Thursday, December 30, 2010

Moving and Growing

It is hard to believe that yesterday marked 26 weeks. I am clearly showing and I was a bit nervous about how people would respond to that while I was traveling by myself. I got a doctor's note just in case but never needed to use it. I'm also thankful that both flights were smooth and I got through customs without any extra questions.

It's getting harder and harder to keep the name a secret as I am often asked what we picked. I've taken to telling people the name is Top Secret as in Top for the first name and Secret for the middle name. It will be interesting to see if our first child gives our second child a name like Dot (the name my cousin's son gave his sister due in May) so we can just talk about that name. Other than Top Secret, Will and I have not found a nickname we like. I don't know if I like Top Secret either, but it gets the point across that we want the name to be a surprise.

I love using my daughter's name when talking to Will but I have to be careful around all the visitors that are coming around now. She is getting so big and strong I can feel her rolling around now. Will has enjoyed the extra strength kicks he has felt since I returned to the UK. Baby girl is quite active which is keeping my mind at ease and helping me avoid purposefully "counting kicks" since I notice more than 4 most hours.

Our next milestone - starting birthing classes next week. Hopefully, after the class, I will be able to give a lot more detail on what this crazy hypnobirthing is all about.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A White Christmas

I made it home to Leeds on my third attempt. Europe is covered in snow but there is not much in the city. About 20 hours after my arrival in Leeds, Will's family arrived on their first attempt and we had pizza and spaghetti for lunch before hoping on a train to Newcastle and Slaley Hall. The day was about to get a bit confusing as they had cancelled our train due to "adverse weather conditions" up north. Despite the extra transfer, we made it to Slaley Hall on time and were impressed by the grounds. 1,000 acres and many lodges surrounded a castle looking structure that was actually built in the early 1900s. We had time to unpack and rest a bit before our late dinner and midnight (Anglican) service which actually started at 11 - no wonder they wanted us on the bus at 10:15! The service seemed very close to a Catholic mass until the homily when the pastor talked about being in bed with his wife and woken up by kids at 6am. It was interesting to see and we also got a Catholic mass in on Sunday morning.

Christmas came very early and I got spoiled by my darling husband who got me many more gifts than I was expecting including a beautiful snow globe I had wanted. My parents were also quite generous and snuck some gifts into my suitcase that Will's family had brought for me so I didn't have to carry/roll anything heavy. His parents got us leather gloves from Italy and mine perfectly match the hat I bought before our Paris trip.

We went for a lovely walk around the grounds during the day and then got ready for the big meal at 3pm. I even got to video chat with my family before we sat down to eat. It was magical and white with snow, but it just didn't feel like Christmas. Jet lag and being in a different country really made it hard for me to remember what day it was. The fact that the English celebrate even more the next day didn't help.

On boxing day (26th of December), we went to mass and walked around Hexham. We walked into a few shops and I bought a couple postcards for my collection. Then we took a taxi back to the hall and I took a wonderful nap. Then I went to the pool which was more like a big bath. My belly really liked the weightless feeling and I just stood around for 40 minutes enjoying the comfort of standing up in water.

After fitting into a non-maternity dress, we walked down to reception where people enjoyed a buck fizz (their term for memosa) and I got a glass of OJ. We were walked to the ballroom and shown our table. We sat by a man originally from Leeds who moved to Romania and worked for Cadbury until they got bought by Kraft. He told us a few places we must go and was yet another person who did not believe me when I gave my due date - my belly is huge he said. That just means my baby is growing big and strong and it must be all in the belly :-D

The ball included some dancing and gambling with fun money. The top two winners got a prize, but no money was actually exchanged. I did awful at blackjack but got lucky a number of time with roulette - 22 is still my number! It was fun, especially since I didn't lose any real money.

The next day I got to sleep in a bit before breakfast and checkout. We then took a taxi to the station and found out a lot of the rail staff were on strike! After checking the schedules we saw that our route was not affected this time and we made it home in plenty of time for dinner and some relaxation.

Now my husband is out playing tour guide and I got a few hours to myself. This is the life!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

And I finally got my Christmas wish. My flights went amazingly well and baby girl didn't seem to mind too much about being in the air that long - I even got a bit of sleep overnight. I pampered myself and took a cart in Amsterdam so I would be sure not to get a cramp from walking 20 minutes in a huge airport with luggage and the person who sat next to me during the flight took my bigger bag and carried it to customs where I said I could handle wheeling it around.

Customs was my next big obstacle. Were they going to accuse me of living with my husband (technically not allowed without a visa) or would they trust that I'm a visitor at his place? Well the guy I got must be in the Christmas spirit and didn't question me at all. I also never needed to use my doctor's note and was only asked by one passenger if I was afraid to fly being pregnant and all.

In the end, I am relieved to be back in England and I even beat Will home from work since customs was so fast! I decorated with Christmas cards we received at my parents' house before I left and I found a gift that was left by St. Nick so I got to open it when Will came home - I new nativity set! More decoration for our little apartment. Now I'm not so sad we don't have a tree, especially since there is one in the lobby and we are heading north for the actual holiday.

