37 weeks pregnant

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Sorry, but there’s no better way to say it. This week I feel borderline handicapped. Thank goodness for husbands, or I don’t know that I’d get anything done that couldn’t be carried out seated. (I have a bad feeling I’m gonna read this post in a couple of years when I’m pregnant again with a toddler on the side thinking I was a bit of a whiner back in 2014)

For the past few weeks I haven’t worked out properly. My workouts these days consist of walks. Walks that I wouldn’t call “walks” if this had been any other period of my life, but to 37 weeks pregnant me it certainly feels like good and proper walks. Yesterday I walked to the store twice with Marcus – I think it added up to maybe a full kilometer and a half! However, though short, I spent at least 45 minutes doing it. Oh, and not to mention the stairs. Did I tell you? We just moved into our new apartment. …. On the 5th floor. That’s a lot of steps! Especially when you’re carrying around an extra 40% of your body weight. Needless to say, each walk up is closely followed by a ‘lay-on-the-couch’ session.

This week I reached the point where I feel exactly like anyone who sees a very pregnant woman’s belly assumes that it must feel like. Stretching beyond capacity and the feeling of being about to pop any second. Especially on our glorious walks does my body seem to say “wow! slow down!”. Marcus captured this phenomenon in the picture below. It was taken yesterday walking back from the store. I think he found it funny because I was torn between being so pleased with having my first sip of Danish chocolate milk (yes, it’s different) since coming home and uncomfortably rubbing my aching belly while I walked as fast as I could (a pace any old lady would take pride in keeping up with).

I’m still itchy as ever! As a matter of fact, I got out of bed at 4.30am to write this blog post, hoping that it would make me tired enough to fall back asleep. Suspecting it may have to do with trouble with my liver my midwife said she would send me for a blood test at the hospital. Little naive Becca thought to herself, ‘Hah! Sure, send me to the hospital, but I’d bet this baby is gonna be out before we can solve anymore problems like that!’

- who am I kidding.

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36 weeks pregnant

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What a frustrating pregnancy week!

Last week I talked about feeling a bit restless when I went to bed. I wish that was still my biggest problem.

When last week bedtime meant me finally getting some energy and feeling ready to get to work, this week bedtime means my body warming up and getting tingly and finally insanely itchy. Like literally .. insanely. And not just the bump but also especially my hands, feet, arms, legs and hips. I can lie awake for hours just focusing all my attention on not scratching and lying still. Seriously, it’s to the point that all I can think of doing is crying it out. I wonder if this is another way for my body to prepare me to be patient and long-suffering. If so, I hope it’s working.

Over the weekend I mainly treated it with oils. I figured that would be best. This morning though I was so bad and awake crying at 5am that Marcus sent me to take a shower. Being back in my parents house for the night I tried a lotion my mom got at Matas here in Denmark. It helped better than anything, so I went and got my own today. Excited to see how I’ll sleep tonight.

Contractions are coming several times a day now and they can last up to 30 minutes. Though they’re slightly more powerful now, I can’t help but get a little excited every time. Is it time yet??

I don’t know if I have become “nesting-disfunctional”. Lately I’m just tired. All the time. I can sleep in, be tired by noon, take a nap.. and feel ready to go to bed again before dinner. These days we’re moving into our next apartment here in Aalborg and normally I’d love getting settled, unpacking and doing IKEA runs and all that, but now I just feel tired thinking about it. Tonight I was brave enough to go to IKEA with Marcus though we had already spent a great deal of the day shopping. I think it must have been the shortest visit there we’ve ever done. Less than an hour!! High-five!

As unnatural as it may be I think I may feel less like getting all the work done before the baby comes and more like I just need to get this baby out so I can finally concentrate on getting some work done. I realize that is probably pretty stupid.

Summer of 2014. I have a lot to be grateful for

photo 1It has been a very memorable summer. In some ways a summer that I hope we’ll never have to experience ever again. And in other ways a summer with so many happy times that I wouldn’t want to miss for the world. 

Among these happy times are first of all being reunited with Marcus. Fortunately, and for what reason I have no idea, the five weeks apart went faster and to some extent smoother than I ever thought possible. Despite stressful days and smaller pregnancy problems I managed to survive without too many tears and with all the comfort I needed from my family. My philosophy of keeping busy actually worked and in the end I was almost sad that my alone-time with my family was over so soon. Whether Marcus found our time apart as easy I can’t say but I think we can agree that as much as it is an experience we have learned a lot from it is not one we wish to ever have to repeat. 

