Friday, April 30, 2010

I feel great!

I was feeling so good this morning I decided to hike 3 miles to work. I used to do this all the time Before Sugar, but running, and both ways. Today was the first time I had the energy to do it. I even juiced up the ipod with the cds I got from the library over the weekend and I was good to go.

On Sunday, Sweetie is going to run the Trieste Half Marathon. I decided to walk the 7k so at least I could be part of it. I was supposed to run the marathon (Before Sugar) with my friend Michael, but he wasn't able to come to Trieste in the end, so I guess we'll just have to do it next year. I did pick up his race pack (I was tempted to switch his very fancy technical marathoner shirt with my very ordinary t-shirt that the 7k folks get, but I figured Michael can use it there in San Francisco).

As we were leaving the very small marathon expo, we ran into friends of ours from Rome who came to run the half as well. Our friend Dario will run the half with Cristian and his wife will walk the 7k with me. There was another couple who came with them. Apparently the husband is going to do the half. The woman was was very visibly 6 months pregnant, and I just assumed she was going to walk the 7k with us. Well, when I mentioned this absurdity, she pointed at her belly and said, "Um, I'm pregnant!" Our two friends then, who may have already been a little fed up with the I'm-excused-from-everything-because-I'm-pregnant tude piped out in unison: "Well so is she!!" I said "Oh, but I feel great and we're just going to walk it, but you have to do what you feel." P.L. said she felt great too but she wasn't sportiva before and wasn't about to become sportiva now.

Fair enough. But I have to say, I FINALLY got my moment of feeling pregnant and sportiva. It's something I never thought I would get to experience since my doctor said I can't run during my pregnancy (if I didn't like him so much I would have switched doctors until I found one who said I could, I swear).

So I'm especially happy to feel good today, and to feel sportiva.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Who said you don't get sick after the first tri?

After yesterday's bout with Triestino Cole Slaw* (I lost), I am now officially -1.5 kilos. Good news, perhaps, but not pleasant getting there. 

Apparently Sugar isn't into raw rgarlic (cooked in sauces and things seems to be ok).  I think they got the petrie dishes mixed up at the hospital. Doesn't sound like any kid of mine!

Then again, a girl I know who drinks about a million cups of coffee per day went 9 months without being able to drink it, and another friend of mine's sister couldn't touch chocolate (her favorite) the entire time either. So maybe the wee one just takes what you like and says "you CAN eat this, but I won't let you!!!" Fetus rebellion. 

Good news for the diet, though. Yesterday I tried sugarless icecream that's made without milk. At that point I decided to have two scoops (hell yeah!): chocolate and vanilla, and it was SUPER GOOD. Sweetie thought it was so-so, but that was because he had real vanilla with Nutella swirls to compare it with immediately before and after. So his opinion doesn't count... 

*cabbage, beans, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, and raw garlic

Monday, April 26, 2010

Three Month Doctor Visit Went Fine

Phyoo. He was especially happy that I am at "-1" kilo, which means I have not gained anything since I got pregnant. That's probably because I was losing my lunch (and dinner and snack) during most of the first trimester. He reiterated the importance of cutting out pasta (don't tell him what's for supper tonight) and pizza (or yesterday). Thank goodness he did not say anything about ice cream, so I didn't tell him about that two-scooper of chocolate gelato yesterday Just Because...

Measurements look good. For those of you who know something about these things: 
Length: 64mm
I have no idea what this is: Diametro biparietale (BPD): 22.9mm
NT: 2mm (that's the neck measurement) 

Blood tests that will tell us if we need to get amnio testing come back next Monday. Hopefully those will be fine. Next doctor visit will be in another month. 

Other advice from doctor: Not too much parmesan (I am insisting on this one because I can't imagine life without it) because it's loaded with calories and sodium, eat as many cooked vegetables as possible, drink lots of water and eat soups and that type of thing. 

That's that. Gotta go warm up my last pasta dinner for a while. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hello there, Sugar!

Sugar looks a bit like every other photo of a fetus I have ever seen. But that's good! This is the 13-Week ultrasound.

Some people are grossed out by these. Sorry if you are one of them.

We did see eyes, stomach, feet, hands, and heart during the visit as well. Phyoo.


1. Is it a boy or a girl? 
The sex has certainly been determined already, but it is not yet visible on the ultrasound, which is fine with me.

2. Are you going to find out if it's a boy or a girl?
No. As Sweetie puts it: What better surprise can you possibly have in your life? I personally think it is a boy, but refer to it while in the womb as a girl. Hopefully this will not cause gender confusion.

