Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Down to the Wire... 36 Weeks!

I was sitting here eating my requisite daily apple and peanut butter (don't ask me how much I spent on a tiny container of Skippy last week -- I feel guilty enough as it is! -- and I keep eating it straight out of the container...) when I thought I should probably finally get around to making an update on my blog, and more specifically a pregnancy update! The baby's been moving around quite a bit for the last few hours, whereas usually the Little Bean saves his/her jigging around for nighttime, just when I'm climbing into bed. The sage-femme told us yesterday, at my last birth preparation class, that this is pretty much always the way it works -- for some reason the baby's clock is exactly opposite our own, so as we go about our daily activities, the Little Bean sleeps away, pretty much through everything, and then wakes up when we're heading off to bed.

And I've now officially hit that tough period I was dreading -- yep, the insomnia period. I had been forewarned by numerous friends, and of course the recent heatwave isn't helping. Trust me, I'm not complaining -- I'm as happy as the next gal that we've finally got some sunshine in the City of Light -- but the heat is definitely not pleasant when you're pregnant, and even less so when you're pregnant and have to take public transportation, which has fast become my nemesis. Thank goodness most people are nice enough to give me a seat at this point, but it's not always the case.

So last night, for the second night in a row, I tossed and turned for nearly 2 hours before passing out, and waking up, per my usual, on my back. Recently I've been going to bed on my left side, with this supportive "pregnancy" cushion propped up against my back and several pillows under my calves. But then of course by morning the cushions and pillows are all on the floor, and I'm flat on my back. Oh well... I have no idea how other gals do it, but maybe their beds are up against a wall or something... In any case, I almost got up and moved to the sofa last night, as my boy fell fast asleep right away, immediately after we didn't settle our disagreement as to whether to leave the window open or not. I need the air, otherwise I feel like I'm broiling away in an oven, but at the same time, in spite of the fact that we're on the third floor, the street gets pretty noisy at night (we're in the centre ville of our town, and apparently it's unavoidable) so leaving the windows open is not the best option either. Last night I seriously thought I was going to slam open the shutters and start screaming at the hoodlums in the street, racing their stupid scooters up and down and making all kinds of who-knows-what kind of noise after midnight. I know it would have been pointless, but my hormones almost got the better of me... I swear, how satisfying would it have felt to scream, "Foutez le camp, foutez-nous la paix, il y a des gens qui essaient de DORMIR, bande de cons !!"?!

Enfin, I digress... And basically I would never have the balls to do such a thing anyway. I finally made it to sleep, but not without some effort, but the only thing that saves me is the fact that I can sleep in in the morning at this point, if I really need to, even though I don't like wasting the day away in bed with all that has to be done in the next few weeks... Then again, here I am now in front of the computer, so I'm not exactly making much progress here either!

So yesterday was my last birth preparation class at the clinic where I will be delivering the Little Bean in Paris, and up until now I have to admit I've been a bit disappointed in things... Well, overall everything has been going fine, but I couldn't help but think we were racing through so much information, and there was hardly any time to ask any questions, much less enough time to take actual notes during each jam-packed session. They've consolidated each 2 1/2 hour session of three classes so that we won't have to make the trips in to the clinic as often, and I totally understand this (granted, I don't know if I would have liked having to make the trip back and forth 8 times rather than only 3...) but at the same time, it's all just terribly overwhelming for first-time moms! Thank goodness at this point in my life in France I have a pretty good grasp of the language, because I know that otherwise things would be even harder. Then again, I don't know that even language understanding will make much of a difference on the Big Day, as I have a feeling most of the expletives will be coming out in my native tongue as I struggle through the contractions...