I went with his parents to the airport to pick him up. It was the best feeling ever to see him crossing the parking lot. Not like back in the way when we were dating and I picked him up at the ferry. Not the same kind of butterflies of seeing your crush, but a much more powerful longing to be with the person that you love more than anyone else in the entire world. There was even a split-second when I realized that I had actually been without my other half for a month – as if for a month I had been helped to not notice – and how that hole seemed to fill as I gave him that first hug on the curb. It just felt right. And that is the best feeling in the world. 

The other most happy experience this summer has been being reunited with family. I really think it was good for Marcus and I to get away early in our marriage and to learn to establish ourselves as our own family and to learn to make hard decisions together. While we were in Salt Lake, I remember thinking that being away from home really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and that we could easily spend some more years on the other side of the world if necessary. I still think so, but boy! had I forgotten the comfort of being around family. Again, it just feels right. The definition of ’family’ may be different to different people, but one thing is true for all – Families are meant to be together.

I now realize just how big a blessing it was to spend my time away from Marcus with my own family. To go home and be back in the ’eldest daughter’s shoes’ again. To have a second chance at my last month with my family. I don’t think I took full advantage of that rare opportunity but it really opened my eyes a little more not only to the kind of daughter I wish I was and plan to be in the future, but also to what kind of daughter I hope to raise myself. 

Also, I love my in-laws. I mean, how lucky do you get to both have an awesome family of your own and to marry a guy who also has an awesome family. Seriously, my life is too happy. I’m expecting to be struck by the worst evil any day now – it’s just too good to be true. (Knock on wood!!). But coming back to Marcus’ family’s house really felt like walking into my second home. Yes, I said it. The Dane feels at home in Sweden. 

I have to give a shout-out to friends and distant family as well. From the friends and family that have helped and supported us before this summer when we were far away from home to the friends and family who have been there for us to welcome us back home – I just have to throw in here that I was lucky enough to have two baby showers thrown for me. Each were attended by family, close and distant, and dear friends. You guys, I’m not the type of person who loves being the center of attention, but I do love being surrounded by people I love. I really really appreciate it! 

You really notice how many treasures you have in your life when you go through hard times and this summer I’ve discovered gold mines. My heart is so full of gratitude for the people I have in my life. I can rest assured that counting my blessings will comfort me in any hard time to come. For they are many. 

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35 weeks pregnant

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Baby good… Mama good… Daddy good…

Could it just be time already??

This week my body hit another wall.. I’ve had a few tough days where I really just feel exhausted and any task just seems a little too hard to overcome. We’re staying with Marcus’ parents in Stockholm for a few weeks and (thank goodness!!) they have a pool!! Anyway, the other day Marcus asked if I wanted to run down and take a dip. We didn’t have a lot of time, so as wonderful as it would have been, I just couldn’t stand the thought of changing, getting in the pool, showering and getting ready all over again just for 10 minutes of pleasure. Again, I was just brought to tears instead. – my crying attacks sort of went away when Marcus was gone, but it seems to have returned stronger than ever now that he’s back .. guess I just needed that shoulder.

So I have to share the one memorable pregnancy related thing that happened this week – since, as you’ve probably noticed, these last few months are quite uneventful. So… I’ve of course been expecting milk coming out some time in the last trimester. Well, it happened this week. I had gone to bed and we were just falling asleep when I noticed that I was all wet down the front. Since then it’s happened a few times – less dramatic – and I can’t quite crack what triggers it. – Sorry for the details, but hey this is another sign that baby can come out now!

Also, nesting is for sure setting in. I lie awake for hours at night because I feel restless and stressed that I’m not doing anything. Annoyingly, this seems to only be a problem after lights-out.

Baby Girl is growing steadily. I said last week that I didn’t feel like I’d grown. I take it back. I’m definitely growing and I can even feel it. My belly hasn’t been this itchy yet, so it must be stretching like crazy. If I get more stretch marks the bump will be solid purple by the time I give birth.

