We are not there yet…

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The baby is fashionably late.

I hope this is not an indicator of how long she will take to get ready in the future…but it’s kind of cute. She has everyone wrapped over her little finger already, so many people are calling to ask if she is here yet…(no, not yet). Furhermore a few people who were due after me already had their babies so I am literally thinking that I am the only one left…Since I am hormonal and fed-up with waiting a have a few times burst into tears when I heard that someone had their baby (so far…4 people did! FOUR!!!)

The conclusion I came to is that the baby just doesn’t want to share her birthdate with anyone yet. She is just sitting tight and waiting for the right moment.

Meanwhile I have been following a lot of advice on how to get things going (but as you see none of it has helped yet…). I’ve eaten a chilli pineapple salad that consists of cubed pineapple, lemon, chilli flakes, sweet chilli sauce and a little coriander. A really strange combination. The baby kicked up a storm after I ate it (she must have tasted the chilli) but it did not give her any “evacuation” ideas. Other than that I’ve been trying to go for walks once or twice a day, although this doesnt directly help you go into labor it does take some of the anxiety off and keep you fit- so why not? I’ve also been going to my yoga classes (yes I am the most pregnant lady there) and I even treated myself to a facial and a massage one of the days when I thought I just couldn’t take it anymore and needed to let off some steam!

So the baby may take her sweet time making an entrance but the doctors are not letting me go past Sunday evening. Although the idea of a medical induction terrifies me somewhat I am also kind of glad there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

So this may be my last post in my “forever pregnant” status as come Monday morning (if all goes according to plan) I should finally be done with being pregnant.

40 weeks people. 4o. Weeks. You do the maths…

Are we there yet?

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Pregnancy- day two hundred seventy freakin’ three. No seriously. I am still pregnant.

although I am not overdue (yet…) statistics do show that most first time mothers give birth a week or two before their due date, the same darn statistics that promised me that only 5% of women deliver on the actual due date that has been forecast.

Yet, here I am. Excited, nervous and oh-so-sick of waiting. (Not to mention bloated, uncomfortable, tired, swollen…just peachy basically…)

I read somewhere that the most common craving that pregnant women have is not to be pregnant. That might seem a little over the top but trust me 9 months into it even the most “sunshine-up-their-butts” mothers start to feel like this just can’t end soon enough. The exhaustion you feel is both mental and physical, your mind is constantly replaying possibilities of “what could go wrong in labor” and your body aches from your toes to the ends of your hair.

I also miss the little things. Like seeing my feet when I look down, fitting into my clothes and shoes or simply getting out of bed without having to roll to the side and readjust the 4 pillows that are prompting my back. Ugh.

The general opinion here (amongst husband and family) is that I still have time and the baby will come out when she needs to and when she decides. But wait, I though I was the boss of this baby- why can’t she come out when I want her to? I pick now. Or at least today. Please?

I have friends calling me every single day asking me if she is here yet or every time I call one of them they thing it’s only because I am in labor…nope…still pregnant…just wanted to say hello. The conversation I have with My Cynthia everyday is a straight replay out of Shrek ” Are we there yet? ” ….” No not yet”….”What about now”….”Still not”….It’s rediculous.

I apologize if you were expecting a touchy-feely post about how prepared and excited we are to welcome our daughter any day now and instead you got stuck reading the rantings of a sick-and-oh-so-tired pregnant woman. Believe you me, we are ready. The bed is made, the hospital bags packed, the baby bottles sterilized and even the video camera is charged. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands…just waiting for the grand entrance now.

I shall keep you posted.

Thumbs up for Sultan Center (and other stuff)

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Yes. I am still here. You aren’t getting rid of me that easily.

I am just working. A lot. Buzzing around running errands. Housewifing. Working. Did I mention I’ve been working a lot? Perhaps the only pregnant thing I’ve been doing recently is the yoga. Oh I am enjoying pregnancy yoga so much. It’s the one and half hours a week when I don’t have to answer emails, think about work, responding to my madly beeping BlackBerry, huff and puff in the kitchen…I don’t have to do anything except breath-stretch-and-focus-on-the-baby.

I would absolutely recommend it. The only issue I have with yoga is that every Sunday evening I am reminded that yet another week flew by (whooooosh). Sunday after Sunday. I am subconsciously reminding myself to keep calm every time yet another Sunday approaches. I have a little under three months left and at the rate that time is currently going…I am not even going to notice them zoom past me.

