Oh, baby! Feed

8:46am on your birthday, son

I'm sitting here at the computer reading my morning emails (something you will always see me do), sipping my one allowed cup of tea before surgery later this afternoon. It's Kusmi Mint Chocolate. A couple extra lumps of sugar for good measure, as my doctor prescribed.  I'm feeling you move around like you have done the last six months, re adjusting yourself. Trying to find space. Imagine in just over 5 hours, you'll be able to spread your legs out and stretch your full body while mom and dad look down at you in awe.  The impact you've made on my life is already awesome, I can't believe that I am going to finally get to hold you in my arms today. 

Your dad is still sleeping.  Trying to catch those last precious winks before we have to leave for the clinic.  I'm awake after a wink-less night, I couldn't stop thinking about you. Holding my belly, waiting for you to move one more time to remind me of this momentous period in my life. You obliged me all night long, giving me little tickles as I'd tickle you back.

I'm imagining all the places we will go and things we will do together. The stories I will tell you of your grandma in heaven who has been looking over us the last 9 months.  The laughter you will bring into our lives. The joy of just knowing you.  Happy Birthday, my son... today is your day. Mommy and Daddy are waiting for you.


Down to the wire

We are getting down to the wire and as I’ve known the date of our baby's arrival for a couple weeks now it seems my body has become attuned to that date and is preparing itself. I started having heavy cramps last night, which made me kinda frantic, like I couldn’t sit down for more than a few minutes, I kept puttering around the apt picking things up, cleaning things and throwing things away. It drove Julien bonkers, he said I was acting like I was out of my mind.  He sent me to the bathroom to take a hot shower. Things calmed down after that and then he put me to bed. I had really strange dreams last night and this morning I found that I had lost my mucus plug (Sorry, TMI!), which is a sign that things are moving right along. The cramps are back from yesterday, sporadic but very noticeable. But all this will be over and done with tomorrow afternoon right after 13h. We are so excited. We worked hard this weekend to put up shelves and organize things. I have one last task  to take care of today and that is putting away my clothes and knitting (done!!).  It’s hard to wait for something as big as the arrival of our baby.  The anticipation is just so tremendous... this is the biggest thing I've ever done in my life.

Tomorrow, I will be a mom.  Julien will be a dad. We will be three.

I wonder if I'll sleep tonight?  I have been obsess knitting for the last couple days. Anyone want a dishrag? :)  I think these will be great for bathing the babe when he gets home.  I feel like I should be doing something other than blogging right now. But there isn't anything to do really now...

Tomorrow, Julien and I will walk hand in hand to the clinic and welcome our son to this world.

Yeah, I'm so not sleeping tonight...


Want to know a sure fire way to go into labor in France?

Go and take care of something administrative at the Social Security office.

I've been on congé maternité since February 6th.  I was supposed to receive a payment from the social security at the end of the February. Well, February ended and nothing showed up.  I didn't worry too much about it since this is France and things take a little longer to happen.  Also, living in Paris, it seems like administrative offices take a bit longer to process things.  A week ago, Julien asked if I had been paid or not by the social security. I check my bank account and still nothing.  I started to sweat a little because this meant that I would have to call them to see what was going on. I hate calling administrative offices to ask questions.  I always seem to get the one person who doesn't know what's going on, or I end up being on hold listening to elevator music at 15 centimes the minute.  I think Julien saw the fear in my eyes and said he'd do it. Whew. Later that evening he came home with a short list of documents that my dossier was missing.  And that was why no payment had been  made. Why they didn't write a letter to tell us that something was missing?  We don't know.  And Julien and I had no idea that we were supposed to send in these specific documents either.

So, I ask the question. How are you supposed to know what to do and when?  I'll have an answer for you in just a second...

I had lunch with a friend today which motivated me to go to the Social Security office and complete my dossier.  I had to present myself in person because they do not take mail ins for this kind of administrative task.  I took my number and waited. and waited. and waited. and waited.  It was hot. And I continued to wait and wait. At least I was sitting down. Finally, after about 45 minutes they call my number.  I head over to the desk with my number flashing and explain why I was there.  The woman pulls up my file and starts listing off the documents she needed.  It is a different list than the one that Julien gave me the night before.  Well, slightly... there was one attestation that wasn't on the list and a certificate that I no longer had possession of because another administrative office had taken my original and not given it back to me. and this certificate happened to be the most important thing on the list according to the lady.  Luckily, I had the attestation with me. But the certificate was another story.

Sweat started to bead on my forehead.

For 15 minutes the woman behind the desk went back and forth on why this one certificate was so important. All the while she grew more and more rude with me.  I asked her if we could call the other administrative office  and have them fax over a copy. She rolled her eyes and said, "oh we don't talk to that office directly. You have to go over there and get it and bring it back to me"  (!)

Finally, she told me she would not make my dossier because I was missing this certificate. And then she exclaimed, "Point finale!!" Incredible.  She started to type the next person in line's number to call them over to her desk when  I looked at my stomach and then looked at her square in the eyes with a bit of psycho rage and said (rather loudly) "I am going to have my baby in 5 days, you expect me to go to this office get this form and then come back here and give it to you so that you can just make a copy of it for my file?" 

I felt my stomach contract. Hard. A trickle of sweat ran down my face.

The room became very, very quiet. The woman at the desk next to us peeked over the cubicle divide.  I had the lady's full attention. I asked her, "what is on this certificate that is so important!?"  She muttered something about dates, starting dates of work and ending dates, blah, blah, blah... I quickly flipped through my file folder and pulled out another document that had exactly what she wanted. It wasn't the exact certificate she was asking for but maybe it would work? It was a document for another administrative office, the one she said that her office doesn't talk to.  I pushed it across the desk to her. She peered at it over her glasses. Pursed her lips and then called her boss.  A minute later she hung up and said, "OK, c'est bon!"

She smiled at me and started typing away at her computer.  I sat back with a big sigh.  I did it.  I've done the one thing that other foreigners talk about happening but had never happened to me.  I got someone to break the rule, just a little bit, for me! Whoa...

Five minutes later, her tone had completely changed. Where earlier she was talking to me like I was this huge annoyance. Now, she was smiling. Asking me if I was having a boy or a girl. Wishing me a happy delivery and informing me that in 14 days I would receive my payment.  She was being genuinely nice to me.

Huh?

