - but on the whole, it would be better if it didn't.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Can I relax now, please?

I haven't posted for a couple of days as I was waiting to see the Dr. today to make sure everything was OK. And it is! Baby is fine, still growing, still annoying his mammy. Now we could make out his hands and feet and see the cord and even the early development of the face. It is quite incredible. From now on, the main thing he is going to do is get bigger.

The dr. said: "all the major developmental risks are passed: if anything happens to the baby now, it will be an external thing."
He means: "Relax, your baby is fine and all the big dangers are passed."
I hear: "If anything goes wrong now, it is Your Fault!"

I'm still to take things easy, but we are all hopeful that the bleeding is now behind me. My boss is going to help me out by teaching some classes for me, so I don't have such an intense schedule which will be a great help. The sickness is worse than ever but I can live with that as long as bb is fine.

Some bad news though... Roma lost the derby last night. Gutted. I actually had nightmares about it.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

"Morning" sickness: good or bad?

This morning began with the usual alarm clock trauma, followed shortly after by a nasty session of wretching and vomit. So nasty, in fact, so little in my stomach and such unrelenting wretching that my throat started to bleed until I was wretching up only blood. Lovely. And here was me thinking that this stage was behind me. As a result, my throat, only just beginning to recover from a cold, has been throbbing all day and I have pains in my abdomen that I keep forcing myself to believe are just strained muscles from the wretching.
Oh, the good part.... em... well, if I have morning sickness, it means my body is still producing pregnancy hormones and I have more reasons to believe the pregnancy is fine.

Hubby and I had the most lovely relaxing New Year weekend away in a cottage in the back of beyond, surrounded by mountains and snow with our very own frozen over lake. We scoffed 1kg of chocolates between us (hey, at least I have an excuse for my expanding waistline) and the most exerting thing we got around to was a few games of dominos. I even managed to read a whole novel. What a treat! Just what the dr. ordered, literally. Nonetheless, bb likes to keep mum and dad aware of the fragility of his presence with totally random acts of bleeding. Much better when it comes from the throat.

Now that the 12 week milestone has come and gone, we are Officially Telling People, although I am a bit nervous. Its an awful lot of emails to send out again if the unthinkable were to come to pass. But it won't, it can't and bb is just practing being a royal pain in the butt for when he arrives in July. Why do I think we won't have one of those quiet babies who never cry and sleep all night?....

Happy New Year! Hopefully the happiest time of all for hubby and I in July.