July 29, 2010

Never waste a moment...

Last night D and I watched Away We Go for the second time. The first time we watched it I was not pregnant and I still loved the movie as it covered so many different angles of everyday life and families that you cannot help but fall in love with it. In the movie Verona, the main female character, lost both her parents whilst she was still at university and you can feel how upsetting it must be to going through something as amazing as pregnancy and then the birth of your child and not be able to share this with your parents.

At the end of the movie D was emotional and I could sense it. He lost his mom 3 years ago in November. She passed away whilst on holiday and with no prior warning that something was seriously wrong with her; she was 54 years old. D was really close to her and the shock of losing her from one day to the next hits him to this day. I know he misses their chats and the fact he could talk and be himself to her. As the time of Izzy's birth nears I feel he misses sharing stories with her and talking about what we are buying and what we still need to get, you know the kind of silly talk that does not mean much but it's good for the heart! He doesn't need to tell me how much she would have gone crazy over little Izzy, she kept on asking D when she was going to become a grandma even though at the time we were not even married yet. She would have spoilt Isabella rotten and would have been there for D's many phone calls asking about this and that. To say it's unfair that she has been robbed of this moment is an understatement. My heart aches for D and as much as I empathise I can't really understand what he is feeling. All I feel is helplessness in not being able to help D more and ultimately not being able for him to experience this moment without at the same time aching for her to be here. When you love some like that the hardest thing is watch them live this pain and not being able to take some of it away and make it better.

My brother has lived through similar feelings of helplessness with L, his fiance (they have been together 15 years but never got married until their two girls came along and they decided to get married in the summer of 2011!). L was 17 when both her mom and grandfather were killed in a car crash. It was a full frontal car crash and they were sitting in the back seat, L's aunt and uncle were in the front seats and survived the impact. I remember my whole family grieving for L's loss, she had such a tough start in life and to be robbed of the two most important people in her life was heartbreaking. When L got pregnant with their first daughter I remember my brother telling me how difficult it had been for L to go through something as amazing as this and not be able to share it with her mom. They also named partly after her mom and it's by pure coincidence that both L's mom and D's mom shared Anna/Anne as their names.

Life is incredibly unfair at times and then again it can all turn around and be amazingly happy, there is no way of knowing when one will end and the other begin and I am sure that no one would want to know either. What D and L's tragic experiences have taught me is never to take any moment for granted, never wait till tomorrow to call your loved ones, never wait a moment to tell the love of your life that he is the most amazing man, never waste a kiss, don't waste time being sad for what you might not know for sure, to be happy and thankful for what you have right now because you don't know what tomorrow holds.

July 28, 2010

Hospital bag.. what to pack??

I love making lists and updating them as I go along and my one ongoing list has been the "what to pack for the hospital?" Everyone, except my mom, has been laughing at me for making my list and wanting to start preparing everything for every eventuality this early. I expected the same from my mom but when I told her she said that she started putting things away in a drawer early enough and when the time came all she did was empty the drawer into the bag. I am planning on doing the same!

Much googling later I have come up with the current list...here it goes:

Things for me:
  • old night gown/t-shirt for during birth and after birth;

  • robe for walking around the corridors;

  • slippers (I think I will stick to my trusted Birkenstock -the only shoes I can fit into);

  • pillow (not sure if I should take my beloved body pillow or just an ordinary pillow with coloured cover);
  • socks;
  • nursing bras;

  • knickers;

  • panty liners;
  • breastfeeding pads (which ones to get??);
  • toiletries;

  • birthing ball;

  • ipod (not sure I will use it for music but I can listen to my meditation or at least try!);

  • one outfit for when I leave the hospital;
  • phone charger;
  • snacks and drinks.

Things for the birthing partner (aka D):

  • comfy shoes and flip flops;

  • change of clothes;
  • toiletries;

  • camera and charger;
  • phone charger;

  • a watch with a second hand (might need to get one as D does not wear one!);

  • snacks.

Things for Little Miss Peanut:

  • Nappies;

  • outfits for two days;

  • onesie for two days;

  • one pram cellular blanket and a swaddle blanket;
  • hat;
  • mittens;

  • nail file (in case she is born with long nails);

  • nappy cream (still researching that one!);

  • comb;

  • Car seat and base (the hospital we will deliver at has a system in place whereby every child who delivers there gets a free car seat!)

What am I missing??? If you have any suggestions please let me know!!

July 27, 2010

The Great Big Wash

On Sunday for the 100th time I took out all the things I bought for Izzy. I just love looking through her clothes, bath towels, socks, bibs and just hold them in front of my belly. It makes it all so real for me and I do feel like this is actually happening and that we are going to have a baby in October who will wear all of these beautiful outfits. D looks on from his armchair and plays along with my “game” by looking at some of the outfits I point out to him and saying how incredible it is that Izzy will fit into them.

Anyway, as I was saying on Sunday I separated whites, pales, brights, sheets/blankets and bath towels. I put them all in 4 separate bags ready for my big washing spree. Of course a process that could have taken me 10 minutes lasted about an hour as I stopped and was almost in tears whilst looking at all the different outfits we bought so far (D looked on thinking I have gone and lost my mind completely). Now you would think that washing clothes is not something that requires a lot of thought, you just put the clothes in, add the detergent, select your program turn the machine on and voila, your clothes are washing. Well it can be that simple but it’s not when it come to baby clothes. I started researching this a while back and after reading both American and British ways of doing things I decided I would sit somewhere in the middle and do things my way. I decided to use Ultra Purex Baby as the main detergent and then add ¼ of the normal tiny cup of Downy Free & Sensitive as the fabric softener. As all the clothes /sheets are brand new I wash them all on 30/40 degrees and after adding the softener I let the machine stop then run the washing cycle again just to make sure all the extra soap is gone out of the clothes. I suffer from allergies and always had sensitive skin so I fear Izzy might have the same reaction to harsher detergents. I read a lot about the use of fabric softener but the controversy is mainly about using it on those clothes that are flame retardant and most of the clothes I buy are not treated for this purpose, the only item I saw as being fire proof is her moses basket and its mattress and I don’t intend to wash that. I did however wash the lining of the basket as it smelled of wicker but I didn’t use fabric softener on this just to be sure even if there was no mention of this on the item.

