I am days away from being 34 weeks, which also means I'm about six weeks from my due date. Yoowza! Just look at that belly! Things are going well. Overall I really have no room to complain other than the typical third trimester pregnancy gripes. This kid moves like an athlete all the time, which is only mildly terrifying because little r was calm as ever when he was tucked inside my tummy, and he came out movin' and shakin' like no other. We already have our hands full, so I might need to borrow someone's hands when we welcome this little tyke into the world.
My doctor tells me that everything is going really well. Blood pressure is fantastically low, baby is growing right on schedule, and there are no signs of complications. The last several months have been a tad bit distracting emotionally, so it was like Big R and I got hit in the head with the realization that this baby is coming, and he's coming soon. It might be a good idea if we get ready, don't you think? One enormous difference with preparations this go around is that we now have little r that we need to think about. No whisking me off in the middle of the night leaving our sweet little bear behind. And it could be helpful to put a plan in place to make sure he's in good hands while I'm in labor. Just thinkin' that could be a good idea. We're hoping this one doesn't want to come quite so early, so we should have some time to sort things out. Can't hurt to be prepared though because you just never know...
It was also time to get registered at the klinikum (German hospital). Typically they like you to have this taken care of by 36 weeks. I was a little early completing this task only because they wanted to slide me in before the Easter holiday. Things quite literally shut down here for this religiously important holiday, and the Germans are nothing if efficient as we have learned all too well.
Having a baby and all of the prenatal care in Germany hasn't been alarmingly different than what I experienced back home. There are differences though, obviously... Most things are simple and go right along with what you would expect (except that I get an ultrasound with each appointment, and that is pretty darn neat!). The hardest part has been navigating Tricare, which is a beast of a health care program overseas, especially when you are pregnant. Every time I catch myself ranting or complaining about it, I try to calmly remind myself that at least I have health care and it is paying for literally everything. That is a benefit so many Americans don't get to experience, so I need to shut it sometimes. But alas, it's still mildly frustrating.
That aside, the only other interesting caveat to having a baby here in Germany is the language barrier. It's not a huge one being that the doctors here are required to learn English as part of their medical training. That is no easy task, by the way, considering learning a language is difficult enough, but to learn it in medical terms is a special art. My doctor is wonderful. The translation often means there is no sugar coating the communications, and every once in awhile things might be slightly confused, but I really haven't had any trouble with it at all yet.
My favorite lost in translation story though is from last week when I registered at the klinikum. I got the distinct feeling that this registration isn't something they have all of the expectant mothers do here, but that it is instead something they ask the military mom's to do knowing that the paperwork would be much more complicated as things are translated between the two languages. The appointment took quite awhile, and I wasn't entirely certain what all the appointment would entail. I met with the Chief of OB at the klinikum. Tricare takes good care of the doctors here, so they always have us meet with the head of each department (it was the same way when little r had his surgery last fall). The Professor (as they call the "chief") was great. Super charming, funny, and light-hearted about the entire thing. Then he sent me up to the labor floor so I could meet with a midwife to prepare my medical file. The idea being that it would be much easier to take care of that now than it would be if I were in labor. Excellent point.
I was told a midwife would be waiting for me, and she would walk me through the paperwork. Instead, I got to the labor and delivery ward, and the woman behind the desk gave me that "deer in the headlights" look. I mustered together my best German in an attempt to explain why I was there. The best part was, I only marginally knew what I was there for and I had no clue what they called this process. Was it "registration"? Who knows... So, I motioned that I was there to fill out paperwork to make sure I was prepared for childbirth. Sounds about right, don't you think?
After about five minutes of waiting, she calls me back and whisks me away to a labor room. It's a calm and peaceful room with about 30 or more dimly lit lights in the ceiling tiles - so European on so many levels. There was a huge circular spa bathtub in the center of the room that was pink and fantastic. But the best part was, the room was surrounded in true European style with wall to wall mirrors. She laid me on my side on a hospital bed and immediately got me hooked up to equipment to monitor contractions and the baby's heartbeat. While I laid there awaiting the midwife, I couldn't help but think about laboring in this room naked in the gigantic pink spa tub watching myself in the mirrors. Yikes! There must be a calming effect providing purpose to the design of the whole room, I'm just not 100% sure what that effect might be. Can you think of a worse time to be able to see yourself - from every possible angle?!
Anyhow, the midwife comes in and we talk to each other in broken German and English. She gets all of my critical information written down like my name, birthday, and due date. Then she looks at me with these kind eyes and says, "Warum sind Sie da?" Simply translated, that means, "Why are you here?" And it dawned on me that the woman up front thought I was in labor. I was hooked up to monitors because she thought a baby was on its way. Too funny. Instead of unhooking me though, the midwife just continued on her merry way with having me answer her questions to complete my medical file while I was chillin' on my side listening to my baby's heartbeat. I'm not sure if she was embarrassed from the misunderstanding or if it was just plain easier to continue leaving me in that state. Either way, we both got a chuckle out of it. Although her English was really very good, going through the paperwork was a tedious process for both of us as we tried to translate the questions and answers to each other. I'm glad this task will be behind us the next time I am there fully in labor.
In other news, we have nearly completed the baby room. I'll give you those details and pictures in a separate blog post. We decided to go all out and paint even though we are moving this summer, and I'm glad we did even though our painting skills are pathetic to put it mildly.
|Sneak peak of the baby room behind my gigantic baby bump!|
Little r seems to be super excited for his baby brother to get here. He constantly provides me with comedic fodder about my ever increasing size. He keeps saying his baby brother is going to "pop out" and that my tummy is getting so big! For some reason he's been super interested in sitting on my lap lately, which is mildly amusing considering there is very little room for him to sit there anymore. And our sweet war hero often decides my belly makes a wonderful pillow.
I'm still doing yoga although no where near as often as I'd like. It's taking everything out of me to walk little r to school and to get my wide load up our steep driveway these days. I can, and do, still stand on my head and do other inversions. If I can remember to have someone take my picture, I'll provide that image for your amusement one last time. I won't be doing them anymore until the baby is born. Not because I don't want to or am not able, but more because it's advisable not to at this point in your pregnancy for various reasons. So, I'll be putting my inversions to rest for awhile.
Pregnancy is anything if not amusing, so I'll provide more fun stories when they come my way. For now though, it's time to take a nap before my crazy little bear gets home from kindergarten and turns my world upside down.
love to you all - xoxoxoxo