Two good reasons for being gone

I have basically deserted the blog for a good long while now, for a couple of reasons. Reason number one is a baby! I’m (surprise!) expecting again, which, while really exciting, means that I have been stretched beyond my limit the past few months. Morning sickness and fatigue when starting a brand new, full-time internship is really, really hard.

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The second reason is…also a baby–that’s right, twins! So…it’s been a very exciting couple of months! Starting my internship was really exciting, and really, really stressful. Finding out I was pregnant a month in (while being on the pill) was also exciting, and stressful. Finding out it was twins two months after that was just as exciting and stressful as all of the previous stressful, exciting surprises!  So…exciting and stressful just about sums up my 2016.

I am feeling less sick and exhausted now (four and a half months in) but the pain has already settled in for good, it seems. Everything else is alright–we are trying to plan for the extra additions to the family, carefully considering our first family car, double strollers, rearranging the kids’ room, and periodically looking at each other with our mouths gaping open to say “twins?!?”

Some info on the twins: they’re identical, and sharing a placenta, so I go to a lot of extra scans and doctor appointments so they can keep an eye out for TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome) and make sure the babies are growing at relatively the same rate. Twins don’t run in my family, but identical twins aren’t hereditary anyway.

I can’t say for sure if my symptoms were worse this time around, because my situation was a lot different.  Feeling sick was miserable, but I attributed the extra misery to having to haul my butt out of bed to the sound of an alarm clock every morning, and not being able to avoid the smell of coffee–I never suspected twins, or even entertained the thought. I can definitely feel the difference now, though, and see it in my belly! I thought I was really big with Theo, who was born at 9lbs 1 oz, and to think that I am going to be even more gigantic is a little overwhelming/terrifying.  But honestly, the hope is to get as gigantic as possible, as I want to keep the babies in for as long as they can be in there, so I am trying to keep that in mind, too, whenever the panic sets in.

So, that is why I have been so absent. I can’t promise to be on more often, or come with more thoughtful, well-illustrated blog posts, but I will try to keep it as updated as possible!

Oh, also, they’re girls!!!

How to Creat Life–the Danish Way

The first thing I did when I found out I was pregnant was hop online and start Googling.  I took a test first thing in the morning, freaked out (in a good way), and resolved not to tell Andreas until he got home.  I finished knitting him a pair of socks, knitted a tiny baby sock to go with them (my way of telling him the news), and then it was about noon and I had four and a half hours until I could tell anyone.  So I Googled.  I googled “pregnancy tips,” “pregnancy week-by-week,” and “early pregnancy symptoms.”  And then I googled “graviditet.”  A lot of the advice was common sense, and overlapped: Eat a varied diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t take lots of medicine.  But a lot of it differed, albeit perhaps slightly.  The American advice said not to drink coffee, or eat sushi, soft serve ice cream, lunchmeat, soft cheeses, sprouts, soft boiled eggs, smoked fish, or even anything at a potluck.

Well, I ate soft serve ice cream,  sprouts, smoked salmon, brie, goat cheese, and soft boiled eggs.  Oops.  But really only “oops” if I was Googling in English, because the Danish advice never mentioned sprouts, or ice cream.  And as far as most other things on the list goes, the official advice is to eat as fresh of food as possible–keep raw things cold, and pay attention to hygiene when you prepare food.  They also say outright that pregnant women can eat sushi.

I joined the August due-date birth board on Babycenter.com, so throughout my pregnancy, I would check the forum.  The American women went to their doctor every month until the third trimester.  After that it was every two weeks until nearer to the end when it was every week.  I saw my doctor four times during my pregnancy (one visit was an “extra” to do a quick blood pressure check), and my midwife about the same number of times.  I went two weeks overdue, so I had another midwife visit, and a couple days before my induction, a hospital visit.  To be honest, I don’t know what these women talked about or did at all these appointments.  I could barely think of questions to ask at my few appointments.

I saw enormously pregnant women biking happily down the street (well, at least they looked as happy as anyone biking in Danish weather ever looks).  I saw them walking, running, lingering over lattes, and putting away that out-loud-allowed sushi.  Andreas and I attended a sort of parent-prep class, which wasn’t quite like anything I’d read about anyone else’s prenatal classes.  We talked about our relationship as a couple, and how to best sustain that under the stress of a new baby.  We talked about the birthing process and nursing, and I have to say, there wasn’t this sense of anxiety that I often get when I talk to American women or read American forums.  It was “here are pain relief options–which ones do you think you prefer?” not “here are pain relief options–and there’s no medal for women who don’t use them–but there are definitely risks to some of them–and these decisions you’re making will impact your birth experience, your baby’s alertness, your breastfeeding process, and pretty much the rest of your baby’s life.”

