Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pre-natal class with the daddies

Yesterday the boys finally got to come and sit with us on our paper-thin exercise mats on the hardwood (emphasis on HARD) floor for two hours. The first thing they all did was take a pillow, or a hunk of wall to lean up against-- their fussing cracked me up while the rest of the bellies looked so comfortable (except for me) just sitting cross-legged in the middle of their mats.

The happiest dad in the room was, you guessed it, Sugar's. When it was his turn to introduce himself, while the others were like "yeah, like my name is Fred and well, that's about it..." he said his name, that this was his first child and that he was very curious to know EVERYTHING there was to learn in this class. And boy, was he ever. He asked LOTS of questions, and took notes. So did the dad next to us. BTW, the wife, whose name is MITA and is in one of the pictures of when we went to visit the hospital (girl on the left in the first picture) immediately recognized Sweetie by HIS NOSE. She doesn't remember ever meeting him, but realized that they were probably (and are) distant cousins because of his unmistakable honker.

So sweetie got the lo-down on water breaking, back massaging, bathing the b.o.j., etc. I asked him afterwards what his favorite part of the class was, and his answer was "EVERYTHING!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Official: Sweetie is Nesting

...which makes one of us.

The clothes line is full of teeny tiny socks with ducks on them, hats, bibs, onesies, an I heart NY  t-shirt, a St. Louis Zoo shirt, two hooded towels, and a little blanket.

There are brand new stacking plastic boxes full of what looks to me from here as baby gear, and from what I understood over dinner (out!), Sweetie has auto-cadded Sugar's room (my office?!) and input three different IKEA furniture solutions for me to choose from.  There is also a new load of hand-me-down baby styuff from his sister's house stacked neatly inside the crib awaiting inspection.

He did this all today, after 3pm.

Well, Sugar, we're getting close, baby! Just give us another couple of weeks and we may even have a place for you to sleep...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prognosis: Tired

I'm drinking my Polase as I write this hoping that it's a potassium/magnesium deficiency since I'm already taking LOTS of IRON, which seemed to really help last week. I guess now that we're getting down to the wire it's about time I started feeling and bahaving like a pregnant person. Therefore I am waddling like a duck, getting winded after about 3 minutes of walking, holding my belly up from the bottom in the evenings when I get off my lazy butt to retrieve something from the kitchen (can of tuna, hot water with lemon, or bittersweet chocolate, my three loves of the moment), and, the number one tell-tale sign that you are really, indeedy super pregnant: buckling the MATERNITY OVERALLS which have been let out to their maximum capacity on the sides (thank you, Elena for the hand-me-down, these bibs are on their third pregnancy).

Now I have to go to my doctor and get the paperwork for my last (hopefully) set of blood tests to do next week. The thought of walking downstairs to the bus makes me feel tired, until I remember that I don't have any more bus tickets and therefore have to walk a good three blocks to buy some new ones.

As for Sugar, she's great! Hiccuping in my lower abdomen several times a day, sticking her rump under my ribs just to say hi, that sort of thing. Then she does this little trick where she sticks her elbow out or something pointy and I can see it and I say to Sweety, hey check out Sugar's elbow, or touch this right here, or feel this, and when he does she has cleverly tucked it back in to make me look like a jerk! Then of course only I can hear her bubbly laugh in my lower belly...I've decided not to say anything anymore, and if someone sees the belly jump, well then they got a glimpse of the sugarbaby. Otherwise I just keep it to myself. The world will get enough of her later, on the outside, I'm sure.

We're off to our friend Nadia's birthday party in Treviso this weekend. She's turning 40. I am in charge of games, so I have to get on that today while I'm waiting for my very busy doctor to do my paperwork if he doesn't close like five minutes before I get there (it's happened before).

More later!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tomorrow is Pre-natal class 3

The second went so well I can't remember what the hell we even talked about. All I can tell you is that we had to sit on the floor on an exercise mat for two hours and I took a pillow from the big pile of pillows and took turns using it under my butt (when sitting) and under my belly when laying on my side because I couldn't take sitting on my butt anymore. Raquel says I should have done yoga or something, that I have lousy flexibility. I don't know how the other girls could do it. Even sitting here to type this the bones in my butt are telling me to get up and walk around.

Man! Have I got the HEARTBURN!

In case you wanted to know...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Bellies go on a Field Trip!