I come from a culture where you are nice to people and they are usually pretty nice back.  I would have never of raised my voice and lost my cool talking to someone like that in the US.   I called Julien and told him my triumphant story and he just said, "You see, you're understanding the French better".  I guess you have to raise your voice and lose your temper a little bit for them to take you seriously and respect you, just a little.  I wish I could have recorded myself talking to this woman, hearing myself in my head I amazed myself at how easily it came out.  Maybe I am becoming a little French...

So, I asked the question earlier how do you know what to do and when in France concerning administrative offices?  I asked this exact question to the woman before I left.  She just smiled at me and did the little French "pffffft", puffing her cheeks out and said "I don't know, you just know."

Ah, La France...


State of me

I want to remember the end of my pregnancy as being a wonderful time. That's going to be really hard since I'm clocking in less than 4 hours of sleep a night, my feet look like hairless hobbit feet (and they hurt from the excessive swelling) and I've been reduced down to wearing my husband's shoes if I want to leave the apt.  It feels like my belly button might rip open any second now.  And I've been feeling rather blue lately, the tears come and go about as often as I am running off to the toilet to take those phantom pees.  But all these discomforts magically disappear when I feel our little guy give me a nudge to say "hey, I'm here...".  I rub his little bottom, the shape of his little bum is unmistakable when he's pushing up with his legs. I rub his back and soothe away his frequent hiccups he's had this week.  I will miss feeling him grow inside of me. This feeling that is hard to put to words, what it feels like to have life growing from me. I suddenly feel not so alone in this world... not so aware of my mortality.

I sit here cradling my stomach and humming made up love songs to my son-to-be.  I want to remember moments like this in the years to come.  The moments before the arrival.  Who knows when I'll have time to actually update my blog, email or watch that list of movies I just posted.  Or even really sleep.  Does it all really matter considering what is about to happen?

Would I change anything if I could? No way.  My life is taking me in the direction it's supposed to go. I am ready to live it.  Six more days... This has been the longest week of my life.


Suggestions, please?

I'm stocking up on movies to watch after I get home from the clinic. I have a feeling I'll have a lot of time to watch movies and hang with the babe in my arms. 

Here's what I've got in the queue so far:

All the King's Men
Pan's Labyrinth
SherryBaby Meh. Too indie. Too much of Maggie G's super low boobage. 
The Aviator
The Queen
The Chronicles of Narnia
Casino Royale

Care to add to the list?  :)


Preparing myself

January 8, 2007
Wondering what it will be lke when he's looking up at me? Photo taken at 27 weeks.

In less than 9 days I will be a mother.  When I look at it that way, I think to myself how will I ever be ready for this? I've had this life growing inside me for nine months and in less than nine days I will finally get to meet him. 

Julien and I have been really enjoying ourselves lately, taking advantage of the fact that we can go out to dinner en amoureux, stay out late and sleep in the next day.  Just tonight, we were dining at a restaurant near Belleville, we both came to the realization that in just over a week we won't be able to do this again for a very, very long time.  I know I don't fully realize all the changes that will come with a new baby coming into our lives.  Julien and I have agreed to take it one day at a time.  Change like this is not something that's black and white and written down on paper for all to know.  We'll just see where it takes us...

We were also talking about the upcoming cesarean and Julien asked me if I will regret not having our baby naturally.  My first instinct is I want to do what's best for the baby. I have made my decision but thinking about it more tonight I feel a bit of sadness that I will not be able to birth out son as nature intended me to.  Early on in my pregnancy if you asked me how I wanted to have our son, I'd immediately say naturally, no drugs. I have a birth plan and I'm going to follow it!  I believe I'm feeling for the first  time the natural protection instict parents feel when it comes to their children.  Doing what is best for their kids at any cost. I will sacrifice myself for better of my son.  Someone wrote to me and asked me if it was the pain of labor and birth I was scared of and that's why I agreed to the cesarean section.   I agreed to the cesarean because I want my son to be perfect not because of the potential physical pain factor child birth entails.  I'm not scared of the pain at all. I think with the loss of my mother I've experience the most painful event one could ever experience in their life time. No physical pain can compare to the pain my heart feels.   

Don't get me wrong, I have worries.  I worry about being able to breastfeed after the cesarean operation.  I hope it won't be too difficult. I am also a little worried about my re-entry home after the operation. I will more than likely be alone with the baby for a while because Julien will have to work.  I won't lie to myself and say that I'll be able to do it all, I honestly don't know what to expect.  I really wish my mom were here to help me, to advise me or to just to tell me in her way that everything will be alright. 

So, here I am trying to prepare myself.  I'm trying to read as much as I can about cesarean operations. Meditating and taking time out to pamper myself.  Making last minute shopping runs to Ikea (a blog entry in the making) to fill the baby's room. Spending quality time with my husband. And just enjoying the last weeks of my pregnancy and my body's amazing shape. 

9 days to go...


 

Week 37, An Impressive Week.


Week 37, an impressive week., originally uploaded by PutYourFlareOn.

Versus 30 weeks.... check out the difference!!


What a week it's been so far...

The contractions I was experiencing earlier this week have disappeared only making themselves known if I've started walking too fast or have been on my feet too long.  My feet are still unrecognizable. We had an appointment with the doctor on Thursday to find out how big the baby has grown since our last visit over a month ago.  If you remember, he was weighing in around 3.3 kilos (7.2 lbs) already. Well, you won't believe it but now he's weighing between 4.4 kilos (9.7 lbs) and 4.6 kilos (10.1 lbs) and I've only gained 1.5 kilos this last month. The baby took all that weight. 

I was in shock. Good thing I was laying down because I might have passed out. Julien grabbed my hand and smiled. The doctor did three different measurements to make sure of the results.  He says that these measurements are nearly spot on with a margin of + or - 10%. Either way, he's a huge baby.

We discussed the options.  If I try to attempt to birth the baby naturally, it will be very, very hard for me. Being this is my first baby and considering the size of the baby, it would be very painful and could cause long term injury to my body. Then he explained what could happen to a baby of this size trying to pass through a birth canal that's never birthed a baby before.  Nerve damage from manipulating the baby's head, possible shoulder displacia or the possibility of breaking his clavicle bone so that he'll be able to pass through my pelvis.  I didn't need to hear anymore, I knew the cesarean was the way to go. There will be little to no stress on the baby and I'm willing to do what it takes to get our little big guy here.  I am nervous to have this operation.  I've never been operated on before. But I trust my doctor and have the support of Julien. I can do this. 