After Theo was born, it as more of the same, to my great relief!  But I’ll write about that a different day, or this post will *never* leave my drafts!

Baby Hermit Crab

Introducing:

Theodore James

9lbs. 1oz

22 inches

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And now we know why my belly was SO big.

Navigating the waters of the first week has been tough.  After being induced (for going over by two weeks), we had a healthy baby, but I lost considerable amounts of blood, had to go to emergency surgery, then had a bad reaction to a blood transfusion which all left me very weak.

Not being able to hold my baby that first day after he was born was really tough, and it seemed like everything went the exact opposite of how I’d hoped it would go (apart from the fact that I didn’t get a C-section).  But as of today, things seem to be looking up.  I still can’t stand up for more than 15 minutes at a time, and nursing has been…just plain old painful, but I feel like things are getting better.

Anyway, I’m not sure how much I’ll get written here, though I feel like I have a lot to say!  Posts come as naptimes allow.

The Grumpus

I didn’t do photo of the day today.  Partly because I was lazy, partly because I was tired, and partly because I was busy being a grumpus.  The prompt of the day was “fast,” and let me tell you something…right now, nothing seems fast.  Everything is moving at a snail’s pace, and I, for one, am dissatisfied.

I’m a week “overdue” and while I know it’s perfectly normal to give birth in the two weeks after a due date, that doesn’t make it easier to wait out.  It doesn’t make it any more comfortable, and it doesn’t stop me from comparing myself to every other pregnant person who has given birth before they were a week overdue (or of being really, really jealous of them).

I’m being a big fat grumpus. (Literally.)

I got a chirpy email from one of those baby websites you sign up for, informing me that my baby was a week old.  I closed it and grumbled, “Is not.”

I had frequent, uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks ALL DAY.  Until now.  When they just…vanished.

I’m grumpy about how difficult it is to do the laundry.  How hard it is to load the bottom rack in the dishwasher, turn over in bed, and how often I have to pee (and how laughably slowly it comes out).

And all this probably makes the baby want to just stay in there, because who wants to be born to a great big grumpus?

So: No.  I didn’t miss today’s daily photo because I was busy having a baby.  I missed it because I was being a baby about not having a baby yet.

 

Due date, Schmoo-date

So today’s that infamous due date.

And I’m not having a baby today.

For the longest time, I convinced myself that I was going to go over my due date.  The chances were good that I would, and I figured it would help ease the impatience at the end.  However, a few weeks ago, when the end was nearing, I started getting a bit panicky that it really didn’t feel close.  It didn’t feel real (at all), and the closer it got, the less real it seemed.  I started telling myself all the time how soon it would be, trying to pound some sense of the reality of it all into my silly hormonal brain, and after doing that, it did start to feel a *bit* nearer.  The closer we got, the more ready we were, until a couple of days ago, when I erased the last item from the To-Do Before Baby list and instead just wrote “Have a Baby!”

And now we’re all ready, and I’m as impatient as anyone ever is on their due date.

So much for all the mind tricks.

So for now, I’ll continue to notice every twinge, ache, and pull, hoping something will start soon, but not daring to get excited about anything (but getting a bit excited anyway).  I’ll continue to drag my full-moon belly out for walks where not only children, but now also adults, tend to gape, and I’ll probably continue to have weepy breakdowns when I wrap my egg rolls incorrectly or my computer cord gets stuck in the desk chair wheel.  And I’ll continue to wait.

 

The First of August

It’s August!  August is here!

Although I was just telling Andreas yesterday that August is my least favorite month (solely based on “mouthfeel” and how the word sounds), I’m pretty thrilled that it’s August because one way or another, I’m having a baby this month (because there is no way I’m carrying it around for more than 31 more days.  No way.)

To celebrate, I thought I’d start in on the photo-a-day challenge.  Even though I definitely doubt that I’ll be able to do it every day, I thought I’d at least give it a go, and it’ll lend yet another much-needed distraction from the growing impatience.  So:

August photo a day

 

1. Something that starts with N: “Nerd”

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I figured doing a photo a day would force me to learn a bit more about our new camera (although let’s face it, it’s almost 9 pm and I’m really tired, so not much experimenting today…).

I had planned to go to the botanical gardens over the weekend with Andreas and experiment there, but it’s still going to be unseasonably warm here in Denmark, and I don’t think I can make it without ballooning up, fainting, or just complaining a lot.  However, tomorrow is the day Andreas has predicted for the baby to arrive, and seeing as it’s going to be really hot, I wouldn’t mind one bit! (considering the hospital has good air conditioning…)

I can totally do this…maybe.

So, when I finished my Danish classes, something weird happened.  In my final tests, I got great scores.  I could now “officially” speak Danish, and I knew that my skills had improved dramatically over the few months that I’d taken courses.  But being finished with Danish classes and just let loose in Denmark was more unnerving than I expected.

