Projects projects. With my new (re)found joblessness I am taking on a series of fun projects. Tomorrow is homemade yogurt via good old Martha.
Weeks 32-34 (pic at week 32)
- maternity leave is FANTASTIC
- i have a cold. cold + pregnant = NOT FUN
- I am nesting full force. Sewing, christmas baking, shelf styling. That’s right, I said styling
- sleep is elusive. Between switching positions, jolting pinched nerve shocks in my hip, shortness of breath and cumbersome switching of sides… er… yeah
- birth prep class is amazing. I am loving it and our partner course is next weekend. Super excited
- Midwife came for her home visit last week. She is really nice and had all kinds of good advice about baby products, what to bring to the hospital, what to have at home, etc etc. I am so grateful that she will be “taking care” of us for those first few weeks
- Registration at the hospital is on tuesday. I’m going alone - but since it’s just a “chat” it should be ok that Artur won’t be there. After that, we are all set to arrive at the hospital when labor starts! No form filling out for us
- My work christmas party is next friday. I am planning on going… but I have NO idea what to wear. I have a black skirt… I am thinking I will buy a top that I can also wear for christmas and then my big problem is shoes for my honking pregnant feet. I need something comfy and semi fancy. HALP!
- Mostly, we are so excited. And nervous. We’re really getting ready to meet this little guy!
Just some of my latest baby sewing creations from the lovely book Handmade Beginnings
2 weeks of work left until Maternity leave. TWO weeks! I am so excited. And ready. And I know I shouldn’t say “omg so ready” because I am super lucky to be off of work a full 8 weeks before my due date. Seriously though, I don’t know how those of you who work up to your due dates do it! I know, you’re thinking “we do it cause we have to”. Well hats off to you, I say.
I have been thinking about what I want to do with that time. In addition to resting, I want to get some things done and I also want to have a routine so I don’t start counting the days and driving myself crazy. I want to enjoy it, and I know that I enjoy time off the most when I am accomplishing things I enjoy. So I have thought of a schedule that I hope to follow daily when I am on leave. It’s luxurious but structured enough to give me a semblance of order without making me feel too busy. I have decided to tackle one “activity” a day, if that’s finishing a craft project, or buying something for baby..
Also, I really want to fit in exercise. I have not been nearly as diligent as I had hoped about going to the gym this pregnancy. There always seems to be something in the way. Well no longer. I know it is kind of late in the game, but I think incorperating daily walks (and perhaps some strength exercises) will keep me feeling fit and prepare me for the hard work of labor.
Here is what I’m thinking for a daily schedule.
1) wake up with Artur (when he goes to work)
2) breakfast and blogs - a healthy, leisurely breakfast complete with a hot drink and my laptop for browsing. ahhhh.
3) Put on my walking clothes, go for a 1 hr walk. Of course, this will depend on the weather, the day, how I’m feeling etc. But I really want to get into the habit of doing this.
4) When I get back from my walk, shower, and get dressed for the day. This is key - I want to allow myself to lounge around in my PJs in the morning, but I know from experience that this can get out of hand quickly if I don’t get my butt moving.
5) make lunch - I can’t wait to have time to make myself a healthy nutritious lunch. I would like to “treat” myself to a TV show at this point - but I am not sure if doing that would send me down an endless spire of TV watching….
6) daily activity - this is where I “conquer” my daily activity. I choose something from the list - and off I go!
7) shopping/dinner making - I am also so excited to have time to shop and prep dinner. It will save us money and ensure that we are eating healthfully those last two months.
8) evening relaxation - yup, I will call it quits after dinner and just hang out with my husband. That’s the plan, anyways.
Again, we’ll see - I can imagine I’ll tweak this as time goes on. Mostly I am just SUPER excited for this time to begin. I can’t believe we’re already so close!
- Yesterday was our annual halloween party. Perhaps it was my nesting instincts, but I prepared a lot in advance and so I actually got everything done that I wanted to. Needless to say, it was still quite exhausting for me, and I think I’ve gotten up from the couch exactly three times today.
- The party was lots of fun. We purposefully invited fewer people, to keep it a bit more low key - I have to get used to throwing low key parties. I kept having to remind myself that it’s OK if people don’t stay until 4am (although some did..). Not drinking alcohol at my own party was just fine, actually. Quite comfortable.
- I’m feeling.. very round, as evidenced by the photo. I can’t believe I still have more than 2 months to grow!!
- Lots and lots and lots of kicks and wiggles. I love it
- Artur looked at me the other day and said “I’m so excited. I’m really ready for this phase of our life” :D
- Aches and pains? Well yes. Lots of hip pain when I stand for too long (like yesterday). And my upper operation scar hurts a lot when I engage my upper ab muscles. Quite painful actually - and I’m really surprised that this didn’t happen with my major stomach scars. Hopefully this too shall pass. Also, I stood up from the sofa today and panicked because I felt like something burning hot was touching my outer thigh. From what I read, this is what a pinched nerve feels like, so I’m guessing that’s what I have. IT isn’t too bad though, so maybe it’s just from the exhaustion from yesterday.
