You’re at Joey’s!

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Now if you haven’t seen that particular episode of Friends then this post will not make much sense to you but I will try to help you visualize it with the quotes below. Here goes nothing: at Joey’s it’s ok to eat pasta off the floor. It’s acceptable to be messy. It’s perfectly fine to be a blob.
Here’s the scene:
[Scene: Joey’s apartment, Joey and Rachel are eating spaghetti in the living room while watching TV and Rachel drops some on the floor.]
Rachel: Oh, Joey! Sorry!
Joey: No that’s all right. Don’t worry about it.
Rachel: Oh but look! That’s gonna leave a stain!
Joey: Rach! Hey! It’s fine! You’re at Joey’s!
Rachel: Really?
Joey: Yeah! Look! (He throws some of his spaghetti on the floor.)
Rachel: I’ve never lived like this before.
Joey: I know.
(Rachel throws some of hers down.)
Joey: All right, don’t waste it, I mean its still food. (He picks it up and eats it!)

And this is what the first three month of pregnancy have done to me. They turned me into a Joey.
Normally I am (irrationally) somewhat organized. I do the dishes. I cook everyday. I don’t let laundry pile up. I am a neat person. Now My Cynthia would dramatize and tell you that my house looks like a freaking museum and that I throw tantrums if the groceries are not placed in the right order at the check-out counter- but really, who would you believe me or her?
It would be fair to say that Cynthia was a little baffled (freaked out) when she visited us a few months ago- there was crap all over the place. You could not see the surface of the dining table. There were three day old dishes in the sink (!!!). This was my “the-kitchen-is-the-enemy” stage. Alex left for work to the desert for about 10 days and I am not sure if I ate anything during that time. He was shocked to come back and find the fridge (and all the contents) absolutely untouched (rotten but untouched). At that point (was that May or June, or both?) Alex did the dishes all by himself and was a little (utterly) surprised that they pile up so fast (basically every time after you eat). He must appreciate me a little more now. Back to the fungus. Have I mentioned the fungus yet? Cynthia rescued me from the filthy claws of the mess. Her boyfriend did my dishes. They literally came over to help me tackle the kitchen. They also later reported that something purple was growing on one of the plates and they are pretty sure they saw it move.
Perhaps a few months down the line I will be embarrassed that I let the house go so much. But back then (and pretty much still) I didn’t give a crap. Week 6-12 of pregnancy have been a nightmare of dizzy spells, nausea, headaches and sleep deprivation. So what if we ran out of mugs or clean forks? So what if I haven’t set foot in a supermarket for over two weeks and we were living entirely on instant noodles and French fries. (Not me, I had my constant supply of fruit-don’t worry).
My biggest priority back then (and pretty much still) was to take it an hour at a time. The notion of not being able to stay awake or even have enough energy to shower terrified me…trust me…dirty dishes or a few pieces of pasta on the floor just don’t measure up to Morning Sickness.
Letting go a little was actually beneficial for me. I now know that I can suck up my OCD and let Alex do the grocery shopping once in a while. And who cares if he gets whipped cream instead of sour cream. Boo ya. So what? Apparently once he gets bored of eating pasta three nights in a row Alex is also perfectly capable of cooking and actual meal…who would have though?
This baby is bringing out awesome qualities in my husband.
 I am so proud already!

Prenatal and Postnatal care in Muscat

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Disclaimer: The opinions stated below are those of an excessively worried, picky and downright demanding pregnant woman and may not reflect the experiences or thoughts of other (calmer) patients of the said health-care providers. 
I have certain expectations when it comes to healthcare. I mean, apart from the hospital being credible, sterile and equipped for emergencies I also want it to provide a personal healthcare service and to genuinely “care”. Would it be too much to ask for of the doctor to remember my name (without looking at the file) and the reason for my visit (again without looking at the file)?
We are expecting our first child and obviously have a lot of questions and concerns. As any parents do, we want everything to go smoothly. We expect our doctor to take her sweet time doing our first (and any consecutive) ultrasounds, to listen to my concerns and to at least look at the reports concluded by other doctors. That’s why I am not so happy with Muscat Private Hospital.