So, we scheduled a date.  March 20th.  Spring equinox. The baby will be a Pisces, like his daddy.

It's surreal to know the date your baby is coming.  The feeling of anxiousness I felt the morning before our doctor's visit has disappeared.  I feel like I can leave my apt and not fear going into labor on the bus or the metro.  The frenzy of preparing everything for his arrival has been taken down a notch because I know this weekend I'll have time to go to Ikea and where ever else to get the last minute things we need for his arrival.  The only slightly annoying this is when I want to go outside of the apt, I only have one pair of shoes that fit me right now and it's just a little too cold to wear them right now.  ha.

In one week and half, I'll be a mom. So, unreal!

Looks like we're going to have to do some shopping for clothes, most of what we have is for 0 years old. A while ago I knit a cute little baby sweater for him to wear home from the maternité, I doubt it will even fit him now! We'll see very soon...


I can't believe it...

My ankles are gone. 

The Ankles are gone...

Overnight, my ankles and feet have swollen up and are unrecognizable.  Kanckles, whatever you call them I have them now. My shoes officially do not fit me anymore.  Except for my Birkenstock and I had to loosen the strap to the very last hole and they are still tight! Thank goodness the weather has taken a turn for the better lately...

After having lunch with a friend today, I headed to the clinic for my pre-natal course on relaxation and preparation for re-entry to the home after the my clinic stay.  Julien came with me as he had the day off today.  I could not focus to save my life. I felt hot. Hotter than normal and the baby was moving around like crazy. I could tell the sage femme noticed, she kept looking at me with wide eyes and asking me if I was okay. I wasn't ok. I felt so hot. Sweaty and my feet felt like they were pulsating from all the pressure.  She sent me upstairs to have my blood pressure checked and to put me on a monitor to check on the baby.  Rest assured my blood pressure was normal and the baby was just fine. And I found out that I was having contractions every 15 minutes! I looked at the sage femme with big eyes and told her I really wasn't feeling anything that felt like contractions.  I've just been feeling a slight pressure at the base of my belly. I thought contractions felt like menstrual cramps!   She then asked if it were my first baby. Well, yes... she smiled and said well the machine doesn't lie.

So,   I happened to see my doctor at the clinic and he had talked to the sage femme who was monitoring me and he said that the baby is probably on his way. Sent me home and said to put my feet up and wait for his appearance. But he did say he could come tomorrow or in two weeks. Nice time range there, doctor...

So, again I'm playing the wait game. :)  At least I'm making progress on the baby sweater and have good stuff like this to read...


The wait game

No baby yet. Still waiting...

I woke up this morning with a very, very heavy feeling in my belly. A little achy. Lots of baby movement.  Something is definitely going on...  Maybe he's going to make his appearance this week? I'm at 37 weeks. Full term, so they say.  If he came this week it would make for a very busy week for us. Julien starts a new job on Tuesday which is also our 5 year wedding anniversary (!) and Wednesday is Julien's 31st birthday.  When asked if it would be cool to share a birthday with his son, my husband responds, "Mais non, I don't want anyone to forget about me!!"  I can understand how a the birth of a baby could outshine one's birthday.  So, maybe the day after then? He was okay with that.  But I have a feeling the little guy will hang on another week or so.  He's just making his way down and it's really amazing to feel my body do what it is made to do. 

Thursday, I have an appointment with the doctor to check on how big the baby has grown and to see if he'll pass through my pelvis.  I'm not worried about what we'll find out.  All I know is when the time comes I'll be ready to do what it takes to get our little guy here. The crib is set up, laundry is done, I've started another baby sweater because I just felt like he needed another one. The kitchen sink is pristine clean. The floors have been vacuumed. Suitcase is packed. Just working on making the faire-part de naissance or birth announcements and quietly playing the wait game.

(looks at clock: 1:46am)

Now if I could sleep... that would be really good.


Plus fort que moi

I've just cleaned the pantry. Emptied everything, wiped the shelves down and re-organized it. I never do this.

Nesting? Yes, I think so.

Here's what Julien thinks:

Transforming mom into a cleaning lady... on Vimeo

Julien says: "Merci, mon fils. Tu as transformé ta mère en cleaning lady. Pas besoin d'en embaucher une. J'en aurai une à la maison.  C'est merveilleux. Je ne croyais pas que celà serait possible mais tu as reussi l'impossible. Tu n'est pas encore né et tu es deja merveilleux. " 

Thank you, son. You have transformed your mother into a cleaning lady. Now I don't need to hire one, I have one at home. It's great! I didn't think it would be possible but you have accomplished the impossible.  You're not even born yet and you're already marvelous.


So, my nose won't stop running and I want to drink a beer....

I'm not really sick. No fever to justify it. I'm tired but that's end of pregnancy for you. My nose is runny and my throat has a tickle. I went to the pharmacie today to get some homeopathic remedies to help me breath so I can pretend to sleep at night. Julien fell asleep last night at 10pm and I listened to him slumber away while I tried not to blow my one nostril that isn't clogged up.  Are you totally enthralled with my life right now? Ha. You can stop reading if you want...

A funny thing has happened, my hands are no long sleepy. Not like they were for hours on end. I can actually feel myself typing on the keyboard and knitting is fun again.  Also, my belly feels super heavy and low. I noticed last night I was breathing easier but it might have been the minute when both my nostrils were no longer clogged. Not sure... Feels like my body is preparing for something good. I'm so excited.  Then I started thinking yesterday, I don't have my suitcase packed. The baby's room isn't set up. We're waiting for Conforama to deliver a dresser we ordered three weeks ago. The apt is a mess. I still need to finish a couple knit projects. When does the nesting instinct kick in? And all I can think about is, "boy, I'd really like to have a beer right now".  Priorities, I tell ya... At least tonight I get go out with some fun peeps in Paris. Fabulous international bloggers to be exact, We're going to a pub where there will be drinking and laughing and fun to be have... I'm looking forward to this because who knows when I'll get to do this again.  All I know is the belly will be out in full force tonight and maybe there will be another video for you to laugh at this weekend.

Happy Friday to you all... someone around the world is having drinks right now, have one for me, OK?