She’s kicking less and less. Or probably as frequently but not for as long as usual. Almost as if she starts moving but stops when she gets tired of trying to stretch out in that small of a space. It seems like she’s rolling over a ton though. Often I wake up and I can feel her back on the opposite side of the belly from where she was the day before. It’s a good thing she won’t remember anything in a few years, otherwise I can imagine we’d have a horrible case of traumatic claustrophobia on our hands.

Come out, baby!

34 weeks pregnant

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I guess I’m starting to realize I won’t be pregnant for much longer and that I should start enjoying the last weeks to their fullest. Having thought that, the last few days it seems that being pregnant just got a tiny bit harder.

So I don’t know if it’s just me.. but I feel like I haven’t grown very much the last weeks. Been looking through the last pictures and it looks pretty much the same to me. However, I can definitely tell I’m getting heavier, which is no surprise as Baby Girl is doing nothing but putting on weight all day. Fatten up that child, I say! Anyway… pregnancy is a good motivation to not get overweight in the future.

I’ve been having small contractions a few times a day the last weeks. But a few days ago we were in bed about to fall asleep and I seriously had one that lasted at least an hour. I had to get out of bed and walk around a bit to clear my head. We got a tiny bit worried, and I managed to get all excited thinking it was almost time, until pulled up Google and found out it was pretty normal. Darn..

She’s not kicking as hard as she has, due to the little space left in there for her. I mainly just feel her moving – and I try really heard not to get sad cause I’d just hate my life if I had that little space! Also, in some ways she seems more and more like a real baby. I can even tell when she wakes up when I have one of my 3+ daily servings of ice chips or like tonight when we went to a soccer game with the family she seemed to jerk awake when the commentator started talking and the loud fans started singing. It took a while, but she did finally settle down and seemed to fall back asleep. Hope that’s a sign she’ll be able to shut out noise outside of the womb as well. (please please please!)

Apart from that I’m feeling pretty good, though still very ready to wear this baby on the outside instead. It’s pretty amazing how it’s natural to feel that way. I haven’t given birth yet, but because of that feeling of “being done” I actually feel excited out of my wits to give birth! How about that! I’ve never heard of a woman who wished to just keep the baby inside rather than just pushing it out and getting it over with. Pretty nifty! Feel pretty proud of being a woman.

33 weeks pregnant

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The hard days are over! Marcus came home a few days ago and we’re both in Stockholm on vacation with his family.

This means the last week has been full of Daddy’s oohs and aahs at how big my belly has gotten, how much and how hard she kicks and the all over again realization that it’s so soon.

Especially since I had my baby shower this week. My sweet aunt and cousins threw it and it was such a fun night. The weather was so nice and we had fruit, ice cream and pink cake pops! Well the point is I got a lot of really cute baby girl clothes and throughout the night I could tell that for each new present I opened and each new cute little item falling into my lap I started picturing holding a little baby in those clothes and thinking about which outfit to put her in to go home from the hospital and which to put her in on her first Sunday in church and which she’ll be wearing when I nurse her in the middle of the night.

Well so far I’ve gotten my baby equipment pretty much sorted. I’ve got to borrow a cute little crib – so cute, CUTE! – and a stroller – the kind with a bassinet. That’s just about as close I’ll get to designing a nursery in this round. But I’m excited to get back, move into our apartment in Aalborg and make do with what I have! Being poor students is pretty fun!

Baby girl – whose name is still pretty much unknown – weighs a little more than 2 kg by now and I can’t believe she won’t get much longer before she’s ready to come out!

Baby is almost fully baked!

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My baby shower souvenir: a baby picture of myself. Look how fat..! Hope (hope hope hope!) that my baby will be just as plump!

 

32 weeks pregnant

photo (4),I had another ultrasound this week! Sorry folks, no pictures this time, but she looked so good! The doctor let me see her heart, lungs, kidneys, skull, major bones etc.. and everything looked intact and exactly like it should. Again, I’m addicted to doctors telling me that my baby is okay!

Also, she is a little small – not too small – but just a little to the cute side. This of course made Mama happy, as that means she might not have to provide as big an exit for baby in a couple of months. Yes, when it really hurts I’ll just keep telling myself that. “She could’ve been bigger! She could’ve been bigger!” … that’ll help for sure!

