Maternity visit

Yesterday I went to visit the hospital I will be giving birth at if all goes to plan.
My OB-gyn organises these visits a few times a year and invited us to come along so we could get answers to a lot of our questions and form an idea of what D-day would be like.

I had, of course, being the control freak I am, read up a lot about giving birth and how hospitals here usually deal with things and had quite a few concerns. Top of the list was how medicalised everything seems to be here: I read accounts of people being induced whether they wanted to or not, doctors performing episiotomies whether they were necessary or not, babies being taken away before they had a chance to bond with their parents, etc, etc.

Anyway, it turns out my doctor has a relatively "natural" approach to birth that very much put me at ease. For example, if the epidural is too strong and you can't push properly, he waits for it to wear off a bit so you can push - even if it takes 4 hours - instead of reaching for the forceps like many other doctors do. He also delivers in almost complete darkness - about the light of a candle - so the baby isn't completely blinded when it comes out - I absolutely love that part! He also has the lowest rate of c-sections of the whole hospital, which I find very reassuring. His philosophy is to try and not interfere if it isn't necessary and interfere if it is. I'm obviously hoping it won't be in my case...

The hospital has a jacuzzi bath which apparently can really accelerate labour, although you can't actually give birth in it. I've always loved water and would have liked a water birth so am hoping I can at least use it for labour. The only down side is that he says it sometimes speeds things up so much you don't have time for an epidural before the baby actually arrives and I'm not sure I'm ready for the full pain of child birth...

So now the only thing I'm worrying about is how long we can keep my mother-in-law away from the hospital for. I'm really cringing at the idea of her bursting into my hospital room, all flustered and excited. I had a taste of it last week when we went to see them and she wouldn't stop trying to touch my belly (there's nothing to see yet, let alone feel!) and kept asking excited little questions and telling us how impatient she is to meet the baby. She got it a Christmas present and talks to the print-out of the scan she's hung on her kitchen wall, every day. She's just very tiring and I'm not very good at dealing with her right now. Sigh. Luckily my husband doesn't particularly bond with them and tends to zone out whenever we're around them, so I know he won't be much keener than I am to have her around. And they live an hour away. I just hope it'll be enough to keep her at bay once the baby's there... I know, I'm such a bad person for saying all this, but she really is completely neurotic, over-excited and panicky... not what I need right now.

Anyway, right now I am still full of the illusion that giving birth will be easy-peasy and I have nothing to worry about. I'm sure I'll have changed my tune in a few months' time when I see how big the baby is and try to imagine it pushing its way out... Just leave me my illusions for now though please :)

Spreading the love

I'm really chuffed that Joy thought of me for the Beautiful Blogger Award, so thank you Joy for sharing that warm fuzzy feeling with me and I'll gladly pass it along to a few other amazing women whose blogs I've been following.

First for the 7 things you don't know about me...

1. When I was 6 years old, I flew over from Shetland to visit my grandparents in Belgium all on my own. On the way back, the last plane did a stopover in Orkney and I got off, thinking I was home already. When the airport personnel realised the mistake, they had to stop the plane at the end of the runway and get me back on board.

2. As if that wasn't bad enough, they'd overbooked the plane, so when I got back on it, the only seat left was in the cockpit, between the pilot and the copilot. I was so impressed I didn't dare ask if I could get up and go to the loo and I ended up peeing myself. When my dad asked me what had happened, I told him it was raining in London (!).

3. I could probably fill these 7 points with embarrassing stories of things I did whilst drunk. In my uni years and for a few years after, I collected quite a few memorable drunken moments. Throwing up on a guy I'd just met and whose birthday it was was one of them, throwing up in the bathroom sink at my boyfriend (now husband)'s place then having to unblock the sink at 6 am in the nude was another. And I think I'll stop at that.

4. I haven't touched an iron in about 15 years. When my parents separated (I was 10), I had to iron my dad's shirts and I think it put me off ironing forever. When he got a girlfriend and she started doing his washing, I vowed never to touch an iron again. For about 10 years I just wore my clothes as they came out of the dryer and now I have a cleaning lady who does the ironing.