The experts call the second trimester “The Honeymoon”  stage of pregnancy. At this stage expecting mothers don’t exactly have many complaints (hopefully!). I am feeling well enough to get through 9 hours of work and come home full of energy to carry on with the dinner, the tidying up or to even go out! I haven’t exactly become any slower at work either. I seriously though by the 6th month I would not be bothered to drive, to meet people, to run around like a headless chicken, to constantly deal with DRAMA…but I am finding rather bearable. So far so good. I’ve decided to stay at work for as long as I physically can and when the giant stomach or the lack of energy becomes too much of a burden I will go on maternity leave. I fundamentally plan to return to work a few months after the baby is born. I realize this isn’t the right choice for every woman and it depends on so many personal factors and trust me, I have considered them all and made the decision to go back to work shortly after we have the baby. I have a lot of hands on board…my family is here…my mother in law will visit us for a few months to help with the baby. So it isn’t exactly like I will be relying on a questionable babysitter to raise my child- we just have a very big family and loads of people are willing to help.

Talking about help. I wanted to share a very pleasant experience with you. (See, I can do more than rant!). This morning whilst buying a few groceries (ahem…a few dozen bags of groceries) in Sultan Center, I encountered perhaps the best service I have ever experienced. Yes. It was 100% down to the fact that I was pregnant and grocery shopping alone. I got out of lines…the staff went out of their way to accommodate me, they even brought me a trolley! As I was heading out of the store to my car one of the staff took the trolley from me, drove it to my car, unloaded my bags into my car and pushed the trolley away. (Yes, I did give him 200bz for his efforts).

It may have been sheer pity…but I will take pity over “standing-in-long-supermarket-lines” anyday! 🙂

Pregnancy Yoga

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Yesterday I attended my first ever (pregnancy) yoga class. Closing in on my 6th month now I was getting quite achy and restless (see the house moving post) and felt that I needed to vent and channel my energy into something positive like my health. I came to know about this yoga class at the Hayati Spa because my little brother attends their Karate Classes and I happened to pick up a schedule of classes sometime back. Also a reader suggested I try it out and highly recommended the teacher- Karen.

I could not join them sooner because Pregnancy Yoga classes start at 6pm and that is exactly when I finish work, but miraculously since the 1st of October our working hours have  decreased and I am now as free as a bird by 5:30pm! I was seriously excited about this class because deep inside I am an untamed hippy-yoga/saving the planet/Greenpeace and all. Plus, some exercise definitely can’t hurt!

The Hayati Salon is a very nice place, well-lit, cozy and professional. Our pregnancy yoga class has about 8 women in it all between 24 weeks and 34 weeks pregnant. I was quite unprepared for how aware of my pregnancy I became during the class. With Karen constantly reminding us to “focus on the baby” or “direct your breathing at the baby”, I was suddenly completely consumed with the thought of THE BABY. Normally, because my days are so hectic and I have absolutely no time to think about it I only get to focus on THE BABY between 8pm and 10pm. It turns out that being surrounded by bulging bellies really puts things into perspective.

I would highly recommend this class to everyone who is expecting and don’t worry if you have never done yoga before- it isn’t critical. The most important lesson for me that evening was remembering to breath- deep long breaths and exhaling. The poses you will get into are by no means difficult- generally it is just a lot of stretching and balancing. I felt a lot better after, since I spend about 8 hours of my working day behind the computer- my back exhibited gratitude by cracking in 4 different places! Oh and being pregnant makes it very hard to balance on my leg- the stomach keeps tipping you over.

Here is their schedule and contacts if you feel like giving it a try(click to enlarge):

It IS like brain surgery!