Week 32. An interesting week.

I had my third big sonogram yesterday. The baby looked great.  Profile like his daddy and big pouty lips. During the sonogram, I looked over at my doctor's face to see a hugh smile come across his face. He was impressed because our baby's growth curve was off the charts.  After measuring the circumference of the baby's head, his trunk and the length of his arms and legs, my doctor declared that we were having a gros, beau bébé!!  I looked at my husband and then look at my doctor and asked what that meant exactly. He pulled up the calculations and said that he estimated our baby weighs 3.3 kilos. That's 7.7 lbs. At 32 weeks and 4 days.

There was silence in the room.  A big baby. Oh... my.

We went went back to his office to finish our visit. Thoughts started racing through my head. What if he's too big to come out? Have I eaten too much this last month? How much weight have I gained in the last month?! OH. MY. GOSH. The doctor checks my blood pressure (a-ok) and asks me to hop up on the scale. "One kilo", he exclaims.  I've gained one kilo in the last month. How is that possible?  How did my baby get so big?  We ran through family history and we suspect that it just runs in my family. My siblings were big babies. My dad is 6 feet tall and my brothers are both 6'3" as are Julien's brothers. It must be genetic.

So, what does this all mean? The doctor said that I don't need to monitor what I'm eating and should continue as I have for the past month.  Keep up my walks and just take good care of myself.   In four weeks, I'll go in for an x-ray of my pelvis to see how big it is compared o the size of the baby to see if a vaginal birth will be possible.  If so, at 37 weeks they will induce. If he's too big in four weeks time, then we just wait until my labor starts naturally and I will have a c-section.  Still trying to get my mind around all this 

I could have my baby in 4 weeks! I can't believe it. 

Real quick question, I know some of you who read my blog have had babies in France, how accurate is the weight estimation? Do they do this in the US as well?

So, I've been in a sort of dizzy haze the last day or so, I went to my prenatal class today and discussed this new revelation with the sage femme and she explained the growth curve they use to calculate pre-birth weight.  She felt my stomach and the position of the  baby and smiled as she declared, "Un gros, beau, bébé, ne vous  inquetez pas, vous serez prête".  I sure hope I'm ready for this... :)


Gotta keep amovin'!

Today is the first day of my congé maternité.  I'm actually glad because I'm starting to feel the weight of the baby and this strange cloud of fatigue often surrounds me and the only thing I can think of doing is sitting down and closing my eyes for a bit.  The baby is moving around a lot and often makes my stomach look like a lopsided egg.  He's snuggled head down with his little tushy right up by right rib cage.  I will officially be 32 weeks tomorrow.

31 weeks
Check out that claoptis!!

Eight more weeks to go before we get to meet out little guy. So, to make the most of my maternity leave I've left a few home projects to keep me busy.  The crib and the baby's room needs to be set up. I won't be putting the crib together, of course but will be making curtains and finishing a few other crafty projects for the baby's room.  We still need to buy a new sink and cabinet unit for out kitchen. We can't decide on what we want but we better get moving so that maybe we can take advantage of Les Soldes which will be going on until mid next week. And finally on my quest to stay active during my maternity leave, I've decided to try to walk every other day to a discover a new place in Paris.  Yesterday, Julien took me down to the Port de Paris which is located near Bastille for a leisurely walk towards the Seine.


Crue = montée de des eaux de fleuve or flooding riverbanks.

We watched boats enter the port, admired les peniches, daydreamed what it would be like to live on a boat and enjoyed a rare moment of silence in the middle of this busy city we live in.  We continued our walk along the banks of The Seine to the Quai de le Gare next to the Gare Austerlitz. At the corner of Gare Austerlitz and boulevard Vincent Auriol there is an amazingly cute retro cafe called Lili & Marcel.  We stopped in for an apéritif and to rest our feet before heading home.

Not sure where tomorrow's walk will take me but maybe I'll find something on iToors. Maybe a walk in the steps of Hemmingway in Paris?


The farewell smoke

From My 2007 Daily Photo Diary:

Tonight, I witnessed my husband roll, light  and smoke his last cigarette.

He's doing this so that his son will not know a father who smells of cologne and smoke.   I am so proud of him.  My husband never ceases to amaze me. 

Je t'aime, mon bibi nours.


Sleepy hands at 29 weeks

January 15, 2007 - I don't recognize this hand...

From My 2007 Daily Photo Diary:


it's the hand from the Addams family!

Today, I had my monthly check up and everything is going very well. I've only gailed 4 kilos since my last visit for a total of 11 kilos to date. I'm pretty happy with that. I don't have gestational diabetes. My blood pressure is normal.  My hands are still swollen and sleepy most of the time. It makes knitting very hard but I deal. The doctor isn't concerned with it at all and has given me a magnesium supplement to take and said just to wait it out.  I still have plenty of energy and try to make the most of the days to continue to prepare for the baby. We still have work to do at home and I try to do a little everyday.  My complexion  is the best it has been in years! I'll miss the hormones for that though I could do without the daily emotional roller coaster.  The baby is positioned head down and the doctor thinks he'll remain like that until he makes his grand debut. His little tootsies are suggled right up under my ribs. Lovely. He shows off his fancy foot work every night before bed and now he's doing coupe de boule or head butts against my bladder which we witnessed today during the sonogram.   

I've found out that I will go on congé maternité on Febuary 5th. That's 8 weeks before the esitmated due date of our babe. And I'll have another 10 weeks after that! I can hardly believe it .  My friend in the US went back to work 4 weeks after he baby was born and she had to take time off without pay to have that much time.  The social ideals of each country astound me.

Just wondering... for those of you who have children, how much time did you take off after giving birth?  Or I guess I should say how much time were you allowed off?


Sunday, I'm in love...

January 14, 2007 - My husband insists that I have a duvet. I'd rather call it peach fuzz, thank you very much!

Caption for photo: My husband insists that I have duvet, but I'd like to call it peach fuzz, thank you very much!!

