Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Comments and Books

Have I stated that we only have one closet? We have two people, one apartment and one closet. We don't have a dresser and our tv cabinet only has 4 drawers - one for socks, one for things left behind for others, and two that are almost too small to use. So I need to be careful about what I get right?

I've bought two scarves so I have accessories with European flair and...10 books. We don't have a bookcase! Now I guess you see where my weakness is in shopping. In my defense, the books I got today totaled 7 bucks (slang for pounds which is quite convenient since its a term I'm used to using) and that was for 2 paperback and 2 hardcover. I had to get the Paddington treasury to teach my husband and baby about the bear who traveled and lived in London! Now how am I going to get them all home? I might not, but Paddington comes for sure! Hopefully some of my visitors don't mind leaving a bit of room for my little treasures.

As for new comments, someone graciously told me that my comment preferences were not what I thought and you needed an account. That is no longer necessary so everyone can comment!

My new questions: what to get the lovely girls at the front desk and apartment cleaners for Christmas. They have been such a great help and I want to show I appreciate them but I don't know what to give. Any ideas?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Only one ultrasound?!

The OB specialist I saw on Monday was shocked I didn't get a 12 wk scan. It is standard procedure in the UK and used to date the pregnancy; however, with the help of NFP I pretty much have that covered. I chose not to get a 12 wk ultrasound because I'm not concerned about the things they test for by comparing the 12 wk with the 18-20 wk scans. I know there is a possibility that my baby could be positive on any of those tests, but I'm happy to have a baby either way. I'm also the type to stress out over things and a false positive would definitely do more harm than good.

I am happy with my decision and can't wait for the one ultrasound I do get. Baby's first picture! This pregnancy is a huge blessing and I want all the doctors to feel the same way. I find it quite ironic that if the pregnancy was planned you are told to start bonding with your baby early while still in the womb. I get emails about how my baby can respond to my touch and to light if shone directly on my belly. The baby is moving, living and growing inside of me and I am still in disbelief that it could be true - but so excited that it is. On the other hand, if I found out in two weeks that my baby had any kind of abnormality, I would be given advice and information on how termination procedures work. What happened to the baby I was bonding with? I didn't want to hear any of that information.

I went to church today for the anniversary of the abortion act in this country. The act is not quite as open as America but does give the exception that if there are "abnormalities" termination can occur at any point before birth. Below is a link about prenatal testing and what a couple people think about it. Something to think about today...

This is a test...

... to see who is actually reading my blog. I want comments that contain answers. It's quite easy to comment. Just click where it says 0 comments (or however many I've gotten so far), write in the box and hit post comment. You don't need an account to participate.

So I wanted to come up with some great, thought-provoking questions but none seem super exciting. Instead I will ask a practical one so you can help me answer when I meet new people.

What is your favorite thing about America?
How would you describe a stereotypical American (or midwesterner, Michigander, etc)?
What is your stereotype of British people?

I was asked all of these questions and more when I met some of Will's co-workers for dinner and it took me a while to remember some stereotypes of the British. So here is your chance to get involved in the blog world - what are some answers you would give?

Monday, October 25, 2010

English Culture

Another weekend spent in Leeds was quite relaxing. I'm starting to feel more a part of the place as I listen to the news and realize I can walk around town without getting lost. Last week was a big week for Britain as 83 billion pounds was cut from the budget. That is a huge percentage of their overall budget and, quite predictably, people are rather upset. The media has been enjoying all the negative public opinion and one report even went on to criticize the leader of the current government for being a closet smoker. It was interesting to hear the reports since the cuts are being made a few years after the government tried to spend its way out of a recession. Does that sound a bit familiar?

It has also been nice to go to a parish and read the weekly bulletin. I found out that this Wednesday is a day of national prayer and fasting (I will be keeping the tv off instead of going without food) for the 47th anniversary of the Abortion Act which made it legal to have an abortion up to 28 wks (later reduced to 24 weeks); however, there are exceptions for physical and mental health of the mother - I wonder if they interpret that as loosely as they do in the US. There has been debate of reducing the cut off to 22 or even 20 weeks and I found some good pro-life websites. All in all, it seems pretty similar to the U.S. especially when it comes to having access to the morning-after pill which was recently released to online sales if I read correctly (or still under debate). I find this interesting because everything is behind the counter in Europe. I had to stand in line to see the pharmacist in order to get hydrogen peroxide. How is it that anonymous people can just order something like that online but I can't get simple first aid supplies without talking to a pharmacist? I'm glad I read the bulletin so I could get interested in researching and maybe getting involved in some volunteering.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The doctor is in

My first UK prenatal (antenatal) appointment was today with a general practitioner. With the national system everything has to go through a GP even if you are going private. I guess that is similar to having a PCP in the states. I'm one of the lucky ones back home that gets to skip that step and go straight to the specialists like the obgyn of my choice. The GP did the regular check up and found the heartbeat quickly. The heartbeat was much stronger this time and easier to hear. Everything seems to be progressing as expected.