So far I washed all the sheets, blankets and bath towels and last night I started ironing them. I did a lot of them and still have another wash load to do tonight. I have figured out a way whereby I can sit on the sofa and iron at the same time which does not hurt my feet and my back either. It was a bit of challenge ironing the moses basket’s fitted sheet… it was so tiny but I managed. I wonder if I will keep this up after she is born…I guess we shall wait and see. I normally don’t iron our sheets I just put them on and that’s it, they are going to get messy anyway so what’s the point but for Izzy it’s better that they are flat and pressed.

It’s a good thing I love washing and ironing and making everything neat and tidy or this would be such a chore.. I actually love putting in the items and then putting them on the line and when they are ready ironing them, it’s a really calming and peaceful process for me. D on the other hand hates washing and even dislikes touching wet clothes just out of the washing machine. He used to help me putting the clothes up to dry but after being told that he was not doing it the “right” way too many times he now just watches… I only have myself to blame for that one…LOL!

In other news, Izzy is moving like crazy these days. I started counting kicks and I think I am going to stop. There is no point as she moves so fast so quickly that she does 10 kicks in less than a minute now! My whole belly shakes and moves as well which is pretty amazing to watch and I can feel what I am guessing is her spine and her tushy against my belly. She moves equally as much during the day and the night, the main moves come mainly after food or if I drink cold water or orange juice. When I told D how much she is moving his reply was : “we are never going to sleep again!” We shall see…

July 26, 2010

Thyroid vs D the battle continues...

If you'd asked me what the thyroid was 6 years ago I would have looked at you blankly. Now I know more than I ever wanted to know. When we were still living in London, the summer before moving out here, D started losing a lot of weight. We thought it was a diet he was doing or just his metabolism speeding up. With time we felt something was wrong when he started to develop other symptoms; he could not stand the heat that we used to sleep with 2 fans on us and he was still hot, his hands started to shake so much that he could not even sign his own name at, the muscles in his legs were so weak that he had a hard time walking or going up stairs, his eyes became bigger and towards the end he would just stare at nothing for hours and not even reliase he was doing it, he was also super excitable and super hyper and he could not control it, his heart rate was so fast and his blood preassure through the roof. We went to doctors in the UK and in Belgium and no one could tell us what was going on. One stupid doctor even told us that he might have some sort of cancer and to come back in 3 months for more tests!?!?!? Idiot.

Then at the end of August after we packed our house and as we were on our way to the UAE we planned two stops, the first in Italy to see my family and the second in Greece to visit D's. When my parents saw Dimitri they realised he was not well. They took me aside and told me they thought he had a severe thyroid condition. I looked at them blankly and they told me that my aunt had the same thing and that he needed immediate medical attention. When we got to Greece his aunt who also had it, organised for him to go get his blood tests done so that he could receive treatment once we got to Abu Dhabi.

The results showed a severe case of hyperthyroidism that if left untreated could have caused heart failure. We were shocked and relieved that finally we had a name for what was going on. We saw many doctors for his condition and D has been struggling with his thyroid since. Through my boss we were able to start seeing this amazing endocrinologist who from the first visit made us feel like we finally were in good hands. D's hyperthyroidism was so out of control that even the medication were not helping and almost 3 years ago he took a dose of radioactive iodine in the hope that it would help control the thyroid function without needing to do surgery and have his thyroid remove.

We felt it was the right approach and it has worked until now. His thyroid seemed to be doing ok and after many ups and downs the doctor was confident enough to tell him that if his latest lab tests came back looking good he would be considered as any other person. We just got the results and his thyroid has finally realised what happened and is now fighting to keep on responding but the doctor believes it is showing the signs of hypothyroidism. We knew going into the radioactive treatment that this could have been one of the outcomes but we were hoping it wouldn’t come to that. I keep telling D that millions of people live with hypo and that once you find the right combination of drugs you can live a normal life. I believe in his doctor and I have faith that waiting to see how things develop in the next couple of months before starting medication is the best course of action. I can also understand his frustration in that he would rather not have to take a pill for the rest of his life starting so young. I tell him to keep thinking positive and that with his new diet and his exercise routine he will be in a better shape come the next check up. If there is one thing I have learnt in the last 2 years is not to underestimate the power of your body.

In the meantime I am researching “living with hypothyroidism” so I know what to expect and can be of help and support to D. I am sure that as long as we are in this together there is nothing we cannot conquer.

July 25, 2010

Shop till you drop

That's what we did this weekend. We went on Friday but after lunch Isabella started moving around so much that I could hardly walk. It was painful and I even started to get pain that felt like period pain which I know is not a good sign. I wonder if I was feeling Braxton Hicks contractions?? No clue! We decided to go home instead and chill out for the afternoon. In the evening we went to the cinema to watch Inception which we really enjoyed! We saw it on an IMAX screen so it looked even more awesome!
Yesterday we tried again and it was definitely a better day. D left me in a shop for an hour and by the time he was done getting his hair cut I was still in there. I got Izzy lots of cellular blankets and fitted sheets to fit her cot. We have also bought the moses basket we will keep her in until she is big enough for her cot/bed. It's not the exact one we looked at first but it's cute and it's safe so that's all that matters. I also got some super cute little baby socks as they were on sale (D did not share in my enthusiasm when I showed them to him!) I used all the vouchers I got for my birthday on these expenses and loved the feeling that all these gifts came from friends. As I am not going to have a baby shower D mentioned that my birthday celebration was also a baby shower all in one so that's why I got so many vouchers and a few items for Izzy including her first pair of trainers!
The major items that remain on the list are the furniture items for her room. We went to Ikea but didn't like any of their options, we went to upmarket baby shops and either they were not selling what we were looking for or they ran out of stock or they were asking for crazy prices we are just not willing to pay. What's wrong with having shops that stock up on popular items?? I don't want to risk ordering anything as we only have 11 weeks left and after what happened with the "pram" (yes I am still waiting to receive it!!!I know it's been since March!!!Every time D asks when it's going to get here I want to sink into the ground I am standing on!!!) I don't want to risk ordering anything. I feel like I am asking for a piece of the moon here where all I am asking is to go to a shop chose the furniture I like, buy it and take it home! How can this be so bloody difficult???
As you can tell I am getting frustrated over this and D told me he has about enough of going to the same shops checking out the same stuff every weekend and he has a valid point. So next week we are going to another shopping center to check out a new brand... wish us luck!
In other news D has started a diet regime as he is determined to get fit and healthy before Izzy gets here. He has changed so much in the last 7 months since we got pregnant. He quit smoking from one day to the next and he is doing so well with that and now he is focusing on losing some extra weight and getting fit. This means that from now on I will be cooking dinner for myself only which will be strange at first but I know it's all for a good reason! He gets to have Fridays off so I know we will enjoy that meal together! I hope that it works for him as it did for the friend that recommended this center. We shall wait and see. I am just super proud of him!