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Miscarriage is still an extremely taboo subject in our society and age. Everyone seems to naively believe and convince themselves that it is not that big of a deal to have a baby. Whether planned or not…babies just “happen”. Well, I am here to burst your bubble people.
During the course of my pregnancy I learned of three different people who lost their babies during pregnancy. Over these short 20 weeks, 3 different people I know had heartbreaking, unsuccessful pregnancies. That is a scary a scary fact.
So I will probably unleash all my pregnancy hormones at the next person who tells me that pregnancy is not a sickness and having a baby isn’t exactly brain surgery. Coz it freaking is!
Within the span of the 40 weeks of pregnancy a woman can find herself facing all sorts of demons, from an ectopic pregnancy, to an infection or having a premature baby that doesn’t survive. So damn it, have a little more sensitively please! I’ve had people actually tell me “there is no reason you cannot do that, you are pregnant- not sick”.
Well, I hardly think that doing something while having the flue can mount up to carrying out the same task while your blood pressure is low, your lower back is screaming in agony, dizzy spells reoccur and you hyperventilate after walking for just 3 minutes!
I’ve had the most difficult time accepting that I am pregnant and allowing myself to be “happy” about it because I know that anything can happen along the way. When a friend with the exact same due date lost her baby at just 13 weeks, I was petrified. Alex kept telling me not to worry and that it will not happen to us, well I didn’t think my friends thought it would happen to them either?! It’s not something you even dare think about.
So dear insensitive bastards (you know who you are) show a little more compassion when you meet a pregnant lady. Offer to help her out, open a car door for her or even take over some tasks so that she can go and take a nap. If your mommy didn’t take care of herself and act like pregnancy IS a big deal…you probably wouldn’t be reading this now.

I am 170 years old

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This could turn out to be a raving/raging post (yet again) about hospitals in Oman but because I currently lack the energy to be angry…I shall refrain from typing in CAPS and cursing after every second word.
A disclaimer: a first-time expectant mother will worry about every little thing that doesn’t “feel right”. She does not necessarily need to be in agonizing pain or in a life threatening situation to be rushed to the hospital. Sometimes a light fever and consecutive dizzy spells are all that’s needed to seek medical attention.
So there I am (at work-that’s where) on Wednesday morning when all of a sudden I begin to feel a little feverish and simply “off”.  I also had a few other symptoms that should solemnly remain between me and doctor so that half the world is not grossed out.  After fighting the sinking feeling that maybe this isn’t simple fatigue I caved and called a fellow doctor- who in turn told me to go to the nearest clinic and get checked out “just to be on the safe side”.
I seriously told my superior I will be back in an hour because I am going for a quick check up. (I should have said Inshallah at this point.) Alex picked me up and we went to the nearest clinic as suggested, the closest one being Al Raffah where I am currently registered. On my way there I kept on calling the operator to make sure there is a gyno there I could see. No one picked up. I called about 8 different times. Yes I had the right number- they just didn’t pick up!
As we stormed the lobby of Al Raffah hospital we soon came to learn that there was no gyno on call and my doctor would not be available until 6pm. Because…you know…doctors work in shifts.  Apparently it is perfectly acceptable not to have a doctor there for 6 hours at a time!!! They only had a GP- which would have helped if I had a bruise or maybe a sore throat…
Suppressing our anger we drove to the closest hospital from Al Raffah- Muscat Private Hospital. Again, I called them on the way there the operator picked up (Hooray??!!) but the line quickly died when she was transferring me to the “correct” department. Ugh.
I quickly felt like I was having the most surreal dĂ©jĂ  vu of my life when we learned that they too did not have a gyno on call because “the entire department was attending a lecture and will only be back in a couple of hours”.  Now, please note that both of the above hospitals have DELIVERY WARDS and possibly women going into labor that very instant- but who gives a monkey’s I guess?
I began to feel quite anxious as by that point in time all sorts of nasty scenarios regarding the baby’s health ran through my mind. We did the only thing we could think of. We drove to Sultan Qaboos University Hospital.  FIY (if you aren’t local) that hospital is 45 minutes away. Make that 1h and 25 minutes when you are driving there at 2:30pm just as about everybody in Muscat is leaving work and heading home.
Keeping a long story short- we finally found ourselves registering at the Accidents and we Emergencies department of SQUH and they quickly send me to get my blood pressure and temp measured (both were high!). The nurse (an attentive young man) was however very reassuring and told me that he marked my file as urgent so that the Emergency department makes me their priority. An hour and a half later we are still sitting there. Alex is dying for some water. I keep pacing the waiting area (which is divided into male and female sections). I “borrowed” the chair the security guard was using, by the door, and sat on it with Alex standing responsibly by my side. We seriously watched dozens of people come in and leave, leave and come in again…and we were still waiting. They reassured me that this was unusual and the emergency gyno department was having a rather hard day with 3 women coming in with bleedings and what-nots. Now, had I been in any serious pain or god-forbid bleeding, I am fairly certain they would have seen me sooner.  About two hours into our waiting game we began to notice amusing details about the waiting room such as the “Welcome to the Accidents and Emergencies Department” poster- which Alex found hilarious and also the fact that my in-patient bracelet said that I am 170 years old. I thought about telling the doctor that my emergency is “old age” when she asks me what I am in there for.
But other than that when we were finally admitted the doctor was lovely, the nurses were lovely and their approach was absolutely relaxing. Although they did kick daddy out at some point as he was being overly anxious. They did a quick check up, a whole bunch of tests and a quick ultrasound to check the baby’s heartbeat and movements. Everything turned out to be ok at the end.
As we were leaving I received my registration card, neatly typed up to include my admission number, name and get this….”English People” in the nationality field. I laughed at this thinking that now I have a valid document to present to the British Embassy once I apply for my UK passport (because my hospital registration card says I am British- that’s why!). It wasn’t until we paid and received a receipt addressed to an Olga Mubarak (P.S that isn’t my actual last name) that I realized perhaps my dream of obtaining a UK passport might have to be abandoned due to my newly-acquired-obviously-Arab last name.
A little bit of humor can get you a long way.

