Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Another week down ??? to go

I have managed to get through another week of maternity leave! Last week actually went quite quickly as it was filled with visitors and doctors visits.

Wednesday Josh's sister Kristin arrived with her husband Scott and their son, Erik. We had a lovely dinner across the street at the best Asian restaurant on our street. We live in a mini China town so this is high praise. After dinner we took a walk and showed them around our neighborhood. We haven't seen Kristin, Scott and Erik since our wedding so it was nice to catch up.

Thursday I had a long day at the American Hospital. I went by Metro for a morning appointment, Josh met me there. We waited an hour only to find out the appointment was changed to the evening, without anyone calling to inform me. The doctor wasn't even there at that time. I headed home having wasted 3-4 hours on a non appointment. My lovely husband was kind enough to drive me back that night for a 7:40 appointment. After a two hour wait we finally saw the doctor.

The baby seems to be getting extremely large. The doctor said he is full term and we can expect him at anytime. I am taking some medicine to keep me from going into early labor but he told me to stop the meds on August 7. The doctor will be on vacation for all of August, returning only one day to see patients. I am scheduled to see him again August 14 (the one day he is in office)but he thinks I will have the baby before August 14. So, we wait.

Saturday Josh played tour guide with our guests while I stayed home and rested. We had a very busy day Sunday (at least by my standards). We went to our friends Berenger and Martin's house for brunch. It was really nice and so French. They announced their engagement which was really exciting. They plan to be married next fall in the South of France. I think we will be back in the States by then but maybe we can use some Air France miles to return for the wedding.

After brunch we headed to our friends Jasmine and Alvaro's where they fed us a beautiful cake. They also gave us a beautiful baby bed that their daughter has out grown. We were planning to use a deluxe Pack and Play with a bassinet and changing table for the baby until we returned to the states. We are still planning to use the Pack and Play until he is too big for the basinet part. Then we will switch to the bed, if we have room to set it up. If the bed is too big we will save it for the US when the baby will have his own room.

We finally got in some time after 9 on Sunday night and I was exhausted! I haven't left the house since, although I might venture down to check the mail today. We also just had a rocking chair delivered so I might try to assemble that this afternoon. The days are passing much faster now that I have gotten used to being home all day.

Josh is now driving to his office so he can get back quickly (about an hour) if I need him to take me to the hospital. I hope the baby decides to come at night so Josh will be here and I won't have to worry. We can get to the hospital in about 20-30 minutes so that shouldn't be a problem. Thursday I am meeting with the anesthesiologist so they have my info on hand for the delivery. I am still not really sure what to expect when I go to the hospital. I know from books how things work in the states but I have very little info about French deliveries. I tried to ask the doctor but he answers were vague, he just says everything should be fine and no problem. Unfortunately I don't know what fine and no problem means. I can only pray for the best and rest assured it is a very good hospital.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Weekend Update

I actually made it outside three days in a row! So, today I had to rest in the house which was rather nice since it was cold and rainy.

Friday night Josh made dinner and then we walked up the street to get ice cream. I was so anxious to get some fresh air any excuse would suffice. Saturday I went out two times! We went shopping and then in the evening we went to a lovely dinner party. My friend Alexandra and her boyfriend Lothaire had us over along with our friends Jasmine and Alvaro. The dinner was really nice and we collected booty for the kid! Jasmine and Alvaro are moving to Hong Kong soon with their daughter so they gave us some of her baby toys and a bath tub. We also received a giant stuffed dog which we have been using to torture our cats.

Sunday we ventured out to the frozen food shop because I am now obsessed with smoothies. I suppose they are healthier than ice cream, at least somewhat. Sunday is also Roast day in the Oliver house. Josh has now tweaked his recipe to perfection, it involves beer and at least 6 hours in the oven.

Today Josh set off for the South of France for a few meetings. He is getting in tomorrow night and then leaving for Germany on Wednesday morning. After those trips he is finished traveling until after the baby arrives. I am really glad that will be it, I am worried I will go into labor and have to call an ambulance. My French skills are lacking on a good day, never mind while in labor!

Saturday we did a practice run to the hospital. I was surprised it only took about half an hour by car. It is much longer by Metro which is my normal means of transportation. I figure it will take Josh an hour to get to our apartment from work and then another half hour to get to the hospital. That is much less frightening than the 2-3 hours I had been planning.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ten days down

I have now completed 10 days of maternity leave without going insane with boredom. Actually it isn't so bad, I have found ways to keep busy through out the day.

Today is absolutely beautiful which makes it difficult to stay inside. There is a lovely park just around the corner that I have been dreaming of all day. Instead I have cleaned out drawers and separated clothes that currently fit, might one day fit again and those that need to find a new home. Oh, and Josh's stuff. Next on my agenda is washing the baby clothes with hypoallergenic soap. I am starting to feel like a real housewife!

I did manage to get out a few times last week. One night I saw a movie with my girlfriends, "2 days in Paris". It was pretty funny and showed very typical Parisian life (at least what I see of Parisian life). Friday Josh and I went to dinner with his friend from college, Simcox who was staying with us for the weekend. We tried a new place up the street. The food was pretty good and there was no smoking so that was great. Saturday the three of us attempted to go shopping but it was Bastille day (the French independence day) so nothing was open. It was also about 90 degrees so I had to come home early to rest. So far this week I have been outside twice, both times to the grocery store.

I have been trying some fun new recipes since I have all afternoon to cook. Josh seems especially happy with this aspect of my staying home. It can be challenging trying to find things to make with what we already have in the house since the stairs get more difficult each day.