And I'm at the stage where I'm trying not to think about delivery too much, as I've heard SO MANY different things, and I know that it can be so different for everyone. Aside from the fact that I realize it will be painful, and that this is unavoidable, I just wonder how far along I will be able to make it before I beg for the epidural, and whether I'll even recognize the actual labor contractions -- I mean, I imagine they must be pretty clear when the due date becomes imminent, but then again I've heard about so many false alerts that I just don't know what to expect... In the meantime, I've found that actually reading less has made me feel better than reading more, and as much as I've always been of the mind that informing oneself is important, this is one area where I wonder if staying in the murky end isn't a little bit better! It's funny, because even the sage-femme pointed out yesterday that in the Western world we tend to intellectualize the experience, as well as breastfeeding, and we think about it so much that it tends to make it even more difficult. I don't know how true that actually is, but it seems to make sense to me! I do hope that things will come naturally, but again, I'm trying to be both pragmatic and realistic, figuring that I will take things as they come: J'essaie de faire confiance à la vie, pour une fois !

For the first time yesterday, after class was over, I ran into a couple of the futures mamans in front of the elevator on my way out of the building... I had been so disappointed up until now mainly because I painfully felt the lack of contact and communication among moms-to-be, and my American side was aching for some interaction, some camaraderie, quoi ! I've adjusted to many elements of life in France, but I think this is something I will always miss, and I do admit that I relish the opportunities I get to meet up with fellow anglophones to chat about all kinds of things. On occasion I've been able to do this with French gals, but deep down I'm obviously American and that will never change -- so I find that I'm more myself when I'm with other Americans. But it was so funny, because these two gals were talking about how the classes threw so much medical information at us, how overwhelming and intimidating they were, how fast the sage-femme spoke, how everyone else seemed to know exactly what was going on... It was crazy, because they were basically voicing every single thought that I had had running through my head! It felt SO GOOD to finally share things, to commiserate and bond a bit. They were both super-sweet, and I only wish we could have exchanged numbers and gotten together. But alas -- that kind of thing just doesn't happen as easily here... I had an appointment with my anesthésiste just after the class, so we did chat for nearly a half-hour before I headed back upstairs, exchanging ideas and suggestions for baby equipment shopping, advice for various ills (namely the heartburn -- the one gal told me about Rennie Chew, which she said was not as unpleasant as the Gaviscon -- take note!), and our upcoming due dates, whether the babies would arrive early or late, etc...

The funniest thing was that the one gal, who was super-adorable, had practically the same due date as me, only off by a day, and her belly was definitely MUCH bigger! I've been reassured numerous times that the size of the belly doesn't necessarily mean anything, but it's still always surprising for me to compare how differently my body has changed to those of other moms-to-be. Most people think I'm only 6 months along at this point, whereas I'm nearing the beginning of my 9th month! But she said that her baby had been pressing down on her cervix for a few weeks now, and that she has been having contractions already, fairly often even. This really surprised me... The other gal was hilarious, very frank and friendly, and she even admitted to being psychologically nervous about things, to the extent that she had practically passed out in birth preparation class at the clinic last week, when all the information was being thrown at us! She had just found out that she has to watch her sugar intake, though, for a diabetes issue, and that this was a challenge -- I know it would be for me too, especially since I have such a sweet tooth and have been eating far too much chocolate and ice cream over the past couple months. Ooops! I've been told that I've put on about 13 kilos at this point, but I do want to keep an eye on my weight gain over the next few weeks...

And as to the baby equipment -- well, believe it or not, I haven't made a whole heck of a lot more progress in that department from a month ago, I'm embarrassed to say. I scoped out some shops at the beginning of the sales but was really disappointed with what I found. Natalys only ended up having the support cushion I bought, as well as some cute clothes for the baby (that I definitely didn't need!). I still want to make a trip back to Aubert at les Grands Boulevards, but I've probably already missed the really good deals... One of the gals I met yesterday mentioned a big baby shop in the 17th on rue St. Ferdinand, so I may try to make it there sometime before the end of this week as well... The baby dresser I ordered from Vertbaudet finally arrived today, so now I just need to put it together (or beg my boy to do so -- we'll see how tough it is!) and then wash the baby clothes. My goal before the end of this week is to put together the bulk of my maternity suitcase, for the baby and me both, and to have the baby's clothes washed and stored away. Speaking of which: when I went through the bags this past weekend, I realized that I had fallen into the same trap that people had warned me about ahead of time -- far too many 1-month and 3-month things!! ARGH. So I'm definitely going to have to let people know to bring us older-sized clothes if they'd like to get us anything... Not to mention the fact that my mom pointed out, which is that if it's super-hot in August, I guess the baby will mostly only be in diapers and little onesies most of the time! So I won't need much. And I'm so afraid that some of the adorable outfits I have will go to waste! Oh well, guess I'll have to wait and see...