July 22, 2010

80 beautiful days to go till we meet our Girl

Today my tickers said 80 days to go and as we move forward towards the BIG day, here is an update of where I am at.
Weight gained so far: 15kg (33 pounds) I know, I know.. some women gain that at full term. For me this is not happening. I still look good and everyone tells me how the extra weight suits me. One of my girlfriend told me not to lose it after.. I don't know about that! I will let my body take charge and see where we get to. The way I figure it is that I have a lifetime for losing weight but I might only be pregnant once!

Stretch marks: still none although in terms of cellulite on my thighs.. oh God.. it's bad!! Still didn't stop me from wearing my pregnancy tanking during our weekend away!

Biggest change: Isabella's movement. I believe she is facing inside my belly and therefore I don't get the usual kicks. I still feel her move and I can see her with my own eyes when she moves from one side to the next but the kicks have changed in terms of strenght. It's as if she has become more coordinated. Although I have a feeling she will be like me, in that she never can stay still for too long!LOL

Major purchase for Isabella: so many but the biggest is the cot/junior bed. We are still waiting to get it delivered but we know it's ours and it's on its way. We also got a soft and colourful rug for her room. Given we painted her room baby blue we went for a pink rug with flowers on it. We love it!

Sleeping: since the start of the second trimester I have started going to the toilet again at night. That stopped almost to the day I went into my second trimester and now it's back. So far I only get up once around 4/5am but I am sure this might change. I am also tossing and turning a lot but overall I still average 9 hours per night which is incredible.
Cravings: starting to think this craving thing is all one big lie. I have not gotten any and at this rate I might never get one. D was ready for me to say I wanted ice cream on steak or that I started craving pickles (which I hate!) but I have to disappoint him on that one.

How is D doing: great and still attentive and loving to the "bump" and his daughter inside of it. He still has moments when he looks at me and I can see his eyes resting on the bump and a look of amazement coming over him. He loves the fact we are having a daughter and as time nears he cannot wait to meet her.
What am I looking forward to: our ultrasound on the 9th of August. I cannot wait to see that all is good with her heart once that is established I am looking forward to getting a new 4D picture of her little face. I bet she has changed loads from the last one we did at 20 week. For this one she will be 31 weeks so the change will be incredible! For now I pray all is ok.

What I miss: I would have said wearing my normal shoes but when I had my birthday dinner I wore a sexy pregnancy dress (yes they exist!) and I didn't want to were my Birkenstock with it I wanted to wear something classy and cute. I tried all my shoes on and none would fit my poor feet. D (I swear he is so clever!!) suggested I try some of my open sandals as I might have more room and it worked. I wore the shoes I wore at our wedding, golden strappy sandals from Sergio Rossi (was my mom's present to me for the big day!) I kept them on all night and even if my feet were swollen at the end of the night, I managed it!

Best moments:I discovered recently that Isabella loves being massaged. So yesterday I was at my desk and I rubbed my belly because sh had her tushy or back against it. I stopped and went on working when I felt a distinct kick or elbow on the opposite side of where I was massaging. So I massaged her a bit more and she was still, then I stopped and she kicked again several times. She wanted more. We played this game for a while until she was satisfied with the amount of attention she got from me. She is also a music lover and if she likes the music I am playing she will wiggle and move if not, i don't hear from her at all. Well yesterday I tried something whereby I out one earphone on me and one on the belly.. she loves Daughter, Loudon Wainwright III , our girl has good taste!

July 21, 2010

I will never forget..

Last night I had a dream that IVF didn’t work for us and that we had decided not to try anymore. For some reason I had to watch women delivering knowing I would never experience this for myself. I woke up in a sweat and the first thing I did was touch my belly to make sure it was still there. This is something I do anyway but last night I felt a need to do so. When I felt the roundness of it and remembered that I am 28 weeks pregnant the fear left me but I started thinking of all the couples out there still struggling to get pregnant. I remember those feelings of "what if it never happens for us", the endless sleepless nights, all the crying whenever I saw a pregnant woman on the street, all the dreams of being where I am right now, the painful tests, the many bad news and all the injections. Now that my dream has come true there isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God and the universe for this amazing gift. I feel so bless to be experiencing pregnancy and "please God let it be this way" childbirth and motherhood. I know how lucky I am to be pregnant and in this amazing experience there can't be enough highs.
Infertility has deprived me of many things but it has also thought me a lot and it had brought me to this wonderful community where women carry and support one another and for that I will be forever thankful. I cannot know what each and every woman/couple is going through because each experience, as similar as it might be, is different but I do hold you in my prayers and I do wish that you will get to where you want to be. I first heard this poem in the movie "In her shoes" and I want to dedicate it to all the ladies out there who are struggling to get to where they were MEANT to be....
I carry your heart with me E.E.Cummings
I carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

