Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paris - C'est l'amour

Will and I just spend a fabulous 4 days in Paris. It was strange not being part of a large Thanksgiving celebration but, even so, we enjoyed the holiday. We started by being thankful for the growing little one and started our baby registry! Will wanted to help me pick out some of the big things and so that's how we spent the time in England before our train left. In London we got a panini with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce and felt like it was a bit of a Thanksgiving dinner even if it was small and missing mashed potatoes.

In Paris, Will was impressed by my French which was mostly unneeded. I'm still pretty good at asking where important things are (like our hotel, a street or a bathroom) and shopping/ordering food; however, most people heard my English accent and answered in English even if I had asked in French - so my French speaking stopped at that point with most people.

We were able to see the Mona Lisa before the crowds came in on Friday and walked to the Arc de Triomphe while snow fell and we passed Christmas shops. We stopped into one designer store when the snow fell hard for 15 minutes and pretended I was really interested in a 300e wallet. We saw the Eiffel Tour at night and Notre Dame on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Speaking of Notre Dame - that is where I got to go to Mass! I can't believe I got to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent in such a significant church - it was beautiful! Monday a lot of things were closed so we just walked around, got a final crepe treat and made our way back to England - where there is snow!

Once we arrived in London we found out our train was cancelled because of inclement weather. We had to make an extra transfer on a different train but made it home at about 11 where it was snowing with maybe an inch on the ground. We loved our time in Paris, but it was good to sleep in a more familiar and comfy bed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone at home enjoys a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. I'm going to miss so much about it - seeing family and eating mashed potatoes to name a few. I would say I'm going to miss watching the Lions game and I will if they actually pull out the unlikely win.

I'm thankful for this time abroad to learn and support my husband who loves his job and is working hard. I'm thankful that, even though I'm not home enjoying the holiday with family, I will be having another trip of a lifetime in Paris until Monday. And most of all, I'm thankful for this precious life inside me that is getting more active by the day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Halfway There!

On Wednesday I reached the "halfway" mark of this pregnancy. It seems like another arbitrary milestone since I don't know when I will meet my little bundle of joy, but a nice milestone at that. It's hard to believe how much my life has changed in the first half and how much more I'll do in the second half.

In the first twenty weeks I have

Finished my summer job
Gone camping
Learned my husband got a job overseas
Moved into an apartment with only one closet - not much nesting to be done here
Visited York and London and many different places in Leeds
Gotten to know a lot of great people who work with Will
I've also felt the baby move a lot and the kicks are finally strong enough for Will to feel - and he did!

In the second twenty weeks I will

See the musical Beauty and the Beast
Go to Paris
Fly home to visit family and friends
Stay in a castle/hotel near Newcastle, England for Christmas with my in-laws
Visit London and Bath with a friend
Visit Scotland?
Have my sister and parents visit
Fly home with my parents
Watch the spoiling of my daughter start at a baby shower
Hopefully find a place to live so I can finally start nesting there

Wow, I have a lot to look forward to in the next twenty weeks! And here is something I know a few of you have been waiting for - the 20 wk picture of me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

York Pictures

I posted about our York trip a while ago but never got the pictures off our camera. Now that I have finally done that, here are some highlights:

The wall that was built around the city. Most of it is underground and it was used by Englishmen and Vikings depending on the time period - never seemed to work very well.

The River Ouse

Ruins of a Catholic Church - apparently there were many churches in York and not all got converted to the Church of England - this is one of them

Beautiful Ice Cream Parlor where we stopped for a delicious snack

The tree that made us realize it actually is fall. There aren't many trees changing colors and losing their leaves in Leeds. It was fun to walk through the leaves in York.

York Abbey

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ultrasound Pic

You can tell we took a picture of the picture - sorry for the glare from the flash. This picture gives a clear view of the head in profile and one of her legs. We saw those legs kicking away on Friday and they must be getting stronger because the taps I have been feeling for the past week or two have just increased to kicks that can actually move out my stomach. I hope dad gets to feel them soon!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The wait is over

Friday was a glorious day! Will got good news at work and I had to wait all day for mine. We went to the hospital for our ultrasound that was planned for 5:50 but weren't seen until after 6:40! Why the hold up? I was so anxious/excited about the scan that our baby seemed to know something was about to happen. As I continued to wait, the excited kicks got stronger as our baby prepared for the first picture.

