mardi 6 mai 2014
Come to an end.

My maternity leave is ending and I return to work on Monday. 

Alain will then take his two weeks of paternity leave, then we hand her over to the nounou across the street, for the petty sum of 1000€ a month. Aiee! Nobody ever said having kids made good financial sense.

I have tried to write many times in the past four months, but each time have been unable to organize my thoughts due to a baby needing to be taken care of, fatigue, or just general daze.

 We stayed in the hospital for eight days because S. was being treated for jaundice in the néonatal unit. I spent most of my time watching her sleep and thinking, hey this motherhood thing is a piece of cake! Nowhere near as hard as everyone makes it out to be!

(As opposed to now: Hey little girl. Aren't you very very sleepy? Don't you want to take a nice long nap so mommy can take a shower, take a nap, or generally do something non baby related?)

The return home was quite an adjustment, as to be expected. The first couple of weeks, I slept in our extra bedroom next to her crib, as she was usually waking up three times a night, and I didn't want to have to keep climbing up and down the ladder to our mezzanine bed.

After about a month, My parents came for a month, but didn't stay with us. They rented a 'maisonette' about ten minutes walk away. We spent most days hanging out at our apartment, watching S. sleep, holding her, feeding her, changing her. 
Easter was spent with Alain's family, and then mom and dad returned home.

She started sleeping through the night a little after that, a bit over two months old.

All in all, she is a happy baby. She now can roll over, lift her head and torso up off the floor, make noise, smile, grab things, and is starting to laugh. She has discovered her fingers, and thinks they are the best things in the whole world.

Alain speaks to her in French, and I speak to her in English, but we haven't yet decided on mommy/maman daddy/papa. I don't like 'maman' but mommy sounds like mami (grandma) in French.

In May we took her to Alain's and my work places to show her off, and everyone was impressed with how calm and happy she was, didn't complain even after being passed around from person to person.

I wish I could post some pictures, but I promised not too. I think she looks a lot like the baby below, only with brown hair and brown eyes.

My mother-in-law showed us some pictures of her as a baby, and S. looks very much like her so far.

So there you have it. All in all, I am happy to have had almost four months off, but I wonder whether it makes returning to work harder. We shall see.
lundi 17 février 2014
Someone had other plans.
Our daughter S. decided to make her appearance weeks ahead of schedule.

(We have decided not to post her full name, birth date, or photos online, at least for now. I will be happy however to email anyone the details)

Thank goodness my suitcase was more or less ready, i had made a copy of my file (one to keep at work, one for home), and we had more or less finished the apartment.

Went to bed the other night and all of a sudden felt and heard a pop!

No water (yet), not really painful, but a pregnancy symptom i had never felt before (which is saying something, since i had almost every one in the book from the drooling to the facial twitching). I told Alain that i felt something pop, but he thought it was nothing. I went online, and sure enough, a lot of women said they felt the same thing, and that the real gushing of water didn't start until later. Um, honey? Think we should go to the hospital just to check. At any rate, it will be a good 'practice run'- see how long it takes, where to turn, where to park. 

It took us about 20 minutes to arrive. Checked in at the night desk, they hooked me up to the monitors. Indeed, it was my water that broke, and the contractions were becoming strong and more regular. 

I'll spare you the rest of the details, but she arrived a little after six the next morning. A full head of brown hair, eye color- undecided. I say blue, Alain says brown. She weighs 2.56 kg, length 48 cm. Not too small for being a bit before term.

So far, she has been really good, only cries when hungry, and content to just be held. We are staying four days. I am really pleased with the hospital and personnel. Alain went to City Hall to declare her and has been busy fetching and buying last-minute stuff. 

She had an ultrasound of her hips performed, since her grandma's Breton side has a history of hip problems. Looks good so far. Also, a minor infection, so she is being treated with antibiotics. She thus has a tiny catheter in her hand, but doesn't seem to mind.

All in all, a sweet, super-cute little French-American! (Or will be, once I go to the US Consulate).
samedi 15 février 2014
One more month... More or less. One more week of work. 

I was actually supposed to stop February 4th (six weeks before D-Day) but now French law allows pregnant women to delay their pre-natal rest up to three weeks before, with the doctor's consent. Besides being a bit tired and not sleeping well, I am feeling okay. So i preferred to delay as long as possible, and thus have more time afterwards.

For anyone wondering, I will have 16 weeks, at about 60% pay. Not bad. Better than my job in the US- unpaid leave or vacation, which takes a long time to accumulate at 2 weeks per year!

Baby's room is more or less ready, and my suitcase is packed. We had our first birth preparation class at the hospital a week ago. It was two hours long, and went over labor, when to leave for the hospital, what happens when you arrive, etc. The next one is next Monday, again two hours, going over the actual delivery and the aftermath, and finally, the last session ten days later, how to take care of the baby.

I actually had been seeing an independent mid-wife because it was impossible to get through to the hospital to set the appointments. I was however a bit disappointed with her-individual appointments, difficult to ask questions, and focusing more on visualization (relaxation, imagining the baby in your arms) than the nitty gritty. The sessions were very brief, and she wasn't going to do the whole eight sessions. Alain wasn't allowed to participate either. I finally got fed up and managed to weasle my way in at the traditional classes. I'll go over my allotment of 8 reimbursed sessions, but it is worth it.

So that is that. Five more days of work, then just waiting...
mardi 21 janvier 2014
I think I am entering the 'tired' stage of pregnancy. And no, not just physically tired.

Tired of lying down, tired of sitting, tired of standing, tired of walking
Tired of climbing six flights of stairs to get to work
Tired of heartburn, tired of cramps, tired of being tired
Tired of waiting to see doctors, tired of blood and urine tests, tired of waiting for the results
Tired of paperwork, tired of trying to figure out cryptic insurance coverage brochures
Tired of having to ask people to give up their seats on public transportation, tired of waiting for public transportation
Tired of not being able to have espresso, wine, or tea
Tired of answering the same three questions over and over again (sex, due date, name)
Tired of avoiding answering the same two questions over and over again (normal delivery or cesearian, breast feeding or bottle)
Tired of going to baby stores, tired of hauling baby stuff in and out of the car (in the rain), tired of mounting the baby stuff, tired of organizing baby stuff
Tired of waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, tired of then not being able to fall asleep because of stress
Tired of wearing the same four items every week

Ah well. I guess it all comes with the territory. I am lucky to have had no real problems thus far (knock on wood). Just crabby. Ready (and yet, SO NOT) for the next stage. 

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