It's been a rather productive Sunday.  I've started giving reading lessons to my neighbor's daughter today. She's 4.  Her teacher gives her a book a week to read. I'm supposed to read it to her and then we discuss to make sure she understood the story.  I must say she's a pretty astute little 4 year old. I am really going to enjoy our weekly reading dates.  After the lesson, I came home to house buzzing with commotion. My husband had started the laundry and changed the sheets, made the bed and started cleaning out the utility closet. We've become a better oiled machine when it comes to sharing the household duties. I'm almost ashamed to say that my husband is sometimes better than I am when it comes to doing things like the dishes and cleaning the bathroom.  I know he's reading this so I have to say that "T'es le best, mon amour!" :) After defrosting the fridge and cleaning up we decided to head to the Korean grocery store near Opera to pick up a few things I've been craving lately and to fill our tummies full of yummy Japanese noodles.  While we were in the neighborhood, we enjoyed a nice walk to Palais Royal and metro'd it home as the sun started to set.

I wonder how drastically our lives will change when our baby arrives.  Or maybe it won't...  I hope to be able to still do spontaneous things. I honestly have no idea what to expect. So, I guess I won't expect anything and just take it as it comes. So far, so good...


 


Look!! It's a Clapotis and a rapidly disappearing belly button!!

 


Nesting?

So, maybe this is my nesting instict kicking in but I felt like making a pie tonight. Not nearly as bad as Riana's nesting kick. She made 24 dinners! But this urge for apple pie was plus fort que moi*! So here's is my tarte aux pommes pour la femme enceinte:

There's nothing better than baking an apple pie to make your house smell good!

I kind of threw this together following my mind's logic!  I love pies but I've found that pies in France are creamier and heavier and I just don't like them as much as my mom's homemade pies.  I did not make the crust.  I just didn't have the patience to do that tonight but had a couple Picard frozen pie crusts or påte brisées in the freezer that would work just fine. 

Ingredients:

- 6 large pink lady apples (3 for making compote with, the other three to layer into the pie)
-  Cook down the apples to make a your compote sauce. Add sugar and spice as you like. I used my Penzey's apple pie spice.
-  1 påte brisée from Picard. Let it defrost while you are making the compote.
-  Layer compote and then sliced apples that have been tossed in sugar and spice.
- Bake at 200 degreed Celsius for 30 minutes.

Making a compote for the base of tarte avoids using cream or eggs for your tarte base as the French like to do. I was thinking about my thighs while making this pie. :)

Serve warm with a big glass of milk. It's better smelling than any Yankee candle and tastes pretty darn good.


* too strong to deny


Week 25, a week of changes.

Good Morning!

25 weeks

This week marks my 25th week of pregnancy! I can't believe it. This are starting to feel like they are going to go fast now.  Physically, I feel great. Though I've lost all gracefulness in all my movements. Putting my hands on my back feels good  when I walk and Julien calls me his little penguin now.  My hair is growing at an amazing pace! It was now or never to grow my hair out again. Though it probably won't be practical with a new baby to have long hair, I'm enjoying it for now. And I've noticed that I have a little duvet as my husband calls it on my stomach.  Peach fuzz.  The baby is moving more and more and I notice that he startles when there's a loud noise. And he really digs kicking my rib cage which I don't find very cool when I'm trying to sleep.  Sleeping has gotten a little better. I've added a couple more pillows to the bed/nest and try to meditate before heading off to sleep.  I've been having dreams about what the birthing experience will be like. A friend of mine gave me this amazing book called Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.  I've been thinking about a natural birth. I want to try to experience everything to its fullest, if possible. After reading the birthing experiences of these women it really motivates me to give it a try.  I want this birth to be a spiritual and sensual experience for me. 

So, this has been a week of changes.  My body has drastically taken a new, even more bulbous shape which I love.  No changes in my relationship with Julien, it feels strong and happy like it usually does.  Our apt is starting to get organized. Our armoire was delivered yesterday and it's perfect! The baby's bedroom is cleaned and prepared to be put together.  I sat in the empty room contemplating this new life we're going to bring into this world.  How lucky we are to have all that we do.  How lucky I am to be surrounded by so much love.  I  breath in and savor every moment.  This is only the beginning...


C'est du blah blah...

I've been having strange dreams lately. I always have had strange dreams growing up. But my dreams as of late have been very morbid. Often scaring me awake and then I'm unable to get to sleep again.  Either I'm dying or someone close to me. Things I need to work through, I'm sure.    Once I wake up in the middle of the night, it seems the baby wants to wake up too and we're up late together. It's rather comforting actually.  I'm also starting to find it hard to find a good position to sleep. My belly is really starting to get big and makes it awkward to lay down for long periods of time. This coming from someone who's been known to sleep for 15 hours a night on a weekend. It's a family pastime. Christmas morning is usually Christmas late afternoon for us.  Luckily, I married a man who likes to sleep as much as I do. How this will change when the baby is born!?  Though, we can hope that he sleeps through the night early... on verra! :)

Ho, hum... Just checking emails now, I received my 24 weeks baby bulletin from Baby Center. My baby is 12 inches long.  How in the heck is he folded up in there?  I wonder if his arms and legs go to sleep if he doesn't change positions often. Mine sure do. Cutest thing now is he wakes up every morning when Julien puts his hand on my belly. He knows the difference between mummy's and daddy's hands, I think.

We bought an armoire today.  A huge one. It's 2 meter 50 across and about 2 meters something tall.  HUGE. Julien wants to put it together himself. I'm really hoping I can talk him into letting someone come and do it.  It seems like a huge project to do alone. I won't be much help.  We'll see. The armoire arrives on Thursday!  Armoire is scheduled to be delivered Monday and they will assemble it for us! Whew!  Now we just have to work out the logistics of moving our room, the baby's room and the livingroom around to make everything fit. We are  finally going to have closet space in this closet-less apt we live in!

Oh, and thank goodness for friends who can't sleep either...

And finally, Julien and I have been fantasizing lately about what our baby will look like.   I've started a personal photography project that I'm calling Vintage Photography Project. Originale, non? ;) I'm collecting our baby photos and will make a photo montage for the baby's room.

Okay, I started this entry it was 2:39am and now it's 3:33am.  Time to try to sleep...   


All is well...

I'm starting to feel much better now, the doctor didn't seem too worried I was sick. Thanks for all the suggestions!  My doctor suggested like many of you to drink flat coke and TUC crackers.  It seemed to have worked it's charm.  Now I'm congested but I think it's due to the unseasonably mild weather we are having. It's awfully humid yet cold outside, it just seems the cold sticks to your bones a lot easier when it's so humid.

