in what can only be described as a move made by crazy people, we had tried a few times 2012 (while in the process of planning the move to finland). the universe concluded that that plan was asinine and possibly dangerous and was not willing to engage in such potential chaos. and a hearty thanks for that.
later, there were two things (maybe three) that motivated us to make the decision to try again, under more sane conditions. one: we found we really like finland and would like to make our life here. two: discovering that gluten was stealing all my energy, and then being able to regain that energy allowed me to finally understand how any parents in the world can possibly want to go back down the gauntlet. and lastly, maybe 2% of a motivation, was finding this greeting card at my now favorite finnish artists market stand in the spring of 2013 (before i was contemplating a second kid). the image was so beautiful and it was staring at me. i thought id be able to part with it once a friend with one kid became preggo with her second, but i couldnt think of who i could entrust to cherish such an image (they would need to have it professionally framed and mounted in a place of prominence in their home. as i intend to do). lol. so i kept it.
(the inspiring picture by viivi kemppainen)
anyway, we tried for a few months in the fall of 2013 and were down to the last attempt we were going to give for this second child idea. basically, ever. and that was okay with us since we hadnt pinned our future familys hopes and dreams on it. things would be fine either way.
then on the day i was expecting my period. nothing. i had cramps, but...nothing else. okay, weird. next day, expecting it...nothing. except cramps. okay. well, now its a holiday in finland, everything is closed. there is one 24-hour pharmacy in the city that is open and dave is heading to california for a week-long meeting tomorrow. it would be nice to have this information before he goes. so, after a two hour round-trip with X on public transit, i come back with some pregnancy tests. i pee on one. its positive...o...kay. this does not seem real. i decide to save the second one for the next day so that maybe the situation will have changed, or the test results will sink in more if i have two different days of results. well the second one was positive too. so, i guess we're looking at a due date around my birthday in august. and just like that, our life is being re-written. we'll see what comes.
first symptoms i noticed: feeling a bit dizzy and having a strong sense of smell. also, i was bloated right away. nice. that early mild cramping also went on for days. and when heartburn and nausea arrived early on, i recalled just why i hate pregnancy so much. in the beginning too, it was very easy to overeat and feel yucky. and the nausea came on most strong after lunch and continued on through to bedtime (at least this kid seems to give me relatively calm mornings). a big change from being pregnant with X, is that im craving salty things, BURGERS, pizza, and other fatty junk food. sweet things make me nauseous.
(key) preggo dream: dave and i were on a cruise ship and i asked to speak with the captain. i then asked him the name of the ship. he said it was named 'dylan'. i said i thought all ships were female (though, to be fair, in my world dylan is a perfectly reasonable name for a girl). he looked right at me and said 'its a boy...its the titanics brother'.
well shit. slap me with a more up-front warning why dont you universe. thanks. and, well, i guess thats the best description for the situation that can be made anyway. X nearly sunk me on her maiden voyage, though thankfully there were survivors, and those survivors certainly have an epic story to re-tell. now, i also looked up the titanic to see if it actually had other 'siblings'. and indeed she did. an older sister, the 'olympic', had a stable, decades long career. and then there was the younger sister, the 'brittanic', who as fate would have it, sunk as well, near greece, a year after launching. the positive angle to that fact, though, is that there were only 30 lives lost (as opposed to the titanics 1500+ deaths). bring on the easier baby?
flu season: so, once again, this winter there is an H1N1 outbreak scare. hey, cool, the last round of the H1N1 scare was...the winter i was preggo with X. awesome. and because we were going to travel to the US, i chose to get the flu shot this year, whereas perhaps, otherwise i wouldnt have. thankfully the shot here is the same as the US vaccine cocktail and included H1N1. and, our family decided to be plagued with all sorts of disease in the month of january and february so its the luckiest thing that i got that shot.
1st appt (10 weeks): so finland was ranked the best place in the world to be a mother/infant in 2013. they must be doing things right. when i called for an appointment, i discovered that they dont even want to see new moms until they are 8-10 weeks along. there was no interest to rush me in for a confirmation blood test. the fact of no period and a positive pregnancy test was fine, and so the wait until 10 weeks for my first appointment began.
at this first appointment, there was just basically lots of information and forms to fill out. i did a finger prick test to check hemoglobin levels (normal), a pee-in-the-cup test (the litmus said that maybe i had a small infection [i had a cold] so i was referred for a further lab pee test), blood pressure check, and (the dreaded) weight measurement. thats all. i got an appointment for the 10-13 week ultrasound, and my next office appointment at 22 weeks! now, for first time moms, there are a few more regularly scheduled office visits, but if you are on your second or later child, you get these long gaps where you arent seen for the routine check-ups. i think thats great. if things are going normal and healthy, i dont need to be measured and weighed a billion times, it just creates waste (time, money, resources), and potential worry in my opinion.
also, most of the early visits are with a public health nurse. i dont think i see an actual doctor until maybe 24 weeks or something? after the second/last ultrasound. and then i think you see the doctor more frequently toward the end. i also saw mention of midwives, at the hospitals, i guess. as in, maybe everyone labeled as a normal pregnancy gets a midwife and ob/gyn type of doctors are only given to the more risky patients? not able to confirm that.
labs: pee test (to check out that possible infection mentioned at my appt) and blood tests (to detect the risk of downs and other anomalys, as well as to check for things like toxoplasmosis [since we have a cat] and a few other things).
first ultrasound: i had to go alone since it was after X got out of daycare and no kids were allowed, dave had to stay with her. the hospital i was assigned to for the ultrasound was the farthest one away (since we needed it to be very soon because we were traveling to the US during the other part of the time frame), so i had a 1 hour bus ride. the place was confusing and under-construction but the staff were friendly. i needed the help of several people to guide me to the waiting area, but i eventually made my way. the technician was kind and informative and helpful. i got 5 pictures and my the next ultrasound appt made (at a different, closer hospital) and i went on my way.
(it was nice to actually get a picture to take home this time, since they werent offered when i had the ultrasound for X)
end of first trimester: im finding this nausea/heartburn pattern to be different. it seems to want to stick around much longer, but it isnt as intensely horrifying as it was for X. it still wears on my patience though. im finding that i now have almost no cravings, but aversions to sweet things for some reason and corn based things make me feel yucky. which pretty much sucks since i cant have gluten and i love mexican food. what i have found, oddly enough though, is that my symptoms seem to be somewhat alleviated by vegetables (and sometimes red meat) and exercise. there are even times when i find brushing my teeth after a meal makes the nauseating taste in my mouth subside. what a darn healthy baby.