Now I have to meet with the specialist obgyn he referred me to before finally getting a scan. My next appointment is on Monday and, hopefully, that means I will have a date for the ultrasound by the end of that appointment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A bit of daily life

Yesterday I went to daily mass for the first time since moving to England. I feel so lucky to find this diamond of a church. There are 3 daily masses to choose from so I really don't have a valid excuse for skipping. But what is better is the fact that there is what looks to be a quite active young adult (20-35) group. I saw on the bulletin board that they get together most Thursdays so Will and I are planning to attend their social event tomorrow after the 5:30 pm mass. I found a way to meet some more people and I'm hoping that will turn into something so I don't get too lonely.

It's also quite nice to see an active Catholic parish in the area. I've found they are a bit hard to find in England. The first night we were here we were warned (or was it English humor?) that churches get vandalized and are not seen as the holy buildings they are around here. It may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there are signs posted all over warning church goers about thieves and pickpockets. You are not seen as an early exiter if you bring your purse with you to communion.

I'm hoping attending mass more often will help me get motivated in really figuring out why God wants me here and what I should do. That is the question I still can't answer. Before moving it was simple - well I can't work or study so I will find a volunteer opportunity and stay busy. After moving it got more complicated. My first priority was to find good food and then figure out which of that food my stomach would handle. Thank God for Italian pasta and milk. I practically live on that some days. With that handled I actually looked into volunteering, but it is hard to get signed up for something for just a couple months and I don't want to be one of the people standing in the shopping area asking for money.

So I'm still trying to figure out what God wants and so far he is only letting me know that I need to be supporting my husband. And, to be honest, some days I'm not even doing that really well as I just can't get past my upset tummy. I should be cooking more - I have all the time in the world and yet that is the one thing I really don't want to do. Although I'm well into the second trimester, I'm still waiting for the time when I'm not repulsed by the idea of cooking or eating most of the healthy foods I should be. My dear husband has been picking up the slack and making sure I eat well even if I don't like the menu. Monday he made salmon and broccoli for me because it is just so healthy! I managed to get myself to eat about half of the fish and all the broccoli and noodles. What a success :-) I also must say I love city life and the ability to pick from numerous restaurants whenever we both don't feel like cooking.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Update

This weekend we stayed put and had a lovely time. We went out to dinner with coworkers and their significant others. I'm so glad I had cereal right before leaving! We got to the original bar at 6:15 and moved to a restaurant for dinner at 8:45! I wasn't even the one complaining about being hungry though :-)

Saturday we visited the Royal Armories Museum. It is a great place with free admission. We stayed there for a couple hours and then walked back to the Corn Exchange. The Exchange is apparently an iconic building in the town that is now full of a fancy restaurant and shops. We looked around but ate across the street. Amazing stromboli with lots of spinach so I could feel healthy for me and the baby.

Sunday we found the church! There is a Catholic Cathedral downtown that seems quite active. There are a couple masses on Sundays at 3 times for daily mass. Hopefully I start making it to some of them. Sunday we also did some shopping (for food and books) and relaxing. It was a wonderful weekend in our new home.

Sunday we also successfully video chatted with some of my family at home. Hopefully this becomes more of a routine soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

baby bump pictures

14 1/2 wks

15 weeks

Both pictures were taken in the evening when Will is around to be photographer. I'm amazed how big the bump looks all of a sudden. We didn't take pictures earlier because you couldn't see anything. It may be just me, but I think there is definitely something there now right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

London Pictures

British Guard - can't imagine keeping the horse still for hours as well as yourself yikes!

Fountain in front of Buckingham Palace

Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace

St. Paul's Cathedral (Anglican but looks very Catholic)

The musical we saw

The train station

Moving, growing and changing

I'm so excited to start sharing baby news as I'm sure family and friends from home have been waiting for a while. I just couldn't bring myself to write about it until I knew I had a doctor. The first appointment is a week from today and soon after I will schedule my ultrasound which they simply call a scan.

I'm 15 weeks along which means my baby has been growing for 13 weeks and I have known for 11. I'm amazed I kept my big mouth shut on the internet and everyone else did the same - no FB leaks that I've discovered. I have quite recently developed a baby bump, but I still fit in my normal pair of jeans which amazes me. I only brought one non-maternity pair of pants to England and that is what I have been wearing most of the time. My little one is now about 4 inches long and weighs 2.5 ounces. Baby says that is about the size of an apple for
people who would like a visual. And here is another one:

Although I have not felt movement yet, my little one has been active for over a month and can move all limbs quite well. The eyes are still shut but can sense light. I'm told if I shine a flashlight at my bump the baby will swim away.