The doc was even kind enough to let me see her little face in 3D real quick. So I can now testify that she does not have the gigantuous lips and beaky nose she sort of seems to have on the sonogram I put up at week 21. She has the cutest little face – looked a little grumpy though, but I can’t blame her. I wouldn’t be too happy being squashed up between hips and ribs in dark water. Hang in there baby!

As for Mama I’m doing good too. This week I think I’ve come one tiny step closer to understanding that I’ll have a baby pretty soon. If she comes early it may even just be a month?! And I could not be more excited!!

Contractions! You don’t scare me! …. In the mean time, pass the ice chips and the fan, please!

Denmark – idyllic even to a dane

photo (5)Being a dane abroad you get to meet a lot of people. And somehow you always seem to run into people who get excited when you tell them you’re from Denmark.

There’s the ones (the vast majority) that exclaim “Denmark?? No way!! That’s where my ancestors are from! Yes! My family is Danish! We have abelskeevers all the time!” – Cute. And hey! Good pronunciation!

Then there’s the next to largest group that immediately say “Oh Denmark is amazing! It’s so cute with the tulips and the wind mills!” – Bless them. Not much to say to that. … Then they turn to Marcus and say “Sweden looks beautiful too! I’ve always wanted to see the Alps!”

Then there’s the smallest group that seem so hard to find that you actually get as excited about them as they are about you. These are the people who have actually been to Denmark or at least have their facts straight. They may know about Hans Christian Andersen and his stories. They may know about Danish history and may express a desire to visit our medieval castles. They may comment on the Danish nature and even call it “idyllic” and “just like a fairytale”.

Well I’ve never given much thought to the fairytale part myself, but now that I’ve lived abroad for a year and have experienced coming back here.. I have to say Denmark has never seemed as idyllic or fairytalish to me as it does now.

I have taken the liberty to note down a few things that have really stood out to me.

Singing birds

So in Hawaii there were a lot of birds. A lot. And big too. My parents would often ask when we were Skyping whether we’d gotten a bird, because they could hear the big tropical birds just outside our window. So it’s not like we didn’t wake up to choirs of tweeting every morning this past year. But boy, when I came home. And I had to get up every two hours to go to the bathroom and opened my window to cool down the room… there is just nothing like the way birds sing at 4am here. Talk about the most peaceful happy sound you every heard! Like you’re right there walking through the forest with your favorite Disney princess.

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Fresh air

After 8 months in humid Hawaii and 2 months in dry dry Utah, the very first thought that came to my mind when I stepped out of the airport in Copenhagen was how it felt like I was breathing fresh air for the first time in almost a year. I don’t know what it is… maybe the fresh ocean breeze that you can’t escape anywhere in the country… or maybe a perfect balance of humidity.. or maybe just because this is where I grew up. I don’t know, but it is really quite amazing!

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Green

I’ve noticed how a lot of tourists in Denmark comment on how incredibly green it is here. My mom still talks about how beautiful she thinks Denmark is because of this. Growing up I always thought that just made Denmark boring, but after – yes, even after – living in beautiful lush paradise Hawaii I must admit that Denmark is quite beautiful. I can’t quite describe it, but it’s almost as if Hawaii was a wild kind of green and Denmark is more like the King’s gardens compared. And then enjoying it while breathing that fresh fresh air and listening to the birds in the background….!  Mmm!

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Food

Yes, I must bring this up as my last point. I’m sorry folks but Danish food is really the stuff. Oh and especially after being in the states! I thought it would be like Food Heaven in the US – but turned out I hadn’t tried living there yet. No matter what you say – no restaurant meal beats a homemade one made from scratch. It just doesn’t. High-five to Europe!

When people asked me as a kid whether I felt more Danish or American, I would usually answer American. In truth certain elements of the Danish culture do make me feel more American. I always expected and imagined I would get married and move away from here forever and not look back – and I was fine with that. But turns out I just missed being around reserved rough traditional danes that could never dream of uttering the word “whoop”. I have to say I am very surprised that I reacted this way as soon as I was gone.

I guess I love Denmark

 

31 weeks pregnant

o-maticTime is almost up.

Well.. not quite but I really feel almost done. I keep dreaming about going into labor and the baby feels as real as ever. In my head she could be coming in just a few weeks.