Every third Saturday of the month, the children's hospital in Trieste, Burlo, lets bellies and their partners from my district (distretto 3) come and take a look at where we will be laboring and giving birth. We had a really nice doctor give us the tour. Two out of four rooms have big tubs in them if you want to labor in the water (birthing happens outside the tubs). The staff seems pretty cool and very flexible about how things get done. They give you suggestions, but you do what you need to do: stand up, squat, tub it, lie on your side, whatever. They let us ask whatever we wanted and they gave us good, honest answers to to what we wanted to know. 


According to this doctor, you need to look at the day of conception and what kind of change in the moon it's closest to, and count the next ten changes that are exactly like that and that's when you'll probably give birth. If you conceive near a full moon, count ten of them and then you have it. Sugar's conception was right before the waxing moon (that's when it gets bigger, right?), so 10 of those and we're at October 30, which means Sugar could very well turn out to be a Halloween baby (which means we'll have to get him or her one of these). I was hoping for the previous full moon, which would be October 23. We'll see how it all works out. 

I got a couple of the bellies to pose for the field trip picture. A few of the bellies left right after the tour and missed their photo op. 

In the first two we may even be in order of due date. The first girl is due on October 22, then me on October 26, then, I think the next girl is October 28, then November 1st. 

We are the three foreign gals in the prenatal class. The girl on the left is from Moscow, then me, then Raquel from Australia. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Prenatal class for suckers

Before eating sushi (the grand event) with Raqel yesterday, we went to a baby course at Pre-Natal, which is one of those baby stores that sells everything you could possibly ever need (for real) or think you need pre and post birth. I was expecting it to be like a tupperware party where they immediately give you an order form and shake you down to buy self-warming baby bottles and the like, but it wasn't like that at all. They did make you fill out a form to get their card, which is like your standard grocery store card for discounts and things, but I suppose that's normal. The woman who made me fill out the form couldn't BELIEVE that I checked the box that said not to send me or email me any of their info or sales stuff. She was so surprised that she took a minute to explain to me what I was going to be missing out on (spam and junk mail).

Obviously the Pre-natal marketing people are MUCH smarter than I thought. They actually have an intelligent and personable woman with some training (as in University classes, not just Pre-natal training)  who goes around to all of their stores teaching a 2 hour class on various things like safety during baby transport, baby massage, baby psychology, renting breast pumps, etc. It was pretty interesting.

But 2 hours is a long time to sit without a potty break, and there was no good way to get up in the middle of the talk and go find the bathroom, so the 15 or so bellies were getting fidgety towards the end, then when it was finally over, we all made a bee-line for the (one) bathroom downstairs.

By the time we finished (I actually opted to go at the place we had lunch just because I felt the need to get out of there after Raqel, the last person in line, was done) the store closed for lunch, so I don't think any of the girls bought anything.

But the experience was pretty good, so I'm sure Pre-natal will get its money's worth anyway when we return with our husbands to buy all of those creams and thermal bags and baby backpacks and all the other stuff we learned that we won't be able to live without...



Thanks to my Aussie friend, Raqel (my new buddy from prenatal class), who wisely reminded me that not ALL sushi has fish in it.

So we had California rolls, another kind with a fried (mmm) shrimp in it, one with egg, and, my new fave: avocado and cream cheese (sans salmon).

YUM! Now being pregnant isn't so bad...

Friday, September 10, 2010

What do you think? Boy or a Girl?

You can vote there in the sidebar. It's in Italian for some reason, but no biggy. You have until October 26 to vote. Decide boy or girl and click VOTO.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

7 Month Check up A-OK!

I had an appointment with my doctor today. Here's what came out of it.

1. He is ECSTATIC about my moderate weight gain. I'm at 4.8 kilos (the 5 reported in the sidebar was for one day, I think I ate a big pizza the day before or something then went back down to 4. As of this morning I can round up to 5, but I choose not to). He confided to me today that he expected me to really pork out (thanks, Doc!) because of the running ban he imposed. He says I have a good metabolism. I think it has more to do with not over-compensating disproportionately for exercise (as in, running and burning like 100 calories but taking in an extra 1500  just because)...

2. I'm taking Iron tablets every day but I continue to be anemic. Very annoying. I even started eating Lentil Soup (sounds gross but it's actually pretty good) but it's not enough. Now I have to take a tablet in the morning and one at night. Sweetie went out this afternoon looking for horse-meat steaks (chock full of iron, he says), which he couldn't find in the normal grocery store (thank god!) and came home with chicken instead (phyoo).

3. He confirmed that there IS a nursery at the hospital right now, but that the current fashion is to have mothers keep babies with them 24/7 if all is okay. Ten years ago they encouraged mothers to put the babies in the nursery so they could at least get a couple of nights of shut-eye, but now the idea is to keep the nursery as empty as possible. He thinks that it would be good to have some kind of middle road, but things don't go that way around here. For him both options are fine.