We had our big second trimester check up yesterday. I've gained 7 kilos to date.  Which I'm pretty proud of because I gain weight by just looking at junk food.  The baby is growing at an amazing pace and the doctor says that he's above average in all categoriesHe is about 25cm long and from what we could tell with the 3d sonogram he has a little nose like me! And chubby cheeks. Not surprised considering his mama was called the incredible chunk growing up, I had cheeks that everyone wanted to squeeze. Okay, I still kind of do...  Starting this week as well, he's been a lot more active.  Mostly at night and he keeps me awake, the light sleeper I am.   I read that it's not uncommon that the babies are active the second part of the night.  He kicks so hard now that I can see it with the naked eye.  It's really a surreal experience. I would touch one side of my stomach and a few seconds later he's kick in the same spot.  We're working on his touch sensory already! He also has become very reactive to Julien's voice.  Julien talks to my belly every night before bed. He sings songs for the baby or tells him to rest so that mummy (as he calls me) can sleep.  I've never experienced anything so touching as to see my husband assume his role as father.

With the sleepless nights have come late night knitting and lot of soul searching.  I've been wondering about my mother and a few times this week in the few hours of sleep I am able to catch, I see her there. Once we were knitting together and once she was taking care of what I think was our baby. It was a baby boy that I had never seen before but seemed so familiar to me.  I'd awake comforted yet empty.  This new chapter in our lives that Julien and I are embarking on is what I believe is the next step for me in the healing process or grieving process.  I lost my mother at the time when she had taught me most of life's lessons such as right and wrong, unconditional love, being a good sister/person, being an adult and being a good wife and with her death, she's taught me how to live and survive the death of a loved one. Now that I am embarking on the next big stage in my life and becoming a mother, I must admit that feel scared.  But talking with my father he said that he and Omma were so scared too.   I believe that my role as mother will be directly influenced by the relationships I have with my husband and my other family members but it will also be affected by the love and loss I feel for my own mom's life and death.  This is the coming of full circle, it empowers me and has restored my hope.

It's been a long time since I've been able to see so clearly. Sure, I still have days when I cry because I'm sad but those are few and far between.  And I honestly feel okay about those sad moments.  And I use them as a way to reflect positively on my life and to look forward.

Three and half more months to go before our baby makes his grand entrance into this world.  With every kick and movement he makes my heart flutters (and heals) from all the excitement.      


My first encounter with a Sage Femme

Since returning to France my arms have been a bit swollen and my fingers look like as my sister says Vienna sausages. Thanks for that visual, Erin.  My engagement ring doesn't fit any more and I'm wearing another ring in it's place. Last weekend, I was awoken by sharp pains in both of my arms that radiated from my biceps to my finger tips.  My hands were asleep and it felt like knives were being stabbed into my arms.  I was scared, I though I was having an attack or some sort.  I somehow fell asleep and in the morning it seemed to be a little better but not 100%. 

I went to the clinic today to chat with the sage femme about my concerns. She was delightfully nice and took good care of me. She hooked me up to a couple machines to check my blood pressure and to listen to the baby's heartbeat. He wasn't going to have any of that and spent the entire time kicking the sensor on my stomach and flipping around in my belly.  Apparently the baby was just fine.  My blood pressure was a little high but nothing to be alarmed about.  The sage femme talked to me for a few minutes and reassured me that everything was fine. She explained to me how my blood pressure can be affected by certain things and that she seen pregnant women with fingers and ankles more swollen than what I was dealing with.

It's never easy to express yourself fully in a foreign language and I've always felt a little uneasy visiting the doctor in fear that he will not complete understand me.  But there's something to be said about the communication a smile or a regard can make.  The sage femme was gentile and spoke softly. And she listened.   She was sage, indeed.

Sage femme = midwife or quite literally, wise woman.    


Fille ou garçon?

So, you're probably wondering if we're having a girl or a boy? Last week was the longest week ever, anticipating something like this is something I can hardly put to words.  Our doctor brought us in exceptionally because we are getting ready to leave for the US for a month and he wanted to see us to make sure all was well and to take a peek to see what we were going to have.  When he asked if we wanted to know we both chimed in "Oh, oui, Docteur!" and giggled. The baby was active and making it hard for the doctor to find what he was looking for and then all of a sudden he announces, " Et la, je vois un zizi!" Julien and I looked at each other and bursted out in laughter.  Tears followed for me.  We were both convinced that we were having a girl. I think it was because of how sick I was and Julien thought having an the oldest be a girl would genial. Though being the oldest of five I would have loved to have had an older brother. And as for names,  Julien and I have been talking about baby names since the beginning of our relationship. We never doubted that we'd have children.  Lately I had been re-thinking the girl's name we had chosen but the boy's name we were absolutely sure donc ca tombe bien!!
 

So, a weekend tranquille a la maison since in less than a week we'll be boarding a plane.  We stayed in last night catching up on Lost and Grey's Anatomy all the while I cranked out the Phildar baby sweater:

La Brassiere and L'echarpe No. 6 from Phildar Tricotez Calin

Button snaps and detail of Bowling from Phildar Sleeve detail The back or the front?

Pattern: La Brassiere and L'Echarpe No. 6  from Phildar Tricotez Calin
Size:
6 months (sweater); One size fits all (Scarf)
Yarn:
Oxyene color Emeraude (sweater)           
              Bowling in Folk & Partner in Petunia (Scarf)
Needles:
5.5 mm & 6.5 mm
Started:
October 20, 2006
Finished:
October 28, 2006

I can happily say that I think I've gotten over my fear of Phildar patterns and sewing sweater parts. It took me a couple false starts but seaming stockinette and garter stitch are very easy!  Sewing on snaps on the other hand, I don't like at all.  If I make this again, I'm going to add button holes.  The scarf was just an added bonus, I fell in love with how it looked on the baby on the cover of Tricotez Calin.  So, this will be put in the mail next week and hopefully the recipient hasn't already grown out of it! :)

Since security is tight I doubt that I will be doing any knitting on the plane. I've planned on checking  some needles in my bag and knitting something for myself while visiting friends.   Probably a scarf or a  shawl like the Clapotis. I'm probably the only knitter who hasn't knit this yet. :)  The gloom of Paris winter is creeping up on us and there isn't anything more motivating to knit than just that.


Maybe...