We had our first scheduled appointment when I was 6 weeks (and 4 days) pregnant. My doctor asked if my home test was positive and a few other standard questions. We then proceeded to a small dark ultrasound room and heard our baby’s heart beat for the very first time. It was out of this world. Routinely, I was then prescribed folic acid and novidoxine (to ease the morning sickness) and we were sent on our way. Being in a slightly shocked and ecstatic state that morning all the questions I had completely flew out of my head. I wanted to ask her if I am allowed to have a back massage, if there are any foods I should I avoid eating and if I should perhaps give my cat away (toxoplasmosis). Looking back at the first appointment, I would say the vibe we got from the doctor pretty much summed up to “It’s only 6 weeks, come back when you are a little more pregnant”. Or to put it more bluntly “It’s still very early…anything can happen”.
I had slightly different expectations of what my first prenatal appointment would go like. I know for certain that the doctors back home would shower a pregnant woman with advice (Don’t lift anything heavy, drink plenty of milk, don’t change the cat litter). However, in Muscat Private Hospital the appointment felt more commercial than personal. Needless to say I threw myself into speaking to other expecting women and mothers to get a little insight into what kind of a treat I was in for. (And we gave away the cat…)
Fast forward exactly a month. It was extremely difficult for Alex to find the time and come to the next appointment with me because he was booked on a flight to Salalah exactly an hour after our appointment was due to start. However he was very excited to see the baby again and he knew that the Nuchal translucency (NT) scan we were about to do was extremely important so he did the best to reschedule his work trip (but his phone still rang every 15 minutes). First of all we had to wait for an hour for our doctor to find the time to see us. Second of all when we finally had her full attention she checked how far along I am (10 weeks and 4 days) and declared that it’s too early for the NT scan as it will not show until the baby is at least 12-13 weeks. I swear I could hear and see the smoke coming out of my husband ears. Why in the world would they set an appointment to specifically do the scan if it was too early? (It’s a rhetorical question, I know exactly why!).
She immediately saw that we were uncomfortable with her decision and Alex proceeded to calmly (ahem…) explain that an entire oil-drilling site in Salalah was stopped for a day because he could not get on the place because she said we would be doing the damn scan. In her defense the doctor said that she did not say we would be doing the scan but that we would during this appointment schedule another appointment to do the scan. (So let’s get this clear, I am paying 20 OMR for an appointment to just set another appointment???).
Seeing that Alex was literally turning red at this point she sent us down to the ultrasound ward where a pleasant woman reassured me that she would do her best to perform the scan (even though we were two weeks early, yada, yada). Ha! Little did they know that we are currently growing a very progressive and super-developed baby who in week 10 could show them exactly what it was “by the books” too early for them to see. So it is moments like these where I love that Alex is strong-willed, a little (ahem…) pushy and very convincing. Not only did the scan show that the baby is developing very well but we were also able to see it kick around and throw its arms over its head and bounce around in its little protective bubble. Mesmerizing.
What left me worried however is that my doctor did not even ask to see the report of the ultrasound and when we are back there in a few weeks time I doubt she will even remember that she sent us down for a scan.
I am seriously having second thoughts about Muscat Private Hospital now even though I know they are probably the best place to deliver a baby in Muscat, it’s the prenatal care that is leaving me feeling a little abandoned and “used”.
So please share any good/bad experiences you had at Muscat Private, regardless if it was for delivery related or not. What other hospitals provide excellent prenatal and postnatal services? If anyone has actually been with Muscat Private for their entire pregnancy and delivery please let me know! If you don’t want to share your private health stories publicly please email me at happilymarriedtoabiker@gmail.com. I would greatly appreciate any piece of advice at this point!