5. I can't let a shopkeeper or a waiter undercharge me. If they make a mistake and I notice, I'll point it out to them, even if it means paying a lot more than they were asking. If I don't I feel guilt-ridden and am absolutely convinced that something terrible will happen to me. You know, karma and all that.

6. As a teenager I was obsessed with blood and other morbid stuff. Once at the doctor's office, I needed to give a blood sample and asked him if I could get an extra tube of blood to take home with me. For some bizarre reason, the doctor agreed, and I kept the tube of blood in my pencil case for several years after, occasionally taking it out to impress my classmates.

7. According to my mother, when I was little I ate a bit of sheep's poo, thinking it was a raisin. The neighbour's kid used to sit in the garden and eat worms though, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Okay, after that fun trip down memory lane, time for my own nominations. I tried to only nominate people who as far as I can tell from their blogs haven't been nominated already, and they're all blogs of amazing women I have encountered during my WW journey, who have inspired me, made me laugh (often), cry (sometimes) and who I admire very much.

Tina is a big inspiration and has lost an amazing amount of weight. I love how bubbly and cheery her blog is, it always brings a smile to my face.

Starfish's is another blog with a high feel-good factor. I'm always amazed (and a little jealous) at how active and determined she is...

Mel can really get me in stitches of laughter with tales of her work, family (especially the sabotaging brother) and ups and downs with food.

Shaz is another amazing woman. She looks absolutely gorgeous after losing over 5 stone and seems to always be busy raising money for charity.

Lana's blog rings very true to me - I can often relate to things she says and she paints a very realistic picture of the ups and downs of weight loss. Nevertheless, she's managed to lose a whopping 6.5 stone, very inspiring!

Emma is another inspiring "loser", looking gorgeous and keeping it real. I like that her blog is about so much more than just the weight loss too.

Mandy's finally is another blog I've been following from day go, another lovely lady on the bumpy road to shedding the extra pounds. I especially like her blog title, so true!!

Finally, an update

Well, where to begin? I suppose I should explain the reason for my long absence, though it's quite easy to guess... Yep, I'm 13 weeks pregnant! I didn't want to jinx it all so wanted to avoid posting the news until the first trimester was safely behind us. As of yesterday we have visual proof that the baby is alive and well (and moving around like crazy, although I can't feel anything yet).

It still feels crazy and slightly hard to believe. Especially as we got pregnant straight away, which I wasn't expecting to happen - needless to say the father is extremely proud of himself ;). We got a positive pregnancy test on November 22nd, confirmed by a visit to the doctor and first short ultrasound on December 4th.

First ultrasound on Dec 4th, with heartbeat, 6w, 0.43 cm

Second ultrasound on Dec 19th, with heartbeat, 8w, 1.98 cm

Third ultrasound on January 23rd, 13w, 7.43 cm

Third ultrasound on January 23rd, in 3D, 13w

The images don't really do justice to the moving ones we saw on the screen, especially this last visit, where baby was jumping all around the place and hitting the walls with its hands, but it's amazing to see how quickly it grows. I can't believe how big it will be by the time it's ready to come out!

Weight-wise, I put on 2lbs the exact day I suppose I ovulated and/or conceived, and since then another 1lb, which is really decent. The doctor was happy with the result yesterday in any case. I'm hoping to keep weight gain down to a minimum, hopefully less than 5kg/10lbs, but we'll see how that goes once the (mild) nausea dies down and I regain my appetite!

In the meantime, we went on our trip to New Zealand, where we had an amazing time, with a big family Christmas (in the sun) and a stunning road trip round the South Island. I am so glad we escaped the snow here - though we very nearly didn't get away due to the Eurostar hell and our flights leaving from London. Luckily I was able to book us on a flight from Brussels to London as soon as I found out the trains were cancelled - a few hours later they were sold out. It looks like Eurostar will be compensating us for that now, so I'm so glad I made that decision. I'll rant about the absolutely dismal communication on their behalf some other time...

 Christmas Day in the bush with my sisters

Our hike on the Fox Glacier


We got back on Tuesday and I've been slowly recovering from the jetlag since then. Starting work again tomorrow, though it will be as a freelance still as I explained my situation before leaving on holiday and told them I wouldn't be signing a contract as after the birth I want to be able to work closer to home. So it's all working out the way I wanted it to on that front too :)