Tonight we have a doctor's appointment to make sure all is well before our trip the US. We'll be gone for a month and my doctor wanted to see us before we left.  I have to say I love my doctor. This is the first time I've met a doctor in France that has wonderful bedside manner.   And who genuinely remembers who I am every time I come in. And perhaps during this routine check up we'll be able to find out the sex of our baby.  A friend mentioned when she went in for her visit to find out the sex of her baby, the doctor poked at her stomach to wake the baby up so she'd flip over. I think I'll be okay with that if our baby happens to be snoozin' away.  I promise this will be the only time I wake a sleeping baby. :)  I am really anxious to know!   A lot of people have mentioned they think I'm having a girl including my husband.   We'll soon see for ourselves!

And finally last night I think I felt the baby move though it could have been gas. I'm not sure what I'm really feeling for. I was laying down falling asleep when I felt a slight tap on my left side of my abdomen. So, maybe, baby?



It's growing...

I've been feeling pretty sick the last couple days. Severe nausea like I had in the beginning stages of pregnancy and throwing up.  I haven't been able to keep anything down but crackers and some juice.  I hope this passes soon. Julien says that I'm busy making something important. I think the baby is surfing waves in my belly and giving me motion sickness. :) 

I've continued on my knitting spree and have started two more baby sweaters. This just might be my thing to knit. I love how fast I can make these and am able to experiment with some yarns that I normally wouldn't use for myself. I've started a Chunky baby cardigan called Dumpling that's knit in one piece except for the sleeves from Rowan Babies.  I'm using Ribbon twist in a lovely grey blue color with a light colored ribbon woven through. Though it looks more grey here, I'll surely take better photos later. I love the stitch definition of the Ribbon Twist. Again, I'd probably never knit myself anything this bulky but for a baby should be trés mignon.

 

Ribbon Twist Baby Cardigan from Rowan

I love the cowl neck. I've had to modify the sleeves a bit to  make them a bit wider. I tried them out on my friend's daughter who is 3 months old and they were a bit tight. I'm hoping to have this sweater done tonight. There are no button holes because the Ribbon Twist is so chunky that you can make your own button hole in between the stitches. Easy peasy, I like that!  With this sweater I've learned to do three needle bind off as well. Must say anything to avoid sewing is awesome! ;)

 

And, I have a shot of my growing belly. I'm actually very surprised how big it looks here but I think it's the combination of the white tank top I'm wearing and the angle. I shot this because just that morning my husband told me that my belly had passed my breasts and I really looked pregnant.  C'est moi a 16 semaines. Next week, we find out the sex of the baby. I had a stranger today on the bus tell me that she thought it as a girl. My Korean girlfriend says because I've been craving fruits lately that it's a girl. What do you think we'll be having? Either way, we're excited! A little boy or a little girl... either would just be wonderful.


 

16 weeks

Finally, I wanted to shout out to my friend, Vivi, who's in the US right now. I love you, darling and I'm thinking of you.


**edit** 00:23: Frenzy knitting while watching Grey's Anatomy and the Ribbon Twist cardie is done! It's so cute. I'll be sewing on buttons tomorrow and hopefully my friend's son will model it off for me. I'm off to bed...


Cravings

Cravings is what every woman goes through while pregnant. I've heard the stories of women wanting to eat the cliché cravings of things like pickles and ice cream.  My dad said my mom really loved eating steak and kimchee while pregnant, not together, I think?  Well, a craving hit me tonight. I really wanted to eat potatoes, chicken and carrots. Smashed together. So, for dinner that's just what I had. My husband looked at me sideways as I made dinner. I was madly dashing around the kitchen trying to make everything so that the growl in my stomach would soon be put to sleep. I don't know what it is but I crave healthy food and milk these days.  My gourmandise taste buds have disappeared (probably for the better). I don't like chocolate anymore. Not in the mood for cookies or pastries.  But I think my husband has sympathy cravings and his are all things gourmand.   So, to appease his cravings I made him a crumble aux fruits rouges (that's pronounced crum-bull).  My husband literally becomes a crazy person when raspberries are put in front of his face.  I think most of my friends here in Paris have witnessed this. And imagine his delight when he found out that a raspberry liquor existed. Chambord. Yes, like the chateau and us Americans know this liquor well as it's only exclusively exported for the foreign market but made it France near the Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley.  Ask any French person and they will say, "Le Chateau?"  OK, enough Chamord... more crumble:

Crumble fruits rouges (pre-four)

Crumble fruits rouges (Post-four)

You can use any fruit you like. The next one I make will be a chocolate banana crumble. One of my students tells me that it's "trop bon" and that I have to try it. Here's the recipe for the pate a crumble:

- 100g de farine
- 100g de sucre
- 75g de poudre d'amandes
- 100g de beurre froid
- 6 pincées de cannelle en poudre
- 3 pincées de sel

Prechauffe four a 210 degrees Celsius

Laisser cuire 25 a 30 minutes

Enjoy.


La mode bébé

As promised here are photos of the baby cardigan that I finished this week for our future bout de chou.  This was a good lesson in sweater construction for me and helped me get over my fear of sewing sweater parts.  The pattern is from Knitting for two by Erica Knight which was graciously on long term loan to me from a good friend (Thanks, Ronica!!).  I happened to have the yarn the pattern called for in my stash (don't you love when that happens?) and was able to finish little little pull de bébé in about two days time.  The sewing took another couple days to make sure I got it right and then I had to find the perfect buttons to match.  I ended up choosing some olive tree wooden buttons. 

Chunky Baby Cardigan

I have a skein and half left over so I intend on making matching booties.  This baby will be rockin' Rowan at the maternité.

And yesterday we had an impromptu baby shower for a new little knotlet, Louise and I was finally able to gift her the cotton dress I finished a few weeks ago.

La robe de Louise

I used Plassard Gong 100% Cotton in a lovely aubergine color.  And found some very cute print fabric at Ikea of all places for the shoulder straps.  The pattern comes from Tricot pour les Bébés and this was my first successful French pattern I've knit to date.

The knitting bug has come back and I've found a new love for knitting baby clothes.  So, question to the knitters out there what baby patterns are you or have you knit lately?  I'm thinking about getting this book because I have such easy access to Debbie Bliss yarns here in Paris.  I'm heading state side in about three weeks and will be looking for some sweet new yarns while I'm home.  What new yarns are you into these days?