Now I get it…(ugh!)

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A few weeks ago, during one of my lowest most physically challenging battles with breakfast I decided to ground my child. In all seriousness I told Alex that our kid is not allowed to go to prom (16 years from now) because that is the punishment one gets for making mommy so sick.

I have begged, pleaded, negotiated and downright bribed this child already- and he/she is not even born yet. You see, life is somewhat difficult at the moment. The other day I had to blow dry my hair while lying down in bed because I just did not have the energy to sit up. Here is a little overview of things I can no longer do (although sometimes I really want to):

– Have a burger (meat and chicken are currently the root of all evil)
-Sit next to someone who is having a cup of coffee (nothing smells more disgusting than coffee)
-Have the said coffee
-Go into the kitchen. I am beginning to forget what my faucets look like.
-Take a nice long shower. See exhaustion above.
-Go into a supermarket. All the smells! The smells!!!
-Fit into my jeans. (That just makes me sad).

And that my dear friends, is just the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes I sit and wonder “what was I like before all the morning sickness?. Did I go out? I think so. Did I eat Burger King? Surely I did. Did I stay up past 9pm? Yes, I can recall that as well.

I have disappeared off the face of the planet for the last 6-7 weeks in particular. I kept on postponing coffee-dates with friends and politely refusing dinner invitations. Constantly saying “I am not feeling well” was getting too old. Now that my friends know they are a little more understanding of why I take more rain checks than there are days in the week.

So what happened to me? It is a scary thing-not being in control of your body. Pregnancy is so sugarcoated. “Oh it’s marvelous, pregnant people glow”. Ha! I am sure some sail through the first few months without as much as a zit or a wave of nausea. However, I am feeling the full impact of this “miracle”.

But no matter how upset, sick or downright self-pitying I may sometimes get it helps to remind myself that it is all temporary and no amount of morning sickness is ever going to be “too much” because the outcome is just paramount.

I have gained newfound respect for mother everywhere. To go through these 9 months so completely selflessly whilst enduring all the ups and the downs and still being utterly in awe once the baby arrives.

That’s heroic if you ask me.

P.S Oh and please vote in the Boy/Girl poll. 🙂

Big blessings…

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…Come in very small packages…
We are beyond thrilled to announce that we are expecting our first baby.
This little miracle revealed itself on my birthday and I posted that I received the biggest gift I could ask for that day. Since then I have been on a rollercoaster both physically and emotionally. I reckon there is a reason women don’t reveal their pregnancy before the first trimester is over- quite frankly few of them would have something positive to say about the experience. My body has been spinning out of control and I have not had an appetite for anything other than cherries, peaches and watermelon for the last 2 months. I can nap anytime and anywhere. I am still working full time and finding it a challenge to go through my daily routine as casually as possible whilst I am feeling nauseous and generally weak throughout the day. Did I mention the heat? It’s not helping the tiniest bit. Another reason I have not posted about this earlier is that I was honestly in denial. I asked Alex if we should perhaps take the home pregnancy test once again after it revealed a big fat positive on the screen. I just couldn’t believe it. We waited for a few more weeks to go to the doctor’s and even then as my doctor browsed charts and gave me prescriptions- I could still not believe it. I didn’t want to jinx it.
But it’s here. And it’s real.
The most recent ultrasound yesterday showed our little one kicking his/her legs out, stretching and waving its arms over its head. Life is a party. Alex is utterly smitten. He is in love with this tiny image on the screen which is sporting a healthy, incredibly fast heartbeat (167 beats per minute) and making our hearts beat a little fast in the process too. Alex is attentive and patient. I on the other hand am sick, difficult and somewhat exhausted-all the time.I catch myself thinking “why do I feel so dizzy”  and then it comes to me…’oh right…the baby”. I believe by nature mothers-to-be are somewhat stripped of “feeling” the whole intensity of the situation. To experience the full capacity of “love” towards this little beeing must be unbearable and that’s why morning sickness exists. To make us a little numb to it. To keep us focused on folic acid, eating enough calcium, resting and making us capable of sleeping 12 hours a day. To keep us focused on our health. If I felt like my old self now (I remember I was once a fun and energetic person, I think) then I would be spending my whole time thinking and worrying. About every little detail. Instead while I have succumbed to feeling like a train ran over me twice-everyday- I have other people taking care of the details. My mom is constantly supplying us with meals (I gag everytime I step into the kitchen), Alex is doing everything around the house and takes frequent trips to the supermarket to buy-waterlons- and My Cynthia has already began shopping for the baby.