- From here in out, I am taking it EASY. 2 weeks left of work, and then it’s couch and end prep time. So excited.
- the belly is giant. I can’t believe I still have almost 3 months to go
- I alternate feeling great with feeling super tired and uncomfortable.
- Having a UTI while pregnant is NOT FUN. At all.
- My OBgyn appts are now 3 weeks apart, which means I head back next week already. It’s getting closer!
- I only have less than 3 weeks left to work. I am more than thrilled about this. I cannot imagine how people work up until their due dates. Mostly, there is so much stuff I want to do before the baby arrives!
- According to my last Ultrasound, the baby was measuring 1500 grams at 28 weeks. That’s 3.3 pounds! 2 weeks ahead.. curious what my 30 week measurements will be.
- Lots and lots of kicking, can be seen and felt from the outside - mostly active in the evening.
- We have a possible name - but we’re not telling :D
- I really need a new sewing machine. Mine causes me to scream at it. Hopefully a special christmas treat….
Since I am a US American having a baby in Germany, I think a lot about the differences between Germany and the US. Granted, I have never given birth, so I don’t have a direct comparison - but I do have second hand accounts and a plethora of books and blogs to reference.
And much like during our wedding planning, I am finding that being aware of what is “normal” in both cultures is SO EYE OPENING because it is often SO DIFFERENT! It makes you realize that a) there are many ways to do things and b) just because someone says that something has to be a certain way, it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
Often, even language differences allude to interesting cultural contrasts. So today I’m going to be talking about a concept called “wochenbett” which can be loosly translated as the “lying-in” period (an old fashioned term but the most fitting one I found).
The postnatal period following birth is medically defined as “the time after birth, a time in which the mother’s body, including hormone levels and uterus size, returns to prepregnancy conditions.” But of course, this period of time is much more - it’s a crucial time for family bonding, for establishing the mother-child bond and breastfeeding, and generally a time of adjustment for the whole family to like with a newborn and a new family member.
Interestingly, the wikipedia article on “Wochenbett” - which can be literally translated as “week bed” which refers to the number of weeks it lasts (usually 6-8) - talks at length about the necessity of using this period of time for the recovery of the mother and for establishing a mother-child bond - concepts suspiciously absent from the corresponding english language version (entitled simply - postnatal).
Most significant of course is the way Germany treats this period of time with regards to health care and time off of work as compared with the US. In Germany, there is a strict work ban for 8 weeks after birth. Postpartum mothers are literally banned from working in this period of time. During this period, they receive full salary and benefits from a combination of sources (their health insurance, employer and the government).
At-home midwife care is provided for the mother and child, and is completely covered by health insurance (usually 10 home visits, more under special circumstances). These home visits serve the dual purpose of providing care for the mother (healing from birth and wound care, in case of a c section or other surgical procedure) as well as care for the baby (assistance with bathing, changing, help with any issues such as fussiness, sleep problems) and of course help with breastfeeding. Single moms or mothers in special situations (for example, with twins) receive a longer period of time - 12 weeks at least - and also have access to in-home assistance for up to 8 hours a day, in the form of a “mother helper” or even a maid/cook - this is covered by insurance.
This is in striking contrast with the US, where the emphasis is really on prenatal care and the postnatal is, from what I’ve heard, of much less importance. After all, many women are expected to return to work sometimes even 6 weeks after birth - and this period of time is often unpaid. I have also never heard of health insurance covering home visits by midwives.
Generally, I find it fascinating that there is an actual term for this postnatal time and protections in place to make it is comfortable as possible - I am so grateful to have access to these resources.
Today, after my glucose test (more on that later) I met with my midwife for the first time - she hooked me up to the monitor and we chatted while it beeped away. We made an appointment for her to come to our apartment in November and help us figure out the best set up for the baby, and let us know what else we should buy and have ready for when we get back from the hospital. Seriously - what service!
I’m excited to report how the rest of this process goes, but for now, I am feeling pretty darn spoiled. Thursday we will be visiting the hospital we hope to use, so I will update once we have done that. Until then, tschüß!
- That pic was taken at Oktoberfest today - I can confirm that it is even fun when you can only order Alkoholfreies Bier :D
- back from our USA trip! I had some pelvic pain so I ended up in the hospital on the recommendation of my doctor. We got to hear the heartbeat for 20 minutes and all was good with the baby - and my pain went away 2 days later. Chalking it up to round ligament pain
- Now I feel great! Lots of baby kicks, recognizable belly, energy galore. This might be the honeymoon phase of my pregnancy
- I am proud to report that flying 25 weeks pregnant was no problem - even sans wine. And we brought home our stroller - it even fit in the overhead bin! Score
- I have sewn both curtains and crib skirt with the fabric I bought in the US. Yay nesting energy.