Happy Sunday everyone!  The hubby and I are going to have a Devil wears Prada afternoon, hope the movie is as fun as the book was. :)   Um... so much for the movie! We ended up eating a lesisurely lunch and napping in.  So, Happy Lazy Sunday to all!


14 weeks

Bébé Zen

A friend of mine told me about this little zen ball that you wear around your neck near the baby while it's still in the womb. It's supposed to sooth and remind the baby when it's born of sounds it heard while living inside of my belly.  From what I understand the baby can start to hear sounds from the 4th month on.

My belly looks huge here, it's really not this big, yet. I can definitely still see my feet.  It's become more obvious that I am pregnant. Also now that I'm officially in my second trimester I'm starting to feel better.  The nausea has pretty much gone away though I am still sensitive to certain smells.  My energy is back as well.   And my appetite has returned which is good because I wasn't able to keep down much my first trimester. No crazy cravings yet. 

My face has changed a little. My freckles are coming out which is strange because usually at this time of the year my skin is very pale.  It's like I've been to the beach for  the day and the sun has kissed all my freckles.  Julien loves it. And besides my skin changing my hair has started to really grow and I think this will be my chance to let it finally grow long.  We'll see how long it lasts, though the thought of having long hair when I turn 30 sounds good to me. :)

Self portrait at 3 months and one week.

And I officially can't sleep on my stomach anymore which is the only way I sleep. I have 4 pillows that I sleep with (plus my husband!) to help with sleeping on my side. My hips are starting to ache and I'm having some joint pains. I hope that my yoga classes will help to calm that. Has anyone else experience sharp pains in their shoulder joints? A couple nights ago it was so bad I couldn't sleep at all.

And something to look forward to is the TBM(Trés Bon Marché) at Bon Marché will be starting next week on the 11th. And from what my friends and I have experienced the last couple years is this is the time to buy yarn at our beloved BM mercerie! I've just finished my first official knitted baby garment (photos to come, I promise) and am feeling motivated to start another baby project soon. 

Good night for now... :)


Ikea, donuts and our pants not fitting anymore

On our way to Ikea this morning I stopped on the street and showed my husband my new way of buttoning my pants.

Trying to stay in my pants as long as I can...

He laughed and then pulled up his shirt and said, "Moi, aussi".  I think he's put on a few sympathy pounds.  Though his sympathy is all for him because I haven't gain a pound in my first trimester and have the doctor's scale to back me up. yay!  I know it'll all come back to me in the later months.  And going to Ikea won't help because one thing I always look forward to are their donuts.  Their sugar cake donuts. Yeah, they are starchy and sweet but man, do they taste good. 

The evil donut

We picked up a coffee table and tried to pick out an armoire but ended up with just the table and a few little things. I'm sure all the Ikeas around the world are the same as they have the expos of the faux rooms upstairs and all the little trinkets like candles, curtains, rugs, picture frames and plants downstairs on your way out.  Smart Ikea people know that people like us will always need an extra candle or something?  We ended up with a new shower curtain, a plant (Julien killed the plant that I was given two years ago for my bday, sorry Kim!), a few pillow cases and a candle. Not a very productive trip to Ikea but we did figure out that we need to reduce our respective wardrobes before we invest in an armoire.  Anyone have any advice for a pack rat who won't let go? Ahem, and that would not be me. :)

As for remodeling the apt, we've re-thought things and are working through our new idea. We don't want to change the status of our apt from being an F3 to an F2. So, we'll more than likely keep the wall. Re-do the bathroom and de-clutter as much as humanly possible.  Thanks for all your advice and ideas... I think we'll end up an apt we can live in for the next few years.

Uh, oh...I hear my husband banging away on something better go check on him... :)


New morning ritual

It rained hard last night. And I slept like a baby.  Maybe that's why I slept so well while growing up in Kansas, it rains all the time there. Anyway, I'm having a hard time waking myself up right now. The grogginess extends through out my body's limbs and is telling me "get back in bed, silly..." But no, I'm sipping my morning tea and getting ready to head to Monoprix, kind of like a mini version of Target, to get a pair of cotton yoga pants and then I'm off to my first prenatal yoga class.  Since becoming pregnant my body joints have become incredibly flexible. I've almost found the same felixbility I had when I was at the height of my Tae Kwon Do training which is pretty darn cool. I'd like to try to keep it if possible.

So, off I go... class starts in an hour!

PS. Thank you to everyone for their sweet, sweet comments! I had no idea I had so many readers out there. Thanks for sharing in this adventure with Julien and I. :)

****EDIT****  10:15am and I'm home again.  Well, I got to Monoprix, stood in line, the vendeuse rang up my snazzy cotton pants and I went for my wallet and it wasn't there! I'd left it on the livingroom table last night while booking our airline tickets for our flight to the US  in November.  No money to pay. And no metro pass.  And that means no class this morning! I'm bummed. Next week, for sure!  I don't know why but I've become so forgetful lately.  Is this a symptom of pregnancy? I never forget things as important as my wallet and metro pass.  Has anyone else experienced this?

Update:

I've recieved some emails about the yoga class I'm taking. Here's the information:

Yoga Marais   http://www.yogamarais.com/

72 rue Vertbois
75003

Prenatal yoga is on Friday mornings from 10am-11:30am


1 am Revelations

- Insomnia is my new unwelcome friend.
- I haven't had a glass of milk in two months.
- I've been averaging a new bra size every 4 weeks.
- Sleeping on  my stomach has become an impossible task.
- Low rise jeans are my new favorite pants.
- Cat naps is my new favorite activity..
- My husband and I feel like we've been on cloud 9 for the past two months .
- The Paris metro system really smells bad.
- The bus system is pretty darn good, though.
- I've found a new section at  H&M that I love.
- My most frequent meal lately has been baked potatoes, with a little butter and cracked pepper.
- I miss coffee.
- Never thought nausea could be so fun. (sarcasm)
- A new outlook on life has given my soul a breath of fresh air.

Though some of  these revelations are uncomfortable, the outcome out weights the bad and all these recent evénements are all very welcome  in my life right now.  If you haven't figured it out yet, we're having a baby! And we are so pleased. It's 1 am and the sleeplessness has crept in. I'm off to think happy thoughts and hope that sleep finds me tonight.


EDIT:

The beginning of a new silhouette....

The beginning of a new silhouette