Sunday, May 29, 2011

pregnancy updates...III or IV?

So I arrived safely in the states last Monday, May something or other.  2011.  Staying in NC with my family, getting settled, making birth plans, and hopefully going to visit family I haven't seen in about 2 years.

A big year for me!  Number one, I will be turning 30.  The big 3-0.  My fellow volunteer friend Casandra will enjoy her 30th in South Africa really soon, and I wonder what she will do to celebrate.  Hopefully something fun.  I will most likely be giving birth, or will have just done so. I imagine my celebrating will be different than all adult birthdays come before, much milder and less alcoholic in nature as I don't want to poison the little one.  But more excitingly, number two, the little one!

I found out I was pregnant on Dec 23, so that means for all of 2011, I have been preparing for the arrival of my first child.  Most of this time has been in South Africa with daddy, but as lovely as that was, it's really great to spend the last trimester in the States.  Here, I am a 20 minute drive away from several hospitals, doctors offices of many varieties, 2 hours from the nearest birthing center, with nearby Lamaze and other supportive classes.  In SA, the nearest hospital any local recommended was 250k (about 2 hours driving time in a private car or 3 hour taxi ride away) from us, and we didn't have a car.  Classes for expecting new parents were only available in a dream, and books only in Afrikaans (a language I don't speak) from the local library. 

Even though I wasn't excited about leaving SA and my fiancee, now that I'm here, I see that was the best decision, for many reasons.  My mom and sister, especially, are really supportive; both emotionally and financially.  I can find a doula (birthing coach and support person), choose a hospital (my pregnancy is considered high-risk because of the blood clots, therefore I do not qualify for home birth or birthing center, unfortunately), and I joined my local La Leche League for breastfeeding support.  I am planning to take Lamaze classes, or some other type of natural pain-management programme because I'd love to have a drug-free birth.  I also plan to sign up for as many other parenting or health classes as I can.  Knowledge is power!  None of this was available in SA, and with the time drawing more near, it seems really important to take care of business rather than just leaving it all to chance.

I'm about 6 months along, and in the last few days, the thing has been moving like crazy.  It's really quite strange, but comforting to know that it's still alive.  In the last 3 weeks or so, I've really started getting bigger, and feeling that weight in my lower back.  I can still sleep or lay on my stomach, but sort of augmented by a leg out, or weight shifted more to one side.  I'm eating several small meals or snacks throughout the day, and not having heartburn or much digestive trouble as a result. 

Every woman has a different experience regarding pregnancy, both emotionally and physically.  I find it really interesting that my younger sister, who is due one week before me with her first child, is very "lovey dovey" and seemingly emotionally attached to her little one, and the idea of being a mother.  She talks to her unborn baby, stares at it, posts photos, and seems to anticipate each new change as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread (if you consider sliced bread to be all that great to begin with.)  I, on the other hand, feel much more scientific about the experience.  I have done a bit of research, am glad the organs are of normal size, want to breastfeed because it's healthy, and feel more of a detached interest than she.  I never really felt "maternal" or that I necessarily wanted to be a mom like some ladies I know.  I hate shopping, and an excess of things, so I haven't and won't go pick out matching baby stuff, or decorate with baby ducks or pastel colors or any of that stuff I imagine my sister doing.  She wants my mom there for her delivery and aftercare of the baby, and I am glad my mom will be occupied elsewhere.  She's emotional and I imagine my delivery going much more smoothly without people freaking out in the background. 

In some ways, I feel like breaking the leg and living abroad in a rural village have both prepared me pretty well for this new journey.  Both were really painful experiences at times, both have taught me that you don't earn anything without working hard, and that you need other people's help to survive.  But most importantly, the lesson to take away from those times is to not sweat the small stuff.  The big hurdles need your energy, and just enjoy the rest of it.  So, I shall try.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Notes on pregnancy, 2

People have been asking what are my food cravings. I don't feel especially strong feelings for any food or drinks, so i have been saying,"none." I've been thinking about it, and obviously my diet has changed. On closer examination, i have been much more inclined to dairy, namely milk, yoghurt, and eggs. I do occasionally eat cream and cheese. Additionally, i have eaten biscuits almost every day the last two months. In South Africa, biscuits are what we in the states call cookies. However, here, many varieties are less sweet and rich than in the states. For example, the ones i usually eat are like un-iced animal crackers, sometimes with a cream filling or sometimes ginger flavored. Not like ginger snaps, though. Just less sweet. Surmising, i am eating more fat and carbs. I also tend to choose fish, beans or nuts for my protein instead of meat. Easier to digest?

I read on facebook today that my rpcv friends chose a name for their soon coming baby, i think a zulu name. We chose our names today, too. Just like the gender, this will remain a surprise until after the birth. It's funny how we haven't been actively thinking about it, and i never had any picked out, but how easy it was to decide. We are pretty good at forging our two different cultures together and making shared decisions, most of the time.