Intuition? I hope not, cause I’ve planned a three week vacation in Stockholm.

I’ve had a few really busy weeks with not much time reserved for blogging, but by next week I should be back on track.

Lately anything tires me out – even sitting up – and I have to go lie down somewhere for a bit.  Also, I have officially started waddling. I constantly feel off balance and though I try hard not to, I find myself leaning backwards to even out the weight on my front side. I feel pretty big and clumsy but I try to imagine that I just look cute. … Right?

I’ve always romanticized pregnancy growing up and have always found it hard to believe when women reached that point when they “just want the baby out!”. Like, why end the idyllic experience of being beautifully pregnant early? But I have to admit that I’m starting to get there. I’m getting more and more excited about starting to exercise and to get back into shape. Oh just being able to run around and be active without feeling like I’m about to pass out. Being able to move however I want whenever I want. And when my body is back to normal, being just mine. When I can trust it to act the way it usually does and when I can take a real proper deep breath and when i can go to bed not having to worry about falling asleep fast enough so I won’t get hungry again. I can also imagine how it might feel a little lonely when there isn’t someone to nudge you whenever you move or someone always around to listen to your voice.

But wearing the baby on the outside instead of the inside sure sounds appealing. I just can’t wait!

The most frequent question I get asked these days is “How do you feel about giving birth?” or “Are you nervous about labor?” closely followed by a long speech about how there’s no need to worry and that it’s just a wonderful experience.

But people, in all honesty, I am not nervous at all. On the contrary I am out of my mind excited to get on with it! For one thing I see no reason to waste my energy being worried about something that women have been going through forever. Even if something goes wrong I’ll worry about that when I know about it. On the other hand, I can’t describe in words how excited I am to meet my baby. I definitely have times when I wonder if I’ll look back in longing on the time that it was just me and Marcus with no one to take care of. But I also feel like it’s so right for us. That as soon as she’s in my arms I will want nothing but to love and take care of her.

And I can’t really imagine a better feeling than that.

30 weeks pregnant

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30 weeks! I reached the 30s! 10 weeks left! Woohoo and yay!

Anyway.. do you know that feeling when you suddenly feel like you have absolutely nothing to say? That’s how I feel right now… not even anything to ramble about.

Why do I write the blog post now, you may ask. Well, the thing is I’ve been insanely busy this week and will be this weekend too, so I’m cornered – in this tiny space of time between Friday and Saturday.

So I have no idea what’s gonna come out. — Brace yourselves!

 

Oh I actually just remembered one thing I forgot to put in the cloud this week.

Contractions!

Already now! Had no idea this was gonna happen and that it is perfectly normal and expected. They’re not worse than normal period pain, but they definitely make me wake up. I guess, it’s kinda cool to get to sample what the real contractions are gonna feel like – however in a milder form.

I’m gonna try doing a little experiment. The other day I had a conversation with my mom about the difference between pressure and pain. My mom is pretty cool when it comes to pain. She grits her teeth and screams on the inside – not the outside. She’s pretty cool. But I figure that one way to keep your head during labor might be just that. Understanding that your body is under pressure and not pain. To not give in to the insanity your body is experiencing – not let the agony take over your mind. But to understand the feelings in your body and work with them instead.

I don’t know.. those of you who have gone through child birth already may be shaking your heads at me right now..

But I thought I’d share the thought.

In any case I figure pressure is better than pain.

I keep noticing more stretch marks below the belt, especially on my thighs – but nothing on my tummy yet – thank goodness! Probably won’t keep that up though.

I can tell that my body needs a lot more rest than before. I still try to exercise a little every day, but it’s definitely getting harder and I can’t go on for as long anymore before I get extremely dizzy and my legs start buckling. I still try to only eat when I’m hungry (which is still most of the time btw) and to avoid the urge of going back to the fridge to just have a little something, now that I’m more routined in the only eating small frequent meals -thing.

Oh and I’ve started to sleep a lot better too! But this may be due to the fact that I wake up in the middle of every night to talk to Marcus when he gets off work. Tired. All. The. Time.

Well look at that! Looks like I had something to say anyway!

Well, Baby seems to be doing great. At least she’s kicking and moving around a LOT. Sometimes so much I’m afraid I’ll get sea sick.

Hoping I’ll get to experience baby hiccups soon!