This year I am getting so excited about Christmas. I think it's because Emma is starting to understand a little about it and so it makes the gift shopping, wrapping, decorating and baking all the more fun and exciting. (I am soooo relieved that I was super organized this year and had practically all my gifts ordered or bought before my wallet got stolen end of November!!!! Phew!)
Also, I am really pleased with the gifts I have got for Emma. (and mostly everybody else too!) Gosh, just thinking about the smile on her face and imagining her yelp with joy makes Christmas a whole lot better!
As always, we have decorated our Christmas tree - albeit a bit early this year due to lack of activity on a rainy Sunday afternoon. But beautiful as I think it is, it somehow does not seem complete without gifts underneath. (We'll be celebrating Christmas in Geneva again so I sent all our gifts there with Steph who was flying out for a workshop and agreed to play father Christmas with a full suitcase of wrapped presents).
Anyway, I was thinking about all this and the Christmas tree we will be decorating in Geneva when I suddenly realized that the presents would be under the tree for a very short time this year if we wanted Emma to believe in Santa Claus. Mmmm.
I think I would like Emma to believe in the magic of Christmas. And that includes the Santa-Claus-brings-us-presents-while-we-are-asleep-thanks-to-his-helper-elves-and-reindeer-who-magically-pull-the-sleigh-across-the-sky story. Which involves us parents putting the presents under the tree only once Emma is asleep on the 24th so she can wake up to them on the 25th.
How are we going to organize this since we are also due to have a Christmas celebration at Tata Yéyé's new apartment on Christmas Eve during which I am sure everyone will want to give Emma their presents?
I guess we're going to have to have the "family and friends give each other presents" story as well as the "Santa Claus brings presents on his sleigh on Christmas Eve" one.
Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.
Here's a slightly more "medical" update on my previous post It's a boy!!!
At week 21, our little boy is estimated to measure about 23cm and weigh about 375gr. The EDD (estimated delivery date) remains the same and all that was measured was within the normal ranges.
The heart activity and rhythm, veins, lungs, stomach, cord, fetal movements and amniotic liquid are all "normal". My placenta is a little low (actually my report says "There is placenta previa, we advise to check the placental position at 34 weeks" ) but hopefully this will correct itself by the third trimester and I will not have to have a C-section. (I really, really do not want a C-section! Enough ops and scars thank-you! ) On the up side, they also typed "IUGR and preeclampsia are very unlikely to occur in this pregnancy." Well that's a relief!
All ok, right? But you know what? The fact is that I read all of this -except the placenta previa bit which I asked about while we were there- on our report once we got home. Although we had been looking forward to the organ screening, we walked out of the examination feeling really let down and actually worried. Nothing at all like the elation we felt each time we went to "the movies" as we used to call the monthly ultra-sound checks we had in Izmir when we "visited" Emma.
I have heard women say they wanted to give birth at home because they felt the medical environment and/or medical professionals overshadowed the natural and or human aspect of giving birth. While I am NOT considering having the baby at home (as far as I am concerned, it would be an unnecessary risk) I have to say that I do feel a little robbed of the magic by the medical and administrative requirements and modus operandi this time around. And this is despite the fact that there are no medical grounds for specific medical treatment or scrutiny.
In Turkey while pregnant with Emma we were a lot more relaxed and although examinations were thorough we somehow had more fun and looked at the "human" aspect of the pregnancy and baby more (like whose nose she might have inherited and how tall she would be). Our Obgyn would totally participate in this and indeed lead the way. Never were we asked to sign papers such as the ones we have had to sign here telling us about limited accuracy of medical tests or the risks of malformation. And this is despite the fact that in Turkey I was considered to be an old woman pregnant for the first time at the age of 33!
Here, prior to examinations we are asked to sign forms attesting our understanding that the examination/ultra-sound cannot guarantee 100% accuracy and telling us that approximately 5% of all pregnancies result in babies with undetected issues. Well, that really puts you in an optimistic and relaxed mood before seeing your baby doesn't it?
On one occasion, I have felt like we were present during the ultra-sound merely because we had to be, with the baby being inside me and all... On Monday, while carrying out the organ screening the doctor didn't systematically address us with explanations about what he was measuring or checking but rather was focused on dictating the data to his assistant who was typing it all up. I really felt nervous when he scrolled over the heart in total silence... breaking it only to dictate abbreviations followed by numbers until I asked: Is everything ok? and we were finally told "everything appears to be normal".
Then after we had paid and received our report he shook our hands and said "Enjoy your pregnancy" - yeah...I really felt like he had helped contribute to that! Today I had an appointment with my Obgyn and thankfully she was reassuring telling my more about placenta previa (apparently present in about 5% of pregnancies at the time of delivery) and encouraging me not to worry about it saying it would probably move up as the baby and uterus grow upwards. We actually had a proper conversation. Well, that's more like it.
Anyway, girl or boy all the same to me, as long as it is healthy and happy and the pregnancy and delivery go well.
*Gender myths: There is a saying in some cultures, whereby a baby girl "borrows" the mother's beauty during pregnancy. So basically, if your hair is greasy, you come out in acne and look your absolute worst in pregnancy you are thought to have a girl. If, on the contrary, you are glowing and beautiful then you are said to be pregnant with a boy. In my experience this is not true but a couple of Mums who have daughters have told me it worked for them. Also, I have been told that Mothers of "sturdy" girls always had a boy afterwards, whereas those who had dainty little girls then went on to have another girl. This seems to prove true in my case and in quite a few I know of. But what about the other way around? If you have a boy first?
And here he is, our little boy of 21 weeks in utero for whom we still need to find a name:
As every week I read my Pregnancy E-zines and this week I found a particularly interesting topic was touched upon in the American Pregnancy one; Natural herbs, teas and vitamins used in pregnancy.
Some of these tie in with a previous post of mine on Morning sickness relief recipes but the article is informative to anyone who drinks herbal teas, suffers from nausea, flatulence or heartburn or wants to avoid (or if you're past 40 weeks indulge in!) herbs that may cause contractions.
Red Raspberry Leaf - Rich in iron, this herb has helped tone the uterus, increase milk production, decrease nausea, and ease labor pains. Some studies have even reported that using red raspberry leaf during pregnancy can reduce complications and the use of interventions during birth.5 You may see pregnancy teas that are made from red raspberry leaf to help promote uterine health during pregnancy. (Read about herbal teas for more information)
There is some controversy about whether this should be used throughout pregnancy or just in the second and third trimester, so many health care providers remain cautious and only recommend using it after the first trimester.
PeppermintLeaf - Helpful in relieving nausea/morning sickness and flatulence
Ginger root - Helps relieve nausea and vomiting
Slippery Elm Bark - (when the inner bark is used orally in amounts used in foods) Used to help relieve nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations
Oats & Oat Straw - Rich in calcium and magnesium; helps relieve anxiety, restlessness, and irritated skin