July 20, 2010

Life at 30 and in the 3rd trimester

I have to say that surprises rock!!! D organised the best weekend of my life!!!!! I have never had this much fun in one weekend and he has really ensured that I would always remember this birthday.
The celebrations started on Thursday night when D organised a surprise dinner with all my favourite people. I had no idea where we were going but I knew it would have been dinner with friends. He booked a private room in Frankie's, a new Italian restaurant in Abu Dhabi that I have been wanting to go check out for a while now. The atmosphere when we walked in was incredible and the private room was just so intimate. Slowly slowly all our friends arrived and the party got started. I found out that 3 of my friends changed their flight schedules to be there which was just incredible! I felt so loved I could not stop smiling all evening. I got so many presents, most of them being vouchers as that's what I had told D I wanted. The champagne was flowing (for those drinking it) and the food was incredible! Everyone enjoyed it so much as they had such a big variety to chose from. After we were done with the food, the lights were dimmed and out came the waiters with the cake... oh my GOD the cake!!! Words cannot describe what I felt when I saw the cake. I had told D that all I really wanted was a BIG cake and boy did he listen! The cake was enormous and covered in a lovely pink icing with an intricate purple design on top, there were actually two separate cakes one for the "3" and one for the "0". The filling was a very delicate blueberry cream and the rest was a super soft sponge cake... it was so so delicious that most people asked for two slices! Here is a picture of it...

I later learnt of the extent to which D went to get it made as he wanted and delivered to his office and then the restaurant. I swear I am such a lucky lady!!!

The next day we woke up late and then we set off for our surprise weekend adventure!!! D told me we were going to be gone till Sunday but I had no idea where to. The drive took 2 hours and throughout I kept on guessing where we were headed and I still had no figured it out when we got to our end destination. The resort we were staying at is one that has been on my list of places to see for a while. It's in the northern emirates and right on the coast which makes for some amazing views. When we checked in the asked if we were staying in a room or a water villa and D looked at me and said.. "water villa"! I was shocked.. yes.. again!!! Our villa was right by the beach and on the water. We had 2 pools nearby and of course the sea to explore. The resort was built like an Italian/Greek village so you felt like you really were in an authentic village. It was so well done. Our villa was on two floors with a large living/dining room and kitchen on the bottom floor and the bedroom/bathroom upstairs. We also had a large terrace and a balcony by the bedroom to watch the sunset. It was an amazing place and one I will never forget.

Once we got comfy we exchanged presents and D took out a little blue Tiffany's bag and my jaw dropped. I told him not to get me presents that all the rest counted as presents but of course he didn't listen. I got out my present and card and he was surprised, finally I could get him back! I slowly opened the box and fund the cutest necklace and heart shaped pendant with 5 diamonds. It is so simple and so me that despite being crossed that he got me this too, I could not help but loving it! I put it on and have not taken it off since!! D loved his new camera and has been snapping pictures since. He has tested it at night, against the sun and in low light and he LOVEs it. I am so pleased he loves it and he said he cannot wait to take pics of Isabella with it!
We spent most of the weekend relaxing and chilling out by the pool or the beach. We did some exploring by car and despite the fact that we didn't find much to see it was still a lot of fun! For my birthday dinner D had organised a little cake to be brought to the table with two candles on it... it was a yummy cake and the last of the many surprises I got this weekend.

I cannot express how spoilt and loved I felt this weekend.. to know that D went to such extent to make my birthday so special brings tears to eyes and I will ALWAYS remember turning 30 with a big smile on my face!
The day after I turned 30 I officially entered into the 3rd trimester!! I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy is going! I wen to my 28 weeks check up yesterday and as my midwife was off sick I got to see one of the doctors in my team. She reviewed my chart and after seeing that Isabella is an IVF baby she upgraded us to high risk. D was not happy with this decision as he feels they put a stigma on IVF as being high risk when it should be just like any other pregnancies. I agree but the "worry-maniac" part of me feels that we will be better monitored and more closely followed in this way. Not that the midwife was not doing this to begin with but I did notice that she never asked to see my file from my doctor or ask me why we did IVF to begin with. I now ordered a copy of my file at the RE's office and will pick it up on Saturday. Anyway, I also mentioned what happened at my RE's clinic in terms of Izzy's heart and she ordered an ultrasound for the next appointment. I will now see the doctor every 3 weeks and then every 2 and eventually every week. I cannot wait for the 9th to see how Izzy is doing and to make sure her little heart is beating as it should do now. I also wonder if we will be able to get more 3D pics of her, last time they did it so quick that we could not see her on the screen but the pictures came out so well. We shall wait and see. I might have to go for this one on my own as the appointment is at 10 am but D said he will try make it at least for the ultrasound part. I am back on the iron tablet and now on calcium supplements also which is a lot of pills for me to remember to take... maybe they need to start giving me pills to remember to take my pills!! HEHE!

July 15, 2010

Almost two years ago....

On July 16th 2008 we said "I do". It feels like yesterday we were making the final arrangements for our "special" day. We had waited almost 8 years for this day and when we planned it and we made the arrangements it was not supposed to be on this day but at the end of September and in Venice, not Abu Dhabi's Italian Embassy. Life got in the way of our plans. Within a 4 months period, D lost his mom very suddenly and my dad suffered a severe stroke. He was in hospital and no one knew if it he would make it. Plans were unmade, my dress was cancelled, our wedding planner was let go and we made other plans. I suppose in a way... "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" John Lennon. This quote is so true and so applicable to our lives.

Regardless of the fact that our wedding day was not what we had envisioned and planned it will stay in my memory as one of the best days of my life. Saying that I wanted him to be my husband through it all and promising to love and cherish his love forever felt like a brand new chapter of our life together. It's weird but in a way, and D knows this, I always felt like we were married to each other from when we got together. We made an unsaid promise to love and never hurt the other person and we stuck to that promise through the years.