It’s a….

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For the past few weeks we have been anxiously awaiting our ultrasound appointment which was scheduled on the 3rd of August. This time around we changed hospitals in the hope of finding a doctor we were more comfortable with. Throughout the weeks I was unusually calm but as the appointment date drew closer I began to get nervous and excited. By then everyone around us was already convinced it’s a girl, I don’t think even heard anyone say “boy” out loud.
We headed for the ultrasound that Wednesday afternoon, with Alex taking a few hours off work to come with me as usual. Before we knew it I was lying on the ultrasound couch awaiting for the scan to begin. Now, here I must say that given that the baby was only 4cm long the last time we saw her- the ultrasound technicians must provide some sort of a warning, along the lines of ” now a giant baby with appear on the monitor and it will look like nothing you have seen before’. Because I am telling you…I was not prepared for what was to come. Now, I dually youtubed ” 15 weeks ultrasound scans ” and watched dozens of babies do back flips on the monitor…but nothing could have prepared me for my own! From the second the baby appeared on the monitor Alex was absolutely glued to it with a giant grin on his face. All he could say was “It’s really big, it’s really big”.
Our baby was lying face down, on her tummy with her legs and hands curled up under her, snoozing away. It worried me somewhat that she wasn’t moving but the heartbeat was strong so perhaps she was indeed just taking a nap. Unlike the last time where all that was visible was a giant head, a long oval body and two little dots instead of the feet….we could now see a well formed human being! We could clearly distinguish all her features…her spine…her heart…her butt. The baby was however in an unfavorable position to determine sex so the doctor suggested I should cough a few times and this might get her moving. Um, no. We then took a ten minute break during which I walked around the hospital, went to the toilet and generally tried to move a little to get the baby to change position.
When we got back the baby has indeed flipped on it’s back but the legs were still crossed protectively over the area that was of most interest to us. From what the doctor has seen so far she was saying “most probably a girl, yes most probably”. At some point all we could see on the monitor were two little perfect feet and we could clearly make out every single baby toe. It was surreal. The baby became a little more active kicking around and lifting her arms over her head- although I still could not feel any of it.
In a moment she moved her legs out of the way and the doctor zoomed into what was ” 99% a girl” . 🙂 Oh and what a tall girl she is!!! Currently she is already 17 cm long from head to toe! Her feet already don’t have room to stretch out so she keeping them bend at the knee and tucked in under her or just over her tummy.
Towards the end of the ultrasound she raised her right arm to wave at daddy or at least it looked like it. She was playing with her right ear and her arm kept on going up and down as though she was waving…a giant grin didn’t come off Alex’s face for an hour after that!
The doctor did advice us to come back in a month just to be 100% sure of the sex and to check up on the baby, but I am convinced because 99% is a pretty damn good chance and also the fact that everybody was guessing girl and last but not least…we could not come up with a boy’s name all this time!
Our little princess on the other hand already has a beautiful name…Alice.

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