On that note, I just had to share this little nugget from a conversation I had with my boyfriend this morning: he mentioned that we may very well need to get a table à langer, which I agreed with, although originally I had thought a little mattress on top of the dresser would be fine, but now I'm not so sure... Just the fact that he mentioned the changing table was an improvement, trust me! As it is, we still need to pick up the carseat from my office (one of the diplomats was returning to Japan and asked me if I'd like to have it -- and obviously my answer was of course!), as well as figure out the bed issue... But then he went on to say, "Et on aura besoin d'un pot aussi, n'est-ce pas ?" I turned and looked at him quizzically. "Un pot ? Eh, je pense qu'on a le temps pour ça, un bébé n'apprend pas à aller sur le pot avant au moins un an, un an et demi..." And then he went on to say that no, he seriously thought it would be better to start earlier, like before 9 months! I started laughing and muttered that maybe he might want to get reading a little bit himself, because it sounds like he has a lot to learn. And here I thought *I* was bad!! I think he might want to learn how to change a diaper before purchasing a potty... What do you think?!

17 comments:

Jennie said...

A baby potty-trained at nine months!!! I love it!!! Men are so funny!!

Megan said...

Actually, I have heard that it is possible to start at about a year- apparently the trick is that you set them on it facing backwards first thing in the morning, give them some toys to play with, then just wait until they go naturally, then just repeat as often as possible. Then they start to equivalate potty+business and it works in less time. But apparently you have to start earlier, otherwise if you wait until 18 months or so it is too late and you have to wait until the "regular" potty training time. I have no actual experience with this yet, just passing along what I have heard.
- Oh and about the noise, that would drive me nuts too. Where we used to live, our bedroom window was just about level with the house across from us's porch- in the summer a whole group would stay out there laughing and carrying on until 3 am or so. We didn't have AC or doubled-paned windows. I felt like screaming "shut up!" or dumping water on them. In your case, calling the police might have an effect, but in ours it wouldn't have.

misschris said...

I bet you will see lots of the moms from your birth prep classes in the clinic. I know I did. At the hospital they were all chatty and friendly wheras in the class they seemed so quiet.

Linda said...

I remember that insomnia thing with my first baby. Also, he must have been pressing on something because I couldn't lie on my right side. Potty training-Age two seems to be about the average at least with my children.

Le Tigre in France said...

Wow! He must be expecting a very advanced baby, lol! I met a couple who had potty trained their kid at 2 which is apparently pretty good..

afoos said...

Gab was almost 3 when he was potty-trained! Louise hasn't even shown interest yet (she's 22 months). Don't worry, he'll learn a lot as things come along. That's what E did and he has done a pretty good job.

ColourMeCrazy said...

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I didn't have problems falling asleep but my problem was that I kept waking up because of the backache! As for pain relief, I didn't have an epidural but in some ways, wish I had asked for one earlier. Most of the birth almost seems like a blur to me due to the pain. Hope it all goes well and get as much sleep as you can now!

Vivi said...

Oh honey, I'm really feeling for you in this heat! I'm having a rough time and I'm three months behind you! It looks like we're supposed to get some relief today or tomorrow - not the best weather for July but it will be a nice break for us!! :D

I had to laugh about the potty training story too. Most Frenchies I know are working to get their kids potty trained before their kids go to maternelle which is right around three. We'll be using cloth diapers so I'm not as concerned about the cost of diapering until 2 1/2 but I wouldn't mind a baby genius that can go potty on his own before he can walk!!! :P

Samantha said...