D has been my soul mate and my best friend since the day we met back in October 2000. He was the first to say I love you and when he did it all I said was "YOU love ME?" I was in shock that someone as amazing as him could fall in love with someone like me. He swept me off my feet and has never let me down since. I know I am the luckiest girl alive to have such a wonderful man as my best friend and now husband for the last two years. He was truly made for me and he literally is my first and only true love.
This is year is super special as we no longer celebrate just the two of us but Izzy is here with us celebrating the day and reminding us today of all days that miracles can and do happen. I love you my amazing and irresistible husband.. I don't know what I did in a previous life to deserve you but I sure know never to take what we have for granted. I love you.

I found these quotes recently and I saved them for this moment...

"Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years." Simone Signoret
"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." Germaine Greer
"Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” Phyllis Diller

Here we were taking our first steps as husband and wife...

July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Trees are my secret obsession..

July 13, 2010

making small talk and other random thoughts

I am not nor have I ever been one of those women who make small talk. It does not come natural to me and when I try it it make me feel so awkward. Since getting pregnant I have made small talk with complete strangers on two different occasions. The first time happened last week, I went shopping for food for D who was home sick with a cold (wonder where I got mine from...!!) and I wanted tomato soup and all they had was broccoli and stilton soup which I hate and cannot eat whilst pregnant. So I stood there like a moron looking for something else to buy. This woman also stood there looking at all sort of deli meats. She turned to me at one stage and said "can't find what you came here for?" and I turned to her and said that I came here for tomato soup and they had everything but that. She told me that she had a dinner party that night and that her husband just told her that one of her guest was Muslim and therefor did not eat meat. She had planned some kitchen wrapped in pancietta and so she had to come out at the last minute to look for some halal pancietta and all they had was turkey slices. I said something along the lines that I felt for her. After a while she picked up her turkey slices and left but before she did she turned back and said good luck to me and I wished her the same.I know most people do this every day but for me this is a rare occasion. When I told D his eyes popped and he said "You making small talk to strangers... this pregnancy is really changing you!"

Well it happened again today. I was at work in the restroom. When I went to wash my hands there was another lady brushing her teeth (it was after lunch), I looked down and so her big bump. I instinctively and without thinking twice asked her how far along she was and she told me she was due the first week of August. Her belly looks so big and beautiful and for a tiny lady she carried with it with such grace. She asked me the same and I told her and then she said she know when the birth will happen as she is having a scheduled c-section at the same hospital I am delivering at but that she is also considering another one for insurance purposes. I asked her if she knew what she was having and she told me that she is having twin girls. How exciting!! She told me she is working till the end in order to make the most of her short maternity leave (we both have 45 calendar days which is just shit!). I wished her good luck and said congratulations on her blessing and she said the same. We work in the same zone but for different companies and as much as I have seen her around I have never spoken to her before today. I will surely look out for her for brief catch ups in the coming weeks.

As much as I LoVe our new house I am starting to dislike all the issue we are facing with it. If it's not one thing it's the next but our main issue so far has been with the water tank and pump. The geniuses that built these houses didn't think that putting a water pump underground in a garden that needs a lot of water would be an issue, so not only they built it like this they also didn't waterproof these manholes and pumps. As a result from one moment to the next we are left with no water as the water pumps get flooded with water. Since we moved there 6 months ago we have had to get the maintenance to pump water out on 4 occasions, two of which occurred within 2 days of each other. Now you tell me if this is normal? Last night it happened again. We were watching tv thinking the water was watering itself and when I went to check the water was off in the garden and in the house too. They came they "semi-fixed" and they are coming back today to fix things for the third time. I swear I hope they do fix this once and for all

I have also changed my job to travel agent! My parents are coming to stay with us for a month (they live on another continent from us so it's only logical for them to stay longer) from the week I go on maternity till the 23rd of October so I have had to organise their tickets for their trip. I cannot wait to see them and it'll be great for them to see me pregnant. I last saw them for Christmas and pictures don't really do this justice. I warned them that they might have to drive me to the hospital and be ready to speed if necessary.. that should be fun! I have also asked my mom on several occasions if she wanted to come in with us whilst I deliver and on all occasions her reply has been somewhat vague. The first time I asked her we were talking about their visit and whether they should come before or after Izzy's birth. I told her that if they came early she could come in with us and her reply was "we'll come after then!!" I should have gotten the picture but I asked her again and when I felt how uncomfortable she was I answered for her and said that maybe it would not be fair on dad who would have to stay out on his own. To that she agreed. I think it would be too much for her to see me in that much pain and that she might not be able to stand it. She is a known fainter so I think if she saw blood she would be out and then take D with her as he gets queasy too!!! When I told D all he said, in a joking way, was "I am glad you are so considerate of your mom's feelings.. what about mine??"
Then in December we are having everyone over for Christmas at our house, well not exactly staying with us but spending Christmas here with us for Izzy's first Christmas. My brother and his family are flying over from the UK, my parents from Italy, my father in law from Greece and maybe D's brother and new wife from Belgium. It should be fun and an experience to have everyone here together at once! We are putting people in hotels as our house only has one spare room, the other room being Izzy's room and we are saving that for D's dad as he is alone and would not be nice for him to be in a hotel alone. So we have a lot to plan and I want to do it all before Izzy gets here because then she comes first and I will only have eyes and ears for my little cutelet! When I told this to my mom she almost sounded jealous as if she was losing me to Izzy in a way.. which is silly because she will always be my mom but I feel that in way she feels she might be less important in my life once she is born.. need to make sure she does not feel that way!!

July 12, 2010

Taking this cold to the mattresses!!!!

I am once again coming down with a cold.. I swear I was fine last night and now I am all congested up. I have 4 days left of my twenties, I should be on top form not feeling like an old lady! So I have come up with a canning plan.... I have decided to take inspiration from Kathleen Kelly from You've Got Mail and "take this cold to the mattresses" Godfather style!!!! I shall not be sick, full of snot during the the last week of my twenties... I will Fight, Fight, Fight!!! So I sit here drinking liters of water, tea with lemon and honey and walking around to keep my energy going.. I am one determined person when I want to be!

