Monday, January 31, 2011

Life Back in Leeds

I have decided that, other than going home again, I am done traveling distances more than an hour. At nearly 31 wks my body is starting to force me to slow down and travel less. Well I actually listened to it this weekend. We stayed put right in the city center.

Friday we had pizza and drinks with some of the guys and Saturday we taught a couple how to play Euchre. For my non-Michigan readers that is a popular card game in my area. It was nice to actually be an expert on something as opposed to trying to follow shop talk or other UK topics. Earlier that day we also saw the movie Tangled. I know it came out back in Nov or early Dec for the states, but this was the opening weekend here. I do not understand release dates in the UK. Some are timed close to the states and some are months behind. It was a good movie though and I'm glad I finally got to see it.

Sunday we went to church, went out for a Sunday roast and then just relaxed. It was easy to do in my apartment that had been cleaned and organized the day before. After all, I have to get some of my nesting out here so I am distracted from the fact that all my stuff is in boxes in multiple places back home with no apartment to move them to when I return - at least not yet. I've scouted out two nice apartments (from what I can tell online) that I might try to sign a lease on this week with the help of my friend/temporary room mate and mom. I'm excited to have a home with closets to go to in the states, hopefully that gets taken care of soon.

The count down has begun - 26 days until I travel to the states. About 26 days after that my husband returns home. Less than 26 days after that we meet our precious bundle of joy! How exciting!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hypnobirthing in Daily Life

As my family mourns a loss, I find I don't have a lot to post as far as updates go. Scotland was a good distraction to the fact that I could not go home. I wanted to write about how great it was to have my cousin there showing us around. I wouldn't have seen much without him there and it was nice to be with some family over the weekend.

Today was our last hypnobirthing class. Now we are on our own to practice. We've already done a lot of practicing this past week. Sometimes on my own and many times with the help of Will prompting me. We have done this more out of necessity than as good students. Pregnancy hormones make it easy to get upset over nothing and this week has been a lot more than nothing. I have found the relaxation techniques to be a big help in keeping my body (and hopefully baby) mostly calm even if my mind is grieving with my family over the loss. Granted, even all that information has not stopped a few tearful moments. Even so, I am grateful for the knowledge and now out of words to say. I hope everyone from home excuses my lack of updates for a while knowing that top secret and I are still doing well health wise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A bit of Scotland

Two years ago my cousin got into vet school there and is finishing his second year now. Before he left of course I said I would come visit, but thought that would not necessarily happen - Scotland being so far away from Michigan. Well I lived up to my statement last weekend! Friday morning Will and I got up super early (as in before 7) to catch a train to Glasgow.

My cousin was wonderful and even gave up his room so Will and I could sleep on an actual bed - much appreciated by me and my stomach :-) He also showed us around Glasgow and Edinburgh. We got to hear about his classes, life as an international student, his travels and Scotland. There were a number of things we didn't end up seeing, but Edinburgh was beautiful and we made it to some wonderful views even if we didn't walk all the way to some of the landmarks. We even got home from Edinburgh in time to put on American football and watch the Packers beat the Bears.

By Monday morning when we boarded a train home I was exhausted and ready for a day off from lots of walking. I did some laundry and took a nap finally summoning the energy to meet Will where he was having a drink with a co-worker so we could have another day off from cooking. Today I get another day off besides a quick trip to the grocery store. Have to thank Europe for forcing me to make sure I get the needed walking exercise every day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

29 weeks in numbers

29 wks pregnant and I won't get started on how weird everyone is about counting pregnancy

7 wks until my first baby shower

3 transatlantic flights completed, 1 to go

4 visitors to the UK, 4 to come

3 days until my trip to visit Scotland. My doctor was excited about this and not concerned in the least (he is from Scotland)

3 months spent in the UK, 1 month traveling outside and 1 month until home

2 - the number of times I actually did a kick count, my little girl moves all the time so I don't have to consciously think about or worry over her movement habits :-)

1 month to spend on a different continent from my husband (I will have his voice on tape for our relaxation exercises)

Countless ounces of milk consumed throughout

4 strange food cravings I will not give in to - taco bell, pop, oreos and doritos
Many more that I have - Italian food, chocolate, smoothie, etc

1 new and strange pregnancy symptom - carpel tunnel on my right wrist. Good thing I'm left handed! And luckily it comes and goes so I don't always feel pain.


1 amazing husband to take care of me and top secret throughout the 40 wks whether on the same couch as us or across the world. He won't say yes just to please me, like if I have an oreo craving, but he has done a lot to make sure I am comfortable, relaxed and above all healthy! My least favorite part of that - fish dinners to get in my Omega-3s and other nutrients so vital in the third trimester. Tough love - good practice for when top secret doesn't want to eat any veggies I guess.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hypnobirthing and NFP

With this pregnancy, I feel I have made another decision that was so natural for Will and I but so contrary to popular belief/understanding of how to go about things. In a way it is similar to our use and teaching of NFP. In theory it is so simple and pretty easy to use once you understand the way it works but in reality it is so hard to believe in right away. You could say the same things about both practices: it's too simple and easy to work in real life and sure, it works for the perfect couple maybe but not for me because of "x."

I am halfway through the classes so I thought I would write down my thoughts so far. After hearing about Bradley classes being 12 weeks and pretty intense about exercises and preparation, I thought I would be in for some draining classes. I'm not a night person so learning from 6-9pm is not usually my idea of a good time. Put on top of that a long week of sightseeing and hosting a guest I was a bit tired and unmotivated to bring my best effort. My instructor picked up on that right away - oops!