I expected to be worried. Worried about finances, the nursery, maternity clothes, gaining weight, maternity leave, baby names- but instead there is a residing calm in me. I have never been more sure of anything in my life- everything is going to work out just fine. As long as we are both healthy.

Everything else will fall into place…

Just a little crazy

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Have you ever questioned your mental state? Have you ever been utterly convinced that you may be headed for the loony bin? Have you ever felt neurotic or anxious? If you answered yes to any of these questions then maybe you can relate to what I am about to tell you.
A few days before we were due to leave to Dubai I realized I lost my driver’s license. I made plans to issue a new one with the ROP the next morning only to come home and find my license laying in another wallet- a wallet I haven’t used for over a month. I drove without a license for a month. Cursing myself for being a forgetful idiot, I put my license down on the dining table and ten minutes later I was looking for it again. I turned the house upside down and Alex was franticly helping me look for a license I had just a few minutes ago! I found it in the garbage bin. I threw it out together with some scrap paper and a telephone card wrapper when I was cleaning the dining table- except I don’t remember any of this. It was pure luck that I decided to check the dumpster and recover my driver’s license. Mumbling “I need a vacation” I shoved the license back into my wallet.
Fast-forward exactly 5 days.
Returning from our vacation rested and relaxed I went on with my days as usual. I went to work, came home, cooked dinner, watered the plans, watched TV, cleaned up the house and… threw out 100 rials (250USD). Into the garbage bin. Earlier that evening the money was safely enclosed in an envelope with good reason and apparently the envelope was in the way of what-ever-I-was-doing. The next morning all hell broke loose when I could not locate the money. Not bothering to check drawers, wallets or pockets I went straight for the garbage bin. And there it was under apple peels and cigarette buds-my cherished envelope. I would surely remember throwing out such a valuable item you say? Well, no I don’t remember any of it.
I told my parents, Alex and my closest friends about this incident. My mom told me to learn to put things away on the spot, my husband told me to NEVER EVER go near the garbage bin again and C told me to Google my illness. I must admit I now look twice at what I am throwing away but somehow I am convinced that I may require professional help and that this “feeding-the-garbage-bin-monster-my valuable-possessions” scheme are just the beginning of bigger things to come…
Any tips for the crazy lady?

2nd of April- World Autism Awareness Day

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To tell you the truth, I don’t know much about autism and I am a little ashamed of my own ignorance. That’s why when I saw an advertisement for a walk to raise awareness of autism, I jumped at the opportunity to participate. Since the advertisement offered a limited amount of information I contacted the organizers and a few days later they were kind enough to get back to me with more details.
The walk will begin at Bareeq AlShatti at 4pm and will continue to  Al Qurum Park. At the park the organizers plan to host a concert complete with activities for children, food will also be sold at the venue.
On the 2nd of April and exhibition will take place at City Center Qurum where paintings will be sold and fun activities conducted. The money we raise from selling the shirts, food, paintings..etc will go to the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Disability which is in AL-Athaibah, as the organizers are trying to contribute in anyway to help them build a new centre.
Najla Al-Futaisi is one of the organizers of the event and she is looking to help many families with children with this disorder who are not aware of its existence.
We can all make-do with contributing to a worthy cause such as this one. Hope to see you join the walk on the 1st of April.

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