You must think I have been obsessing over turning 30 but the fact is that until a friend mentioned if I was ready for the last week of my twenties, I had no clue my birthday was so close. I have to admit that I am really looking forward to this big surprise with friends on Thursday night and then to our mastery long weekend away!! I cannot wait for it!!! All D told me to pack was a swimsuit that fits me because "we will be away from civilisation"! How cool does that sound??? I cannot wait to see where my lovely husband is taking me! I am also super excited about Thursday but worried after D told me off last weekend for being high maintenance but thinking I am low maintenance.. which is, according to Harry from When Harry Met Sally.....the worst kind of woman:
Harry Burns: There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.
Sally Albright: Which one am I?
Harry Burns:You're the worst kind. You're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance.

D told me this because everyone has been asking him what to get me for my birthday and how no one, including him, knows what to get me because I don't spell it out! When he asked me I told him to tell people to get me vouchers for books or stores anything is fine but no specifics because I don't want people to spend a fortune on a birthday present. I said it before, I have not celebrated my birthday with friends since I was 18 so I am a little out of training here! When it comes to D's present I told him I don't want anything because he is already taking us to this amazing weekend away so that's the present and not to get me anything from Tiffany either. Basically he should not get me a present.. now that's not high maintenance to me??!?

Anyway, I am off walking around the office trying to shake this cold off... wish the cold luck ladies because I am not taking any hostages today!!!

July 11, 2010

My post its and we got the Cot bed!!!!

Since getting pregnant my brain has not been working in the same way it was pre-pregnancy. I was always the one that people relied on to remind them of appointments and useful information, it was my gift. Well my gift is gone and people have stopped asking me to remind them of what they need to do cause they know I will forget. As much as I try to remember what question I was suppose to ask my midwife or my doctor I will not be able to remember when I need to. It might come to me an hour after the appointment or I might remember it as I am about to fall asleep, but that is of little use.
In order to keep up with appointments and a semi normal life I have started writing all the "important" things down on post its which I then stick to the inside of my purse. When I showed D the inside of my purse he was shocked with what he saw. I had something close to 5 post its all stuck to my purse and I had to admit that was a good day. I told him that he can official call the doctors when I start sticking post its to the walls of hour bedroom in a manner similar to that movie "Momento" except the guy did it with a combination of notes and tattoos. I hope I don't get that bad..!

In other news, we got Isabella's cot bed and it's wonderful! It's not one of the 3 we had shortlisted but it's a new one we saw yesterday in this funky shop in Dubai. We went there to look for decals for Izzy's room which I saw on their website so after selecting the ones we liked we moved on to discuss cot beds with the manager of the shop. We told her what we were looking for and she showed us three that interested us. The first one had an oval shape that as cute as it looked would have been difficult to own in the long run in terms of finding sheets to fit it etc. The second one was a white simple and yet practical cot with a drop sides that transformed into a junior bed. The last one was a sleigh design cot that when we first saw it dismissed on the ground that the colour was not what we were looking for. When she said that they had it in white as well we bought looked at each other and knew it that that was it! Here is a picture of it, but in the one we got the two end parts are in full wood (at least that's what we remember!):

It's called the New Sleigh 3 in 1 Cot bed and it's by Boori Country an Australian company. We love it because:

  1. the wood they use is grown in a sustainable plantation so as much as it'll be durable through the years, it came from a plantation that was created for this purpose;
  2. it meets all the safety standards you can think of;
  3. it is possible to lower the side track for easier access to the baby;
  4. it does not only convert into a junior bed but later when Izzy outgrows that too it can be converted into a little sofa;
  5. it comes with its own spring mattress so we can be sure of a perfect fit.

We ordered it and it should be delivered to us in 8 weeks from now which will be around the first week of September! We cannot wait to see it in Izzy's room! D saw a little chest for Izzy to keep some of her toys in and fell in love with it so we got it too! It's also white but we could add stickers or maybe a nice looking pillow for now.

We had a busy but exciting weekend! On Friday we had two back to back parenting classes, the first one was all about C-sections and the exercises to do after the operation and the actual procedure etc. The second class covered baby care, so we learnt how to hold the baby (Teddy bear in our case!) when breastfeeding her, how to bath and change her nappy. It was a lot of fun and very educative for us. We also learnt that poor little Isabella will have a lot of vaccinations to do after she is born... I don't dare think about it yet!!! The first ones are done after she is born.. how crazy is that?? Will need to do some more research on the subject!

We then went to get special paint and stencil brushes to do the stencil in Izzy's room. D had the brilliant idea of making a stencil that reads Isabella Anna to put in the only section of the wall that we left white. So I spent all of last week trying to work out how to make the stencil. I have never made one so I researched it online and watched YouTube videos of how to make them! LOL In the end, the stencil came out pretty well and we could not wait to get started on it. D suggested we get special paint and brushes for it so after we got all the material together, Friday night D went up on that painful ladder again (I swear the man is a saint! I spent 10 minutes putting the light curtains up on that ladder and my feet hurt like hell today! He did all of the walls twice on it and never complaint!! How don't know how he did it!!) and the result is just amazing!! I also washed the curtains and put them back up and the whole room looks so so pretty.. it remined us of a peaceful cloud! We are so pleased with the overall look of the room so far and cannot wait to see it once the cot and the rest of the furniture (we still need to buy) arrives! Here is a picture of how the stencil came out and how it looks now the colour is dry and the curtains are up:

July 7, 2010

Retrain my brain

One thing that I have learnt so far in this pregnancy and by reading through some heartbreaking stories recently and some inspirational blog entries, is that I need to cherish and live every moment of this pregnancy because it's so precious and because you just never know...