When it was finally my turn, I learned why my doctor was so far behind schedule. All the babies he'd pictured that day had been in bad positions. Our baby wasn't any different. He couldn't get a look at the spine. So I was told to go back to the waiting room and drink MORE water while he scanned the next patient. This made the waiting even longer, but I didn't care at this point. I saw so many beautiful pictures! I didn't know you could watch all four ventricles of the heart beating away. All the measurements came back normal for 19 weeks which is precisely where I'm at right now. I couldn't be more excited, wait, yes I could. Boy or girl?

That was not determined in the first session either. I had to wait while my bladder became increasingly full and the suspense continued. When back in the ultrasound room I found out that the full bladder worked. My baby had moved and we got a number of good looks at the spine and *ahem* other parts. Our baby was kicking away and enjoying the photo shoot not bothering to be modest at all. Yet still, my doctor did not want to say definitively boy or girl. I guess it is a bit harder to positively identify a girl because it is just a lack of seeing male anatomy. However, the fact that I have felt quite strongly all along and we got good views with no "extra bits" according to my doctor, I am reasonably certain we will welcome a baby girl in the spring.

I am not certain enough to want to buy a lot of girl things, nor do I want everything girly or even have a place to store them at the moment. This may be another surprising moment in motherhood - who knows. And as a side note, yes it was my OB that performed the scan and not a technician. I found that quite interesting because I've always seen a technician for ultrasounds in the past and met with the doctor later. It was kind of nice having both those appointments moved into one - especially when paying out of pocket.

Look, I said something nice about national health care (even though my particular dr is private, so I'm not 100% sure this is how other women experience their scans).

Well, I don't have the best technology over here so I'm sorry no pics of the baby quite yet. I hope to post some soon along with the ever growing bump. Somehow, in all the excitement of the weekend, we never took the time to get a good picture of me. By 20 wks (Wed) I promise - a picture will be up!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Yesterday Will and I went to a football game. It was exciting and ended in a score of 2-2. The stadium was uncovered and it was close to freezing so most of us were bundled up in hats and gloves with some of the more extreme fans painting chests and going without some of those layers.
It was an interesting experience because I admittedly do not know all the rules for the game. I did know the rule that once you are out of the game - you're out. No subbing back in later. I didn't realize that if you fall and the trainer comes to check on your injury you don't have to go out, just run to the sideline until you feel like signaling the official you're ready and he will wave you back in. In the meantime, don't take too long because your team is playing without you or anyone to take your place. I thought that was quite unusual. I will also never understand the ref's calls on free kick v. yellow card. It's so subjective - I would never choose to officiate a football game!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Birth Plan

Life in Leeds has been quite laid back for me the past few days. Over the weekend we relaxed and I met 7wk old Izabel (sp?) at a gathering on Saturday with some work friends. The moms left early while I stayed and became my husband's good luck charm, which involved a very important rest on the couch until past midnight, who won at poker. Other exciting news - we now have reliable internet! We even watched the Lions on our computer, which was exciting until about the last 40 seconds of regulation.

That being all the English news for now, I thought I would write a bit about our plans for the upcoming birth of our child.

Will and I both like to go natural routes when possible so we knew we wanted to look into something like that for my labor; however, when starting the search I had no idea we would end up choosing the method we have. I guess I am one to believe in signs and the signs led me somewhere I was not expecting. I have heard and know people that have used the Bradley Method with success. I was also told what book to find to read up on the topic
and that was the top of my to do list. Only one problem - none of the bookstores I went to had the Bradley book and the Hypnobirthing book kept jumping out from the shelves at me. So I had to read it to round out my research. I ended up borrowing a copy of the book written by Dr. Bradley as well.