My co-worker & his wife actually started potty-training at birth. Apparently over time, you learn the cues your baby gives off when they're going pee or poo, and you make a certain sound when they do it. After a few months, they will poo or pee on command, like Pavlov's dog. It only really works if you're a stay-at-home parent though, cuz you need to be able to do it all day long.

The Late Bloomer said...

Hmmmm... it's interesting to see that in fact there are actually schools of thought that encourage and have methods for potty-training at such an early age! Just don't tell my boyfriend, OK? Because that will mean "he's right" once again... Ha ha! Whoda thunk it?!

I guess some of the expectant moms might be more chatty at the clinic -- I'm kindof hoping so, Miss Chris, because maybe that will put me more at ease on the Big Day. Then again, by then I imagine I might be in pain and agony, so there's a good chance I won't be thinking much about chatting with my fellow futures mamans!

Colourmecrazy, so great to see you again! Congrats on your wee one, so happy to see a pic of her on your food blog. Yeah, the back pain -- I think I've been putting off going to bed at nights literally because it's no longer the pleasure it used to be. I always wake up in the morning these days feeling achey and in pain all over -- back, feet, hands. It's so strange!

Vivi, I'm hoping to give cloth/material diapers a try too, but I have a feeling we'll more than likely be doing mixed, especially in the beginning, just knowing my boyfriend and myself and how we function. I'm motivated and definitely want to give the cloth diapers a try, but after the advice I received, and considering the fact that I want to breastfeed as well, I'm just wondering if I'll be able to handle all that extra work! But again, I'm going to give it my best... I figure if I can cut back on as many disposable diapers as possible, that will be great, but I will try to have them on hand for emergencies and more difficult times when we can't do the diaper washing, etc...

I've got so much more I've been thinking about these past few days, maybe for once you'll see me more blogging more than usual! Lots of stuff just rolling around in my head, and things going on here at home... So we'll see if I can make some sense of all of this!

Nicole said...

That shop in the 17th is really well stocked so definitely worth a trip over- although if I rememeber correctly, its a hike from the metro so take a taxi! Nearly all the furniture they sell has to be ordered though so you need to plan on waiting 6 weeks or so for delivery.

avec amy said...

What and exciting and scary time for you! So many emotions. I can relate about your feelings of being American. I used to wish my French was better so I could make French girlfriends to integrate more easily. Then I realized that I am just more comfortable w/the American girls here. And about the heat, I'm totally with you; however, I'm terrified of mosquito bites so it's always a dilemma - window, open or shut?!? Good luck with the potty-training! Can't wait to read about that over the next 9 months ; )

Doc said...

My neighbor did the Pavlov's dog thing with her monkeys, all four of them--chic hasn't paid for diapers like ever. Hate her, but don't have the patience to be her.

Mz B said...

Hi, First time around to read your blog. I like it! and am looking forward to reading more about you upcoming birth and motherhood.

bleeding espresso said...

Waiting anxiously for news....

Hope all is well :)

screamish said...

Hey- still due August the fifth?? I guess you're doing a lot of lying around reading books, lolling on your left side, drinking litres of water, getting tired and having urges to clean out cupboards? In any case if you're like me!

Hope things are going well. I am with you on the aching thing. Yesterday my left arm started inexplicably aching, for no reason. Then stopped.

I should be doing lots of cleaning out but cant get the energy together...maybe this arvo. My man is obsessed with the house renovations, its a race against time. The poor thing is working so hard. It leaves me with lots of time for sitting around surfing the net and wasting time but I miss him...

It's cooled down a bit here, hope up north things are cooler for you!

The antenatal classes sound great..I'd like to get to know some future mums but my classes dont start til next week...hopefully there'll be a twin mother in the group??

Hoping for a new post...maybe some night when insomnia strikes!

Melbel said...

Your blog header is hilarious, I love it! Keep your awesome posts coming! France is beautiful, isn't it?


Melanie
http://www.an-american-in-france.com