I remember how scared I was of letting go and allow myself to think of how amazing this truly is. I remember the fear that something might happen and something might take it all away and by living in fear all I achieved was lack of enjoyment of the moment I was living. Well that is no longer me. I chose not to be afraid and scared of what might be because I just don't know what tomorrow will hold. All I know for sure is that right now my baby girl is kicking away at my bladder and moving around every so often to remind me that she is a miracle and she is alive. I chose not to worry about what future ultrasounds might show because right now there is really nothing to worry about. We went out and bought so many things that in 3 months time our baby girl will hopefully enjoy and use. I read baby care books because I believe that in approximately 95 days we will bring home our baby girl and I will be able to apply some of the things I have learned in the way we will bring her up

Thinking like that comes naturally because in the reality of the moment all is good and all is going as it should be. The part I chose to ignore and silence consists of the negative thoughts and the thoughts that come from having experience difficulty in getting to where we are now. What I do now is play off those feelings and thoughts to make my point even stronger. For example when the thought of how things could go wrong because of how hard it was to get here in the first place comes into my mind I think and cherish the fact that I am pregnant NOW despite all the tests and medical explanations as to why it might not happen. When I think that it might never happen again, I hug my belly and stroke it thinking how wonderful it is that I am experiencing this at all! I basically fight those feeling back with a baseball bat because they will not get in the way of me enjoying this amazing pregnancy I am living! It takes practice and I need to stick at it because it's easy to go back and allow those negative thoughts to sneak in but I am determined to try my best.

In a way I feel like I am retraining my brain. I remember when we first TTC we saw everything as a positive and as a new opportunity, we expected a positive result and were so oblivious of the journey we had just embarked on. Even during the first batch of tests when we found the first problems, we still managed to keep positive. It was later when everything looked bleak and IVF was mentioned that we started to think the millions of what ifs and we learnt pretty quickly to expect a negative result as the norm. Well now it's the time to change all that and go back to that first innocent state of mind because life is beautiful and the miracle that we both prayed so much for is growing within me... and that alone should be celebrated each day.

July 6, 2010


I have always been a dreamer and I remember all my dreams, good or bad. Since getting pregnant and especially in the last couple of weeks the dreams have become more intense and more vivid too

Last night's dream was the first of its kind as it was my first giving birth dream. I was in labour as I had contractions so I went to the hospital. Once I arrived (I was on my own) the nurse at the reception asked me how my first baby was doing and I looked at her not knowing what she meant. The other nurse next to her gave her a bad look and showed her something on my file. I asked them what they were talking about and the nice nurse said she was sorry for the other's nurse lack of sensitivity as she didn't know I gave birth to a still born baby in my previous pregnancy. The news shocked me and at the same time I seemed to have remember that it did happen. I started crying so much that I could not stand and I couldn't even feel any labour pain. They then took me to the L&D room where the doctor proceeded to break my water and give me a c-section and in no time Isabella was out and on my chest. She was such a big baby with beautiful green eyes like her daddy. I hugged her and kissed her and I never wanted to let her go. She was not crying but smiling at me with the cutest of smiles. They wrapped her up in paper towels as I had not bought her a blanket! (bad mommy!) After a while I was a allowed to leave and I left Izzy there as it was expected but later we came back with D and he cried so much when he saw her and he could not stop hugging her and kissing her all over.

That was traumatic and beautiful all at the same time and in way it makes me wonder how real labour will feel and be like for me. We live a good 30-45 minutes away from our hospital and D has been suggesting we get a cheap hotel room nearby for the last two weeks. I don't know if this is a good idea as I would rather be in our house with all the things I love than in a hotel room. He has a point in that if I go into labour when he is at work then there will be no one that can take me to the hospital and even friends that work nearby our house will take time in getting there and then take me to hospital. Then again I know that labour does not just come on one minute to the next and I know most women are in labour for a long time before they deliver so I am confident we will make it there in time.

The second dream I have had involved me being involved in saving Barack Obama's life. I know it sound completely loopy but here it goes. For some reason I had realised that this woman that lived next door to me was crazy and wanted to kidnap and kill the US president. So I intervened and fought with her and managed to keep her from doing any harm to the president, or so we thought until I saw that she had already the president in her basement. I was able to go see him and reassure him that help was on the way and that I would not let any harm come to him. I was even patting his head, it was hilarious! I went to my house and left him there knowing the secret service were going to go in any minute. The next morning I went by the house and was welcomed and hugged by Michelle Obama who kept on thanking me for saving her husband's life and the father of her girls! It was all so bizarre and it all felt real, I was a national hero!

July 4, 2010

Shopping weekend!!!

I said we were going to start shopping for Isabella and shop we did!!! Our bank account is crying but we are happy! We started shopping on Friday morning, and we never felt so excited about spending money! It was the first time that D bought anything for Izzy so he was on a roll and at one stage he said he needs to go shopping on his own one of these days as I was slowing his spending spree down! It's not my fault I am a slow shopper and think 100 times before buying.. it's in my genes!!

The first purchase was a bathtub and as my brother recommended we bought a sponge to go inside it so that Izzy rests on it and it'll be easier to wash her. We also got her this cute and soft changing pad for nappy changing purpuses! My brother has a similar one and it's so easy to carry around the house depending on where his girls are.

The second big buy was the bottles steriliser which I had researched and found that steam sterilisers are more reliable and better all around than all others kind. So we went for the Philips Avent electric steam steriliser. It fits up to 6 bottles and breast bumps accessories and the cleaning cycle takes only 8 minutes. Its design is also sleek and not too bulky which is important in our not so big kitchen and we don't need a bigger one as I plan to breastfeed until I can.

D also bought a thermometer to measure Izzy when she has a possible fever. He actually wanted to buy the whole first aid section of the shop! I told him I had not researched ear thermometers and he gave me a look that said: "have you lost your mind??!?" so I kept quiet. We also got some night lights with Winnie the Pooh on it and some flowers ones too.

We then moved to the next shop where we saw they had baby swimsuits on sale so we got Izzy her first and also a cute little outfit that we could not resist!

D also got me to look at maternity clothes that were also on sale and I got 2 dresses (one to show off my new cleavage!) and 1 trouser for work and 1 pair of shorts! D also saw a playmat we have been buying for all our friends' kids and he said that after we bought it for everyone it was time we got it for ourselves! It's Izzy first game and as it's coming from daddy, it's even more special! It's super colourful and has music and lots of other fun things for her to discover.