3. Have you thought of any names yet? American or Italian or both?
Pregnancy is a 9-month process for a reason. It took 3 months to get used to the idea of being pregnant (although it was a happy occasion from day one, don't get me wrong) and to get ready to talk about it. The need to name has not yet hit us with the urgency I can imagine it will later on. I do have some thoughts on names, though, that I will discuss them in a later post. 

The fetus has a gender-neutral name, however, and that is "Sugar." 

4. Are you going to have the baby in America or in Italy?
Italy. I live here. My doctor is here. I will have it here. I also don't have health insurance in America and I can imagine that having a baby there would be expensive out-of-pocket.

5. You live in Italy. Do you get a year off when you have the baby? 
While there are certain work contracts "a tempo indeterminato" that give you heaps of time off for having a baby, they are not given out very often anymore because they make it almost impossible to fire a person once they've been hired and they cost a lot for employers to offer because of their great benefits and high taxes. 

Women especially don't get these contracts very often. They include 1 month pre-birth at full pay, 3 months after the birth at full pay, and up to 8 months at 80% pay,  then 30% pay until the baby is 18 months, then no pay, but you can stay home and they can't give away your job until the baby is about 8 years old. 

Most people nowadays get a contract "a progetto" which is also a great way to keep those pesky women from "disappearing" for "years at a time" on maternity leave. These contracts provide full pay two months before the birth and two months after (most people agree that at least one of those months would be more appreciated after the birth, but beggars can't be choosers). You can be reasonably sure, however, that if your employer suspects you're thinking about enlarging your family, your contract will not be renewed once it expires. If they find our you're pregnant and they really like you, though, they might renew you and have it expire THREE months before the birth. 

No. This is not legal, but ask anyone who lives here. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. 

I fall into neither category because I am a Libero Professionista, which means that I am a free-lancer. I control my schedule (good), I don't have to deal with a sexist boss (really good), but if I don't work, I don't get paid (bad). Period.   

6. What does your doctor say about what you can and can't do?
Run (I don't want to talk about it. This is, as far as I am concerned, the WORST thing about being pregnant in Italy), eat parmesan cheese (?!?), raw meat, prosciutto, fried food. Little or no: pizza, bread, pasta. 
Drink coffee, have a glass of wine with lunch and one with dinner. I don't.  

7. Have you had an ultrasound? When is your next one?
Yes, last week we had the three-month ultrasound to see if everything is hunky dorey. Measurements look good. I took a blood test the next day to see if the results coupled with those measurements indicate anything out of the ordinary. I will get those results back a week from next Monday. I am optimistic that things are fine.

The next appointment will be in another 3 months or so. Ultrasound appointments and doctor's appointments are separate affairs. I will see my doctor on Monday and bring the ultrasound results with me so that he can tell me what they mean. 

8. What is different about having a baby in Italy and America? 
I'm no expert on either but (1) here doctors are very very insistent on expectant mothers not gaining too much weight. Diet is a HUGE concern. No eating for two. Strict diet is enforced. 
(2) It is almost unheard of to have an epidural during labor in Trieste. They make you jump through hoops way before you're due if you want to have that possibility. I do not know one woman here who did not have a natural birth. 
(3) You can donate your baby's umbilical cord to the National Health Service and get it back if you need it. There is a very small chance that someone else could also need it (in that case, first come first serve). We had looked into private places to freeze it until the baby is 18. This option is much better because it's free and could save other babies. In fact, three babies recently (two in Italy, one in France) have been saved using donated Italian umbilical cords. The doctor who is in charge of the department where we donate blood is also in charge of this program so we are telling all of our friends about it, too. 

9. Are you showing yet?
No. I'm only 13 weeks and if I show it's probably because I ate too much, since I can keep food down finally. I lost weight during my first trimester because of nausea. 

Okay. We can finally talk about it!

My name is Karoline and I am a pregnant woman. It has been 13 weeks and four days according to my calendar. The round spinny calendar my doctor uses, which always seems to indicate that I am a week less along than I feel like I am (which was really annoying during the first 3 nauseating months), says the due date is October 26. 
That would make baby a Scorpio. 

Positive Characteristics:
Determined and forceful, emotional and intuitive, powerful and passionate, exciting and magnetic. 
Negative Characteristics:
Jealous and resentful, compulsive and obsessive, secretive and obstinate.

I'm good with the positive stuff. And come to think about it, the negatives don't look so bad either. Resentful will come in handy during the teenage years and into adulthood, I'm sure (How many times will I have to hear "Mom, everything is YOUR FAULT!"), and let's hope that compulsive and obsessive refers to keeping the house clean (because Mom Gemini and Dad Sagitarrius are TOTALLY not into it). And, what's one more obstinate person in the house?? 

OK. No problem. Bring on the Scorpio.