I suddenly felt that since I was done, and since I’d done well, I should just be able to do it all, and do it easily.  I became three times more self conscious every time I was supposed to speak Danish.  I hesitated over my “ø”s and panicked whenever someone couldn’t understand me the first time around.

The thing was, that before I took Danish classes, and I would make a mistake while speaking or writing, I’d think to myself “well, I’ve never even studied, I just learned on my own, so…that’s okay.”  And now that I’m done, I feel like “Well geez, I’ve taken my Danish exams and passed, I should really know better.”

Now that I know all the rules, I can often hear small mistakes while I’m speaking, and while I often go back and correct myself, sometimes that’s just too distracting, and it bugs me to hear them pile up.

On the other hand, I’ve been watching a bit more Danish TV since we temporarily have Viaplay instead of Netflix.  In the middle of watching the Danish version of “4 Weddings” I realized that I’m watching this show (while playing Candy Crush) for fun.  Without subtitles.  In Danish.  And I’m getting it.  I watch the news with Andreas, and understand probably just as much as I would if it was in English (there’s a lot of stuff about politics that I just can’t follow very well in general, regardless of the language).  When I go to the doctor or midwife, we speak Danish.  When I go to the store, and ask for help (this, also, is a new development for me), I speak in Danish.  I realized suddenly that I could totally just “do” life in Danish.  I completed a phone interview about Andreas and myself (for a study) in Danish.  On the phone.

It’s sometimes easy to forget how long you’ve come when you’re in the middle of everything.  Especially with our baby’s birth coming up pretty shortly, I haven’t done a whole lot of self-reflection (unless you count meticulously studying my stretch marks in the mirror to make sure I don’t have any new ones (which I always do)).

These last few weeks, I’m trying to be nice to myself.  I realize that everything’s going to be changing in a few weeks, and that’s huge.  I’m not the most “hardy” personality, and I get overwhelmed easily, so I know that now’s not the time to be pushing myself, or scolding myself for not being better, when I really have come a long, long way since we moved here in November.

In other exciting news: we bought a camera!  One of the real deals!  Well…an entry-level DSLR, which I’m sure will be “enough” for the two of us.  It came in the mail today, but I’m practicing my self-restraint, and not opening it until Andreas comes home (in about an hour!).  However, I’m really, really looking forward to learning how to use it, and being able to take lovely baby pictures right from the start!  It also means (hopefully) that the blog will be a little more colorful soon, as baby pictures are a lot more likely to make it on the blog than pictures of me with my enormous ball of a belly.

What Was Supposed to Be a Post About Danish Summertime

It’s July, and it’s summertime, even in Denmark!  The forecast for almost a week straight was partly sunny and at least 20 degrees!  That’s pretty exciting for around here, and I’m glad it’s not very much hotter, because I’m hot in general, pretty much all the time.

I’ve also felt like we’re busy all the time!  I thought that my niece’s party at the end of June would be the end of busy-ness for Andreas and I, basically until the arrival of the baby, but I was apparently wrong!  With a couple of Meetups a week with different groups, birthing classes, midwife visits, and of course a good amount of cooking and baking, I realized that July is just as full as June was!  Which is sort of why I haven’t posted in almost two weeks again (sorry!), but the other reason is that I’m trying not to complain too much, and some days, that’s almost all I feel like doing.

It’s weird, because I know that a year ago today, I would have thought “I don’t care about all the uncomfortable things that come with pregnancy…I just really, really want a baby!”  And if I wasn’t pregnant right now, I would have the same thoughts.  And when I really think about it now, I of course realize that it’s all worth it but…goodness gracious am I ever uncomfortable.  Besides being twenty pounds heavier than normal, and looking like a duplex (or, as Andreas so lovingly put it yesterday “a mountain”), I can tell that the baby’s running out of room.  I figured he was just floating high up, since he’s all up in my ribs all the time, but the midwife said his head is actually super far down.  Then she felt the top of my belly and told me that his butt is also quite high up.  Conclusion?  Most likely a long baby.  Should’ve guessed.

And aside from all of that, too, is the stretch marks.  I’m super embarrassed to write about this, but I felt a bit better after writing to my mom about it yesterday, so I figured, well…if I tell the whole internet, then I’ll feel THAT MUCH better.  The silly thing is, I thought I wasn’t really going to get them.  My mom didn’t get them, and neither did my sister, really.  Nor did my sister-in-law which doesn’t really have anything to do with anything except that it’s another person to be jealous of.  I also haven’t put on too much weight, so I figured that they probably wouldn’t plague me.  But they did.  And there’s actually quite a few of them.  And there’s still a month left.  They bother me a whole bunch, way more than I ever imagined they would, and while most (or all) of this is probably pregnancy-hormone-driven, it doesn’t really make me feel much better.  Andreas, however, is getting lots of practice in listening-without-coming-with-solutions-or-things-to-make-me-feel-better, and I have to say, he’s pretty much the best at it.