4. He gave me a prescription for more blood tests for next month, plus a meeting with the anesthesiologist after I get my blood test results back. This is in the event I have to have a c-section, and also if I should want or need an epidural.

5. He said that any specific needs or wants for the labor room should be discussed with the doctor on duty at the time, that doctors are much more reasonable than people give them credit for.

6. My blood pressure is slightly higher than last time, but it's still good.

7. He asked me if I have any water retention. I don't.

8. He asked me if I have any unusual pain. Don't have that either.

9. He did a quick check, everything that needs to stay closed for a while still is, he knocked on my back and it didn't hurt, so that was good.

It was a short visit, as usual. That's just fine with me.

Next visit will be  in October around the second week.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pre-natal class 1

The class started at 9:10 (we were all there like twenty minutes early and sat mostly in uncomfortable silence all the way through the 10 minute delay). There were twelve bellies, all from the same neighborhood (how many bellies are there in the other neighborhoods??).

During the two-hour session, I found out some things about Burlo (the children's hospital where it looks like all of us are having our babies) :

1.It does about 1800 births a year, and apparently they do a good job with them. I have heard lots of good things about the whole labor and birth thing there.
2. One of the reasons they don't like epidurals is that they don't have enough anesthesiologists, the other reason is that many doctors there feel like they just get in the way of the natural process. If you want one, you have to have an interview with a doctor, take tests, etc. and they will almost never give you one if you decide to have it while in labor. These things must be planned. If you decide just because you're in pain, they assume you're not thinking straight.
3. They have those birthing pools (2) and you can do your labor in water, but there is a shortage of doctors that deliver in pools, so they'll pull you out right before you have the baby (in case you're interested in that water thing), apparently it is a jacuzzi-like thing with a rope hanging in the middle (doesn't sound encouraging) that you can hang on during contractions.
4. You have to bring your own silverware if you plan on eating during the 2-3 days you're in the hospital if all goes well and 4 days if you have a cessarean. If you don't, they will give you a plastic fork or something but then make you use it for every meal until you leave. I think I will bring paper napkins too.
5. They provide clothes and diapers for baby while in the hospital
6. There may or may not be a nursery (teacher says they closed it, one of the bellies, who works in the neo-natal department says it is open and it was closed temporarily because it was getting work done). Either way, plan on having the b.o.j. (bundle of joy) with you 24/7 from the get-go.
7. If you're low risk they put you in the "old" part where you will share a room with 2 or 3 other women and their b.o.j.s and there are two bathrooms on the entire floor (they assure me there will be toilet paper). It's cold at night in the old part.
8. If you are high risk or have a c-section, you will go in the "new" part where you will be alone or with one other person, have your own air conditioning and/or heater and your own bathroom.

as far as our group:

Youngest: 21 years old
Oldest: (hurray it's not me!) 38
Number of people (still) working: 2 (including me), the other works for the train company (Notice how I avoided writing she's been working on the railroad all the live-long day?)
Sex of unborn b.o.js: Boys--6, Girls--4 Surprise-- 2 (including me)
Number of foreigners: 3 -- one American (me), one Australian (yeah!), one Russian.
Number of bellies with babies at home: 2
Bellies with babies pointing up: 2
Bellies with babies pointing down: 10
Earliest due date: Oct 22
Latest due date: Nov 8

Another interesting tidbit.
You can immediately sense that the "Ostetrica"s around here are NOT on the same page as the doctors. As far as I can tell, there is some kind of training to be an Ostettrica but I am not sure it's as rigorous as being a nurse, definitely not the same course of study as a doctor. There seems to be a general dislike among Ostettricas (I guess they're mid-wives but they work for the hospital and deliver babies there and also teach these classes) for pain medication and donating umbilical cords (I had heard this already and tested the theory today. I asked if dads can cut the cord if you donate it and the teacher immediately said NO even though I talked to the person in charge of the donation program who said yes, absolutely, and then said, "but don't ask an Ostettrica, they're totally against cord donation and give out false information about it) and they seem to tend to be overall much more touchy-feely and less "science"y.

So basically if you think of the Meet the Parents movies, so far I would put the Doctors I've had into the Robert Deniro (let 'em cry) side of the family, and the Ostettricas into the Barbara Streisand (co-sleepers) category.

I may be wrong, this is just my impression, but I will come back to it later.
Tomorrow I have my appointment with my regular doctor. Will let you know how it goes.