To my complete surprise, I found myself leaning toward the hypnobirthing method, but was unsure at my first prenatal appointment. I talked with my Dr. about living overseas and about coming back to give birth in Michigan. That led to a discussion on methods and we talked about how we wanted a natural birth and knew people who used the Bradley method. Our Dr. acknowledged that method but brought up the hypnobirthing method as well. What a coincidence!

After some further consideration we decided on hypnobirthing as our plan. It is more popular in the UK so we were able to find a class nearby (about 15 mins by car). It is also quite different than my initial perception. I do not get hypnotized into missing the event as a way to elude pain. I do learn relaxation exercises (through lots of practice) and ways to work with my body as labor progresses so that I am in tune with all the changes that will be taking place. There is also an emphasis on preparation which is necessary so I'm in shape for the special physical event that labor truly is. I have exercises that must be completed and nutrition guidelines, though not as strict or specific as the Bradley diet. The other big difference in this method is the absence of pushing. Instead of having strong pushes at the end of labor, I will be utilizing a special kind of breathing to breathe the baby down. This part is probably the hardest for me to wrap my head around because it is really far away from mainstream, but upon reading a lot it makes sense. If you want to understand that part, I would read the book because I will not be eloquent enough to make a strong point.

Some more concrete aspects of our birth plan have to do with location. Plan A is for me to fly home in February so I have plenty of time before the baby comes and my husband will be home in March. We will give birth in a hospital so that any special circumstances can be handled quickly. If those circumstances arise, we are open to having a much different birth than our planned natural one. Plan B involves the scenario of my not being allowed to fly when the time comes and staying in England. Again, we will be in a hospital under the care of my UK ob/gyn with the intention of using hypnobirthing throughout labor and birth.

Well I tried to be clear and concise but welcome any questions you might have on the method or more on why we chose it (quite possibly the topic of a future post) let me know. Otherwise I look forward to posting once we have baby's first picture on Friday evening. Will and I are quite excited for this particular milestone in my pregnancy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bonfire Night

Today is a big day in Britain called Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes day. It is a really interesting holiday that some compare to our 4th of July. There are definitely fireworks for both celebrations.

Today Britains celebrate what didn't happen. Guy Fawkes loaded the basement of parliament with gun powder to blow up the building and start a Catholic revolt to the Protestant government. Fawkes was caught and an execution was planned, but he jumped and broke his neck before they got the chance. The capital was saved! So how do you celebrate an even like that? You burn a dummy of Fawkes on your big bonfire and view fireworks. I'm told one area still burns a dummy of the pope to symbolize that the Protestants won. It is quite interesting to hear people talk about this holiday that confuses me a bit. Guy Fawkes was from York so when we went last week we heard a little more about his story and saw the protestant church where he was baptized.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's a date

Part of my to do list for today was to schedule my 20 wk scan. Here they are pretty strict about having the scan right at 20 weeks. Apparently my doctor only does scans on Fridays so I convinced them to let me go the Friday before 20 wks. I will have my scan Friday evening on Nov 12th. That's only 11 days away! I can't wait to have baby's first picture.

In other news, we went to York on Saturday. It is only a 25 minute train ride and the city has a lot of history and museums. We didn't go into any museums because we took a 2 hour walking tour in the morning. Our tour guide was a character and explained to us in more detail about bonfire night (coming up this Friday) when people celebrate that Parliament almost got blown up but didn't. Apparently the person that put the gun powder in place was baptized in York. It was a beautiful town with some beautiful gardens. It felt more like fall walking around there with leaves on the ground. I've gone to a park in Leeds with a few trees but not enough to get the fall feeling.

Yes, the English celebrated Halloween last night, but we didn't. I felt a bit under the weather Sat and Sun so we relaxed and tried to catch up on Bones. So far we have been able to get through 2 1/2 episodes while here. I'm so glad I got to see the season premier before we left and it is the one show I hope to catch up on when I return home. While I was resting Will booked a hotel for our Paris trip. We will be "celebrating" Thanksgiving by seeing the Mona Lisa and Eiffel Tower.

Pictures to come from our York trip