Another thing he’s getting really good at is helping me up when I’m sitting on the ground which, thanks to the weather and having lots of picnics, I’ve been doing a lot of.  If he’s not there to help, it’s seriously a production, and I’m pretty sure it really does a number on my dignity.

I’ve also been putting off posting this because it’s pretty much nothing but pregnancy stuff, but that’s pretty much all I’m experiencing right now, and I don’t want to stop sharing just because of that!

A small glimpse into non-pregnancy-related news: We’re having a picnic dinner when Andreas comes home from work today!  I made pasta salad (one of his favorites) and we have a cold watermelon!  Plus, I had a small collection of egg whites in the fridge that needed to be used, so I made angel food cake (plus, of course, lemon curd because I had a couple of yolks left over after supplementing the whites) and I’m going to try to find some fresh Danish strawberries, and bring those along as well.

In closing: you know that thing where you stand in a doorway and press the backs of your hands really hard against the doorframe for like 30 seconds, and then step out, and your arms float up?  I’m pretty sure the baby’s doing that, except instead of hands, it’s feet, and instead of a doorframe, it’s my right hip bone and my left ribcage.

And for a touch of color:

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Pictures as Promised

So I promised a while ago that my next post would have pictures!  No wonder it took me so long to get around to actually posting this…

A quick update: I’ve been busy!  Not like working-during-finals-week-and-packing-and-moving-all-at-the-same-time busy, but still busy.  We’ve been pretty social (well, social for us anyway) and went to a gaming meetup, I’ve had doctors appointments, and I got to see my sister-in-law and her wonderfully cuddly daughter a couple of times.  We also have birth class, and still a good bit of shopping to do for the baby!  I was planning on taking it easy and relaxing for today, since the weekend will be busy with seeing Andreas’s family, making buns for my niece’s party, and then the party itself, but they decided to jackhammer all day long in the courtyard, and it’s driving me insane, so as soon as the laundry is done, I’m hanging it up and going out shopping.  Anyway, I’ve still been rather bad at taking photos, but I’ll share a few that I have!

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We made donuts again!  I’d been wanting to for ages, but didn’t want to end up eating them all myself, so we waited until we got together with Andreas’s family, and could share.  We made them thicker than we normally would, and they turned out delightfully puffy and biiiiiig!  It only made 15 or so this way, so we didn’t even have any leftovers, which is a blessing because they’re much, much nicer the first day anyway.

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Here’s Andreas being cute and frying donuts.  I insisted he needed some new shorts, and convinced him to get the kind that roll up a little bit.  I’ve been pretty satisfied recently about the gradual changes I instituted into his wardrobe (lots of stripey shirts, and pants that fit, and are a bit skinny instead of all saggy-baggy-butt.).  He even admitted he likes his clothes a lot more these days.

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This is my view.  And yes, it’s almost always stripes.  For some reason, the majority of H&Ms maternity clothes are ALL stripes.  Of course, I’m not complaining, because I’m the biggest stripe-fan I know.

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We also made spanakopita again recently!  With frozen phyllo dough, it’s actually really easy.  I accidentally cut the strips to the wrong size, so we ended up making some triangley pockets and the rest into a loaf-sized spanakopita pie, which was just as delicious.

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Those…well, those are Mud Hen Bars, and they are awesome.  I used to make them for the parties my Spanish class would have (not sure exactly why they were on the list, since we usually had Latin American-ish food, and they don’t seem particularly Latin American to me, but they’re delicious, so I never questioned it).  I had all the ingredients, and decided to go for it (in half-recipe form as I almost always do these days) and was I ever glad I did!

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This was a pretty standard dinner of potato kugel, sauteed zucchini, cheddar cheese, and some fresh tomatoes.  It reminded me so much of home, though that I couldn’t help but take a photo.

 

That’s about all I’ve got for now!  The heartburn has been attacking big-time lately, which makes it hard to sleep, and when it’s not heartburn, it’s plain old insomnia and/or early hours construction work, so I’ve been really, really, really tired.  But I hear it’s all par for the course, and I try my best to just get on with things.  After this weekend, I think things will slow down for a bit, so I can slowly get more baby things together, relax a bit, and maybe take more naps!

It actually seems as though the jackhammering has been finished while I took the time to post this, so maybe even a short nap before meeting Andreas for some shopping.  That way I can possibly (possibly) stay awake for a game of Settlers tonight, as Andreas’s sister is staying with us over the weekend!