Will and I both came out of that class knowing we truly had made the right decision. Right away the instructor had us final private corners to practice relaxation exercises and came over to me to see what was wrong. After talking about my low blood pressure (and occasional dizziness) and told her the real problem - the fear that I will be on a different continent from my birth companion (Will) when the time comes. Well that is something I'm going to have to work on but can't in a simple post like this so moving on...

Later in the class I was the guinea pig and the instructor demonstrated a deepening exercise on me while everyone else watched. Even though this is hypnosis, it is not taking my will or control out of the situation and here are some reason why I know that to be true.
  • I knew I was in front of people so instead of being relaxed enough to basically drool and look like an idiot I snapped out of it enough to close my mouth.
  • When she tried to give me positive messages about my husband being there, I snapped out of it again because I'm really having a hard time with that one
  • If my lips are chapped, I come out of it wanting some chapstick or if I'm thirsty some water
Through these exercises I have a deeper knowledge of what is going on in my body and my free will is still in tact. I can feel our baby girl more and in more detail while doing these exercises. They definitely help.

The first real test ended up being last night. I was upset over something which, due to some pregnancy hormones, was an awful end of the world scenario like when you run out of chocolate ;-) I knew I was over reacting but that did not stop the tears. I knew I should calm down and not upset our baby by my fit but I couldn't bring myself to do that on my own. My darling husband made up a relaxation script on the spot and I felt my body go limp with relaxation. If he can stop my raging tears right in the middle, I'm sure he can keep me relaxed when our baby comes.

The big difference to all other natural methods is at the "pushing" stage which we don't do. Instead we breathe the baby out using basically the opposite of a pelvic floor exercise. Instead of breathing up we breathe down. It is true that women get a natural urge to "push" down when the baby is ready to come, but it is not necessary to become purple faced from pushing like they do on tv. I watched women breathe and grunt the baby out without the forceful pushing that is so common today. I'm glad we chose this method so I won't have to do that or train for a marathon birth.

To wrap up, hypnobirthing just seems too simple to be true. It's all about relaxation and releasing fear. I watched tapes of women birthing and they talked about feeling pressure but no pain. Like I said, too simple to be true right? I'm sure many of you will still think that, but I am convinced. It has helped me already and I can't wait to have a calm birth.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

London, Bath, York and Visitors

January 4th came around quickly and another visitor arrived. After she fought the jetlag for a few days and I attended the first hypnobirthing class with Will we left for a girls' weekend in London and Bath. I did surprisingly well with all the walking and sightseeing. We saw royal London the first day after checking in to our amazing hotel room. The second day in London we went to Hampton Court Palace where my friend helped me memorize all of Henry VIII's six wives.

We made it to Paddington station the third day to get to Bath and toured the Roman baths. Bath is a beautiful city and I enjoyed it much more than crowded and massive London. We made it up for church and a Jane Austen tour on Sunday before heading back to Leeds. The only complaint about Bath is the huge hill to get to church. It wore me out and I sat through a lot of the Mass while I recovered.

Amazingly, none of our trains were rerouted and we made all our stops easily. I think that is the only trip I can say this about. Once in Leeds we relaxed a bit and did ordinary daily things and errands Monday and Wednesday while Will worked. On Tuesday we traveled to York, got a tour of the city and the abbey. It was a nice visit and I'm glad some people have been able to make the long trip. Next visitors arrive in less than 4 weeks :-D

On another note, I am entering the third trimester and am now halfway through the hypnobirthing classes. They are very relaxing and comforting. The big "to do" now is to find a way to record Will's voice so I can practice during the time we are apart. The baby is moving all the time now and it is only increasing the anticipation to meet her. Can't wait. In the meantime, I'm happy to give her a safe place to live and grow. Here is what we look like

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year

New Year's was a blast. We all dressed up for a fancy party with a three course (plus coffee) meal and a Queen Tribute Band. I'm not a hardcore fan, so I thought they were good while my brother-in-law had some complaints about the playlist and butchering of one of the harder songs. They may not have been as good as Queen, but it was entertaining. When they finished a dj continued the music well past the new year.

We requested a few salsa songs and I didn't do too bad - big belly and everything. There were a few steps where I was not quite as graceful, but it was fun anyway. Then Sweet Home Alabama came on and I decided someone HAS to line dance to that song. So I started a line dance and Will joined me. It was just the two of us the whole time. I don't think they know line dancing in the UK and someone was so impressed he came up to us and commented on our awesome dance moves :-)

After the party we watched True Lies though I didn't make it very far and I vaguely heard the alarm go off at 3:45am for my in-laws to catch their taxi to the airport for their 6am flight. The next couple days I didn't see much of the morning. Glad we went to Saturday evening mass because I would have missed the Sunday services.

Despite all the fun holiday activities, I have started to realize just how close I am to meeting my lovely daughter. She is getting more and more active and my belly is getting bigger and bigger. I have less than two months in the UK and can't believe I will be flying at 34 1/2 wks along. What I found even more shocking is that Will plans on coming home March 24 after I have reached 38 wks. When did I agree to this? I had a pregnancy moment meltdown and reiterated that I will not see the movie Due Date for fear of Will not flying home in time - someone tell me Robert Downey Jr gets there for the delivery.

I'm glad I didn't dwell on the dates too much when we chose to come because I could make myself sick thinking about what ifs. Will and I followed where we felt God was leading us and whatever happens will be okay. In the meantime, might as well enjoy living here a while longer and hosting many visitors. One comes today in about an hour! So excited :-D