Well I have said quite enough about my travels. Will and I wish you all a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! I'll have to make sure to take another picture sometime during all the Christmas festivities so I can get an updated one up here. After all, I am now over 25 weeks and the belly is starting to get much rounder :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seasoned Traveler

At least I consider myself one now. I have traveled alone across the ocean and had to change flights coming and now going. I hope to leave tomorrow and make it to London where I will become more of a seasoned traveler by taking the tube (subway, metro) to the train station in order to reach my final destination. I also feel like a more adult traveler since Will and I did a pretty good job in a country that speaks a foreign language and even used the metro to get everywhere - no expensive taxis needed.

The good news in all of this is that I never had to spend the night in Amsterdam and my wonderful in-laws will be taking most of my luggage for me since they arrive within 72 hours of me reaching Leeds.

The bad news is that the stress of changing flights again, being away from my darling husband and being 24+ weeks pregnant has left me a bit emotional the last few days and I surrendered to my root beer float craving justifying that the all natural ice cream I bought was good dairy for me :-D

I can't complain too much since I got to see a close friend, go to a white elephant Christmas party, visit my grandma and sing in the choir because I missed my flight. Even so, here's hoping my next update comes from Leeds!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Winter Weather

I seem to be staying in areas with unusually cold weather. Many school kids were happy to have two snow days while I was again stuck barely being able to get where I needed to go - the doctor. I had my 24 week appointment while at home and made it through the glucose test for gestational diabetes. I don't have the results yet, but at least I didn't get a headache from the sugary solution I drank!

For all those still holding out for twins, I got more confirmation that I will just be having one this time. When I was measured I was actually at 23 weeks. That is considered
within the normal range and shows that, while I may carry most of the extra weight in my belly, I am not carrying an extra person than expected.

My baby is now over a foot in length and a pound in weight. She is developing her taste buds and the lungs and brain are quickly developing as well. She can also hear and feel movement from me. I haven't done any dancing with her yet but she seems to enjoy mom's singing - especially at church. With all that growing, I have noticed much more activity all day long. It has been a blessing feeling the movements and being reminded of the miracle inside. Some family members have even had the privilege of being some of the first to feel her kicks from the outside.

While I was braving winter weather once again, Will was spending the weekend in Dublin. He got to work for a bit in the Dublin office and then attend their Christmas party. The strange thing about it - no spouses were there. Luckily, I was nowhere near the event to be offended at the lack of invitation. He had fun but suffered a head cold and has had a rough week so far because of it. I just glad I'm not around to catch it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Home Visit

I have been home for almost a week and can't believe how fast it has gone. Mom and baby made it through the flight with no complaints and living in my childhood bed has been a comfort while being away from my husband who actually needed to work these two weeks.

Will's co-workers are taking care of him and invited him out last weekend. He's also joined them for lunch and I'm sure a drink or two after work - happy to not have a pregnant wife complain about his breath (the smell has been making me nauseous since my pregnancy started). He flew to Dublin today and is working there and then attending the Google Christmas party. I'm excited to see pictures of that event. Will has also become an expert at the combo washer/dryer and even did ironing! What a good boy staying on top of things!

I on the other hand have had barely enough time to sleep. I've visited my grandma in the nursing home a few times - she's getting stronger every day! Saw some good friends and even spent the day with my sister when she took time off work so she could make the drive to our area! I did make time for a massage which was amazing. I laid on this contraption that allowed me to lie right on my stomach without squishing baby. Whoever invented that is a genius.

A few people have felt movement even, but it's not what I would call a strong kick. After all, my baby only weighs about a pound, she can't hurt you with her kicks. She is also stuck on English time so, instead of her midday workout, she's been waking me up at 6:30 or 7 nearly every morning with all her activity. That's not a complaint though - it's so exciting feeling her move and realizing even more how connected we are.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Wonderland

We have just witnessed a rare "treat" in England - snow in November. I was told by a local that this has not happened in at least 17 years. It is beautiful and not too cold but you can definitely tell it is winter. The streets in Leeds are decorated with lights, so it is easy to be reminded that the advent season has started. What a great time to wait for the birth of Christ the King.

And wait I did! I spent a total of 11 hours away from home traveling to, sitting in, and leaving from the airport. While I could complain about the lack of information - including the fact that the airport had completely closed while my flight still simply said delayed - I will write more about the positive. I met some nice people that were supposed to be on the flight with me. The company helped pass the time and keep my stress level down. I was given a free dinner and I was able to cut in the taxi line and join a group that was headed in the same direction. That means I was home for a second late dinner and the mulled wine party at our complex where I ate mince pie for the first time ever.

I am home with my husband, not on my way home to the rest of my family, but I am happy to be home. I am currently on hold (34 minutes and counting) with the airline to figure out what is going to happen whether it be a change in itinerary or a refund. I will keep people updated with the details when I have some.