I get so excited when I see pictures of how a person, so tiny, looks so much like babies already born. I know the little life is already special and has been since conception. I am amazed at how much I learn about being a mom every day. The love and sacrifices come before you hear the cries. Though I have been lucky to not have severe sickness, I have struggled a bit and I'm finding it harder to sleep for more than a couple hours at a time. As long as that means the baby is growing happily, I'm quite alright with a little discomfort. It is teaching me to be more flexible in my time and priorities although I know the birth will include another huge wake up call in that regard.

I'm amazed the internet has let me write this much. I'll post this now and hopefully pictures by tomorrow :-D

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally, a doctor

There have been a number of speed bumps associated with moving to a new country. I've never lived outside of Michigan so it is a huge change for me. My family also knows that I have a picky stomach and don't usually like "foreign" food, even if it is not as exotic as moving to Mexico. I've learned to adapt and the glorious living arrangements have made it a bit easier. I'm so thankful for the Chambers and its staff that has given us an extremely warm welcome.

One of the biggest speed bumps, however, was actually finding a doctor. Shortly after interviewing for the job, and before an offer was given, we found out that we are expecting. Prayer and careful consideration led us to accept the offer once it was given which I found exciting. God will provide for us right? I am 15 weeks today and doing well even if I have had to suffer through some morning sickness. It wasn't until arriving that I realized how different national health care really is. You get assigned a doctor based on your postcode (like our zipcode). If you call an office outside of that area, they just say it's not our area and hang up. I know which one is in my area so that is where I am supposed to go right?

Wrong, because my husband is only working here for 6 months, they did not give me a visa. You are allowed to "visit" a country for up to 6 months but you can't "reside" there. What does this mean? I am not actually a resident at LS12SP - our postcode - and cannot take national health care. So go private right? That is very hard to find - there is one option. One practice is fully private and I finally got word that they'll take me! I have a doctor. This comes after calling doctors that take private insurance and NHS. Because they are part of the national plan they again asked my postcode and hung up.

This experience has made me even more thankful for Dr. Greene and the fact that I can easily choose to go to a doctor more than 1 mile away who holds the same beliefs I do. And if everything goes according to plan, I will be back in the states about 6 weeks before my due date so that he, or someone from his practice, can be the one to deliver the baby. Before everyone gets disappointed, my baby would not have dual citizenship if born in the UK. They don't have that policy and it would be past my allowed time to stay here if I did have the baby abroad.

Again, hopefully I will have pictures up soon. Beautiful shots of London and maybe one showing my slight baby bump.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A weekend in London

Will and I spent our first weekend in the UK getting to know our home city and this past weekend we took the train to London. It is the first "big" trip that I have been in charge of planning. Will organized our trip to Ireland and the Mediterranean almost exclusively so I was a bit nervous to do just as well as him. I think I was successful. Our hotel was within walking distance of the train station, the show on Drury Lane and a Catholic Church. We took a taxi from church to the beginning of our royal (free) walking tour.

Some highlights of the weekend were seeing the musical Oliver, walking past Buckingham Palace and through a beautiful park, seeing Big Ben, and watching street vendors. Unfortunately I did not meet the muffin man on Drury Lane or the queen in the palace as she was not there (as evidenced by the lack of the royal flag).

We hope to go to Paris soon and are trying to figure out what to do about Christmas.

In the meantime, I am trying to learn patience as the internet goes in and out all the time. I can't always email, call or blog about what I want. So the pictures will have to wait. I will try to post some when I get the chance and the internet stays around for long enough

Monday, October 4, 2010

Are you from the states love?

I just love the way Britains talk. I'm always so 'loved' by them. As we have continued exploring the city, we have noticed a few more things. This is definitely a university town with a very good nightlife and restaurant scene. We really lucked out on the food because outside the city we told it is awful. While walking around on Saturday we saw a lot of students walking around with buckets collecting money for breast cancer research. It seems like a lot of the volunteer work is done that way as I saw someone for red cross when leaving the supermarket.

Another volunteer was handing out comics and I thought I would ask more information. Since I opened my mouth, he figured out I'm from the states. When I said Michigan he said he loves it there. I'm shocked at how many people make it to the area. Our waiter on Friday night has a girlfriend in Toronto though he hasn't made it to Michigan yet, but he's been to 20 other states though - wow!

As a final side note, Will says I'm already starting to talk like the British - I think that would be fun, but I'm not trying. It will be an easy accent to pick up though since it is not one that involves leaving out letters.