Tomorrow I may venture to La Defense for a going away party for a friend who is moving to Hong Kong. I am not sure if I will feel up to it so I haven't made a decision yet. It is frustrating not knowing my energy levels from day to day. I feel like a lazy bum just sitting around all day but then when I do stuff I feel guilty, like I could hurt the baby. I also get tired so easily now, I don't know if it being pregnant or I am used to not doing much. Only 5-6 more weeks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Maternity Leave

I officially started my maternity leave yesterday. I went to the doctor on Friday afternoon and he told me I had been doing too much (again). When I told him I was doing nothing besides going to work he told me it was time to stop working. I expected to start singing or dancing in joy but in the end I just said thank you.

I am excused from work until delivery but I also was told to stay very calm and to lay down in the afternoons. I am not supposed to go up and down our 5 flights of stairs so I am pretty much stuck in the house. He prescribed some medicine to relax my uterus because he thinks I might be having contractions and not realize it. So, as Josh likes to say I am stuck up here in my ivory tower.

I am very grateful to be in France where women start maternity leave 6 weeks before the birth. I am only 1 week ahead of that so nobody blinked an eye at work. I can't imagine leaving 7 weeks early in the US. I also get 16 weeks after the baby is born so it is really, really generous and I am very lucky. The only downside is I actually have to have the baby in France away from my friends and family.

I am going to the American Hospital which is a great facility. The only downsides are the extraordinarily long waits for appointments, always over an hour and often two. Also, many doctors and nurses don't speak English, which I thought would be a requirement with it being the AMERICAN hospital. My doctor does speak English which is super BUT he is probably going to be on vacation when the baby comes so I can only cross my fingers and hope for the attending doctor and midwife speak English.

In other news we have a friend coming to visit this weekend. A friend of Josh's from college who I have never met will stay with us for a couple of days. I have heard about him for years so it will be nice to finally meet him. It also gives me something to do between now and Friday, change the sheets on the guest bed. I have to be pretty bored to look forward to changing sheets!

Now it is time to start my exciting day of laundry, cooking, CSI downloads and napping. The fun I will have!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Computer Overload

I can't believe our new computer is so slow already! Of course, right after getting it I got the new camera and now I'm just trying to do too much at once. All at the same time, trying to scan the ultrasound pictures (initially 100megs each) with the scanner, stitching together a panorama of our living room (cleanest it's been in, well, forever) consiting of 13 pictures 10MB each, and trying to make an HDR (combining 26 pictures by pairs for the 13 stitch..) for the same "project" what's become "The Living Room Project", playing music, downloading CSI Miami season 1 (some 8 GB), no wonder it's slowed to a crawl.

So, evidently, lots of pictures are coming! Have to wait a bit for the ultrasounds, but here are some that are ready NOW. We had our friends Chris and Noé over last night.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The New Artwork!

Here it is:

And he gave us one of his first lithos as a gift (limited to 100, signed):

The pictures are small and even the big ones don't do it justice of course.. now I just have to figure out the scanner to get the untrasounds into the computer!


Exciting Tuesday Night

We had our 3rd ultrasound last night and everything looks good. The hospital has a new prenatal unit which sounded great but in reality it is a couple of rooms in the stuffy basement. We did get to use the new ultrasound equipment which was really cool. I don't know anything about the technical aspects but they had a huge flat screen at the end of the table where we could see the same screen the doctor sees.

They measured all his little parts and he is a little bigger than average but we think they might be comparing to petite French babies so he is probably just right for a BIG American baby. He is running out of space to move around so he currently has one foot wedged under my rib cage. I thought it was some baby part and the ultrasound confirmed, one giant foot! We tried to check out the maternity ward but they are opening a new maternity ward next week so we had no luck.

We also picked up a new painting we bought "for the baby". It is even better than we expected. Josh took about a million pictures of the painting so hopefully he will have time to post one and also some from the ultrasound. We had to rearrange all of our artwork (now 3 whole paintings) to accommodate the new masterpiece. I am sure Josh will post the details with the painting some time in the near future.

That is probably the most exciting night we will have all week and it left me exhausted. I had to go to bed at 9:30 which left Josh hours of time to edit his photos.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Back from Suisse!

Hi all of you non-existent-yet readers!

We got back from Switzerland on Thursday night, we had a great trip. We spent about two weeks in a very nice valley in the Appenzell area - about 5km from the town of Appenzell itself. We had a really nice apartment with a kitchen, two bedrooms, nice porch/TV room etc. The weather was a bit cloudy and rainy but we had a few sunny days. Now if I can just figure out how to do the pictures..

Okay that worked! So that's me and my parents before we went on a hike. Gena, being I dunno 8 months pregnant didn't hike at all, so we had to leave her this day to her books and TV..

There she is! Looking good, huh? The baby is kicking, turning, punching, wedging feet/elbows/hands/whatever into strange places, all around making himself known!

One day I hiked to the top of the highest mountain around, Säntis (2504m = 8215ft). By the time I was at the top I was in the middle of a blizzard, wearing shorts and a thin rain coat. I kept moving though, and aside from my hands everything else was pretty warm from the effort.

Other highlights include the wellness center in Weisbad (massages, pool, facial/pedicures for the ladies), fantastic food everywhere we went, a beautiful day in Zurich, and lots of fun scrabble games! Here are some other pictures:

More landscapes and the like on Flickr (Parisexpat).