We also looked at all the cots we are currently considering. We have 3 running favourites but cannot make our minds up on which to get. They are all white but they are all different models and they are all beautiful in their own right, they all convert into junior beds for when Isabella is big enough. Here they are, if you like one of them over the other let me know.

Number one on the list is the Celine from Mamas & Papas .We love the design of this one but we are not convinced about the paint they used to make it look antique white:

Number two is Humphrey's Corner cot bed. They don't sell the model that is all white here in the Emirates but they sell one with a wooden tip. It still looks super cute but if it was Winnie the Pooh we would have bought it but as we don't know Humphrey's Corner much it feels strange to buy Izzy a bed with this theme on it.

The last choice is a very simple design cot/junior bed by Mamas and Papas called the Coastline. We like it cause it's simple and white and it ticks all the boxes we look for in terms of safety but it does not have that extra factor that make you go "wow".

You might think that our shopping was over but we were ready for more the next day! We went to a new shopping center in Dubai that has a lot of brands that are not generally sold in the UAE. Our first buy of the day was the baby monitor. I have been researching it for a while now and found that the Philips Avent digital ones are reliable and clear. I wanted to go for one model as I had researched it but the only they had was this one and after much internal debate we went for the one they had (after i got home I read up on it and the one we got is the latest model so was super happy with our choice! ) We tested it and it covers all of our house. From the parents' control you can talk to the baby, activate the lullabies options or even turn on the night light. It also shows the temperature in the baby's room and the humidity level. Super happy with it!
Then D literally dragged me into a maternity shop. I thought it was all going to be clothes but they had other stuff that was on my list including the breast pump I wanted, the Medela Swing and the portable changing pad from Skip Hop. D said I need some shopping training because I definitely don't know how to shop! My mom used to tell me the same thing and I have to admit to it.. I am not a good shopper!

We then went into Borders and I got the Dr. Spock's book I have been looking forward to reading and What to Expect in the First Year because I love this series. I also got some for the stencil project I have in mind for Izzy's room. (I'll write more about that another time). We then went into Pottery Barns for kids and they have such lovely and bright things for babies! We bought some bath towels, one that will make Izzy look like a little lamb and the other, D's pick, we are having personalised with Isabella written on the hood. We also got lots of fitted sheets for the cot (that we don't own yet!) and 2 cot skirts, just because they looked so cute!! We then saw this cute painting of a fairy and we bought loved it so much that we got it for her room.

That was the last shop we went into that day. We felt really good about all our purchases so far and we are looking forward to the next set... cannot wait! D has been sick with a bad cold and cough since Saturday....the price you pay for too much shopping! LOL

July 1, 2010

101 days to go

Today we have exactly 101 days to go till THE date, that is exactly 3 months and 9 days before the 10th of October! Given I haven't done one of those updates in a while I thought I'd write one today to mark the 101 days to go!

Weight gained so far: 13kg (27 pounds) I know it's a lot of weight and most people gain that in their entire pregnancy and I still have 3 months to go but I refuse to care. Isabella is doing good and she is just the right size, I passed the GTT and as I was underweight to begin with this is normal. My midwife still calls me tiny which is weird considering I have never been this big! I love it!

Stretch marks: none so far and considering the amount of weight I am piling on you'd think I'd be full by now. I think it's all down to my miracle Spoiled Mama cream!! LOL

Biggest change: Isabella's movement. Since last Friday she started moving around so much and I can feel her and see her whenever she moves from one side of my belly to the next. When D saw it for the first time last Friday he thought it was so freaky. All he could say was WOW in a very shocked tone of voice! He is now used to it but still loves feeling her move.

Major purchase for Isabella: still just clothes and the pram (that is still not here.. D rolls his eye every time someone mentions it.. all he says is: "with all the prams you can find we had to go buy one from New Zealand!!" I know, I know!) but we intend to rectify all of that this weekend!!! We are going furniture shopping, I got the list ready and I am already checking on the mattress

Nursery progress: lots of it! D applied the second "glossy" layer of paint last week and last night we literally spilled blood, sweat and tears over the plastic sheet in her room to get the masking tape off the ceiling and everywhere in the room. Blood and tears because we both cut ourselves, mine were two minor ones but D's one was a deeper cut and by the time I brought him tissues he had blood drops over the plastic sheet on the floor. Sweat because I am always hot and D felt the heat going up and down the ladder! All we can hope is that Isabella likes her room as much as we do because I cannot imagine painting it again soon!

Sleeping:I have weird dreams but that's nothing new, I have always had very vivid dreams. The strange thing is how D is also having crazy dreams that he remembers, sometimes I wake up to him laughing in his sleep. D has always been someone who could never remember his dreams and now every morning he tells me about his latest dream. Last night he said he dreamt he came home to find a jaguar outside our house and a tiger inside of it. I need to do some research and see if this is something common in pregnancy!

Cravings: nothing yet and I still like what I used to like and hate what I used to hate. We'll see if this changes later on

How is D doing: Feeling super proud of his work on the nursery and looking forward to starting the shopping spree! He still loves to kiss my belly and he tells Izzy how much he loves her which is just so cute. He does not sing or read to her because he does not feel comfy doing that yet, he says he'll wait till she is born to start! I bet she'll welcome the change from my tone deaf voice singing Twinkle Twinkle and You Are My Sunshine! He still has some moments when he looks at me and smiles from ear to ear and says "can you believe you are growing a baby in there? OUR baby?!?!?" When he says that his eyes twinkle and they me feel like goo. I love him so much!

Best moments: seeing her face in 4D was amazing because we are now able to put a face to our baby girl and what a beautiful, cute and adorable face! Also the fact that she moves so often is so reassuring especially the scare of last week

What am I looking forward to: getting her room ready in terms of wardrobe and decals, just walking in there and feeling like it's her room.

What I miss: perhaps the only thing I miss is our old sex life. We used to have an active(in every sense of the word- LOL) sex life and now due to the size of my belly we are limited but it makes for some interesting stories for us to laugh about in years to come!

Here is a picture of me at 4 weeks pregnant (the day of my second beta result!):

and here is me last week at 24 weeks and 4 days: