Monday, March 30, 2009

A day of firsts (not to be the last)

Today Isaak had his first bottle of breast milk. I was able to pump about 2 oz last night and Kevin gave it to Isaak this morning as a trial run. It went well (or at least that is what Kevin says, as I slept through it!). Turns out 2 oz is not enough for one feeding, we need more like 4 oz, which makes sense, he has been draining both boobs during most feedings which must be getting him about 4 oz, maybe a little more. What was even better was that he didn't seem to have any "nipple confusion" when I fed him a few hours later... This means Kevin may be able to take more of the middle of the night feedings and we may even be able to get away for a "date night". First, I need to figure out how to get more milk pumped while still satisfying Isaak's will just be a timing thing.

The other first for the day was me riding my bike for the first time in about 4 weeks! It didn't hurt, which means my stitiches must almost be for the knots to finally dissolve!

The weather was finally nice enough that I felt that I could put my "Oregon" sticker on my bike bags, and not have it wash away in the rain. Sara S gave me this as a gift before we left and I have been wanting to get it on my bike ever since! I am sure Kevin will make fun of me for putting stickers on my bike, he will probably relate it to putting stickers on a car - which he says there is an age limit too. Oh well!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The last week went really well. Isaak is awake for longer periods during the day. He is also growing like a weed. I am suprised at the the clothes he no longer fits into. It is typically his legs and feet and arms that out grow the clothes. Isaak is also starting to look less like a newborn.

Here is a picture from Saturday morning when Isaak and I slept until 12 (in 2 - 3 hour spurts).


Kevin has a long term sub position in Den Hague (The Hague). It takes him about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get there and he has to be there on Wednesdays & Fridays. The position is covering for maternity leave and will go until July 10th. He is up to 5 tutoring students during the week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evenings). Kevin recently received an offer to teach 50% (which is what he wants) in Hilversum at the International School there, for next year. He is waiting to accept until after his interview with another International School here in Amsterdam. If he were to take the Hilversum position it would be 3 days a week and his commute would be the same as mine, an hour door to door. With the school here in town he would have 10 minute walk for his commute. Needless to say he would much rather have the 1o minute walk.

I will go back to work at the begining of June. I am planning on taking Fridays off until at least July 10th and work from home on Wednesdays (Kevin only teaches part time on Wednesdays). This should get us to August when Isaak will go to day care 3 days a week.

Isaak's passport has already arrived. The consulate called Kevin on Thursday (1 week after we applied). We didn't expect it for another week. Kevin will go and pick it up on Monday and then go to the Town Hall to finish his registration. At that point we can also start his residency paperwork with the Immigration office.

I have been trying to get out every day. Sometimes it is only to the store and to take the dogs for a walk, sometimes we actually make it to the park. It really depends on the weather and whether my desire for a nap wins out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Week 2

Monday was our last day of having a Kraamzorg. Isaak got another bath and then Esther cleaned the apartment. She left early as it was pretty obvious that we were ok with out her.

Kevin had an interview in Hilversum at the International School of Hilversum. He was practically offered a part time teaching position for next year. The director told him she could make a schedule to fit his needs and potentially sweeten the deal with a Theory of Knowledge class (the class he has always wanted to teach). This is great news for next year!

I ventured out to the local Hema in search of a couple of more nursing bras. I didn't have any luck. I dug through all of their nursing bras (with Isaak on my chest) and they didn't have a single one in my size. Erghhh. I sent Courtenay a text and she graciously stopped at Prenatal on her way home and picked me up 2. Thank goodness! Otherwise I was looking at having to do laundry every day!

Isaak all bundled up for our walk to Hema.

My laptop crapped out over the weekend. Don't worry, I haven't been working! I use it to surf from the couch :) Kristen stopped by today to pick it up and take it in to the HelpDesk for me. She got a few minutes in of holding Isaak.

A woman stopped by from the "baby clinic" for our intake. In the Netherlands all of the wellness/vaccines/check ups are done through a baby clinic. Illnesses are treated by our "house" doctor. The intake woman came to get more information from us and set up the first appointment. After she left Kevin and I headed out for a walk. We took the dogs and walked to Vondelpark. It is about 3/4 of a mile to the park and then we think we walked at least a 1/2 mile around the smaller loop before heading home for 2 miles total. It was a beautiful day and Isaak slept through the entire walk.

Isaak cooperated beautifully. He woke up around 7:50, I fed him and then jumped in the shower. Our appointment at the consulate was for 10am. I have been worried about this all week, I knew I was probably going to have to feed him while we were there and was a little unsure of how to maintain my modesty - or at least the idea of it. (I am torn on this whole modesty thing. Part of me says - screw it...if someone wants to look at my big a** boob while I feed Isaak, have at it. But then the other part of me doesn't.) Turns out that with a little help from Kevin my Minky nursing cover worked well.  Turns out we were only 15 minutes late, we had to wait for 10 min for the tram, I think 15 min is doing pretty damn good for having a newborn! Once in side we were afraid that we would not be able to get what we needed done today as we hadn't pre-filled out the forms and Kevin didn't think he brought our marriage certificate (why there was a need for this, I don't know).  Turns out we had the certificate and we quickly filled out the forms. It was weird filling out official forms for someone other then myself. I had to keep remembering that when they asked for "Name" or "Birthdate", they wanted Isaak's - not mine.

We got Isaak's passport photos there (not perfect - but then in a year it won't matter anyway). Kevin and I had to swear that the paperwork was accurate and that was it. Isaak's passport will be ready in 2 weeks and his social security card will come later. Once we have his passport Kevin will go back to the Townhall to complete his registration. He went last week to register him but they wouldn't accept that he was a US citizen... something about proof that either Kevin or I had ever been in the US (because it isn't like we haven't proven that to them 15 times in the last 6 months).  So...Isaak is currently with out country. Once the US passport is here we can also start the process of getting him his dutch residency. The consulate took about an 90 minutes. We had a little problem with the tram on the way home. We didn't get to the stroller door fast enough. Once the doors start to close they will not reopen --- no matter how many times you push the button. So we caught a different tram and had a nice little walk home.

Once home I fed Isaak and then all 3 of us took a nap. Kevin then headed to tutor and Isaak and I went grocery shopping. I bought a little wheeled cart to bring the groceries home in. Kevin teases me that I could now go collect cans. I don't care --- I feel too much like a mule with Isaak on my chest and a grocery bag over each shoulder.

While I waited for Isaak to wake up from yet another nap I was able to fold laundry and make the potato part of Stamppot. Stampot is a dutch comfort food. It has mashed potatos with either carrots, onions, kale, or other root vegtables. You then serve it with smoked sausage, meatballs or bacon (or all of the above). Kevin made the meatballs while I fed Isaak. The stamppot turned out well!

Jay was in town for work and stopped by this evening. It was really great to see him. 

After Jay left Isaak ate off and on until 10:30 when he finally slipped back into the eat sleep rhythm.

I have been able to consistently get 2 - 3 hours a sleep at a time, starting at 1am and going until 8 or 9. I am actually very happy with this!

I gave Isaak a bath, my first solo attempt. It went well. We only used 1 towel...a first. The last 2 baths required 2 towels as Isaak seems to have the perfect timing to let it fly once bundled in a towel and on the way to the bath.

Diane & Alexander stopped by to see the little guy. We have had a lot of visitors this week, about 1 a day. I didn't get a walk in today, instead I took a nap. It was beautiful out and I wish the timing had been such that I could have gotten out.

Kevin had an interview with the International School of The Hague today, for a long term sub assignment. He came home with the job. It is about an 1 hour and 50 minute commute for him. An hour on the train and then a 50 min tram ride. Yuck. He will work Wednesdays and Fridays. They gave him a contract (rather then regular daily subbing) so they will reimburse him for the train tickets, pay him through July and tack on extra periods to get him more time there. This is great news! He is also up to 5 tutoring clients from the International School of Amsterdam. He really likes tutoring, he gets to teach and see them learn with out having to do any of the grading.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Isaak's First Week

My midwife, Marike. She was amazing and I trusted her completely. Note the time on the picture. Isaak was born at 4:29 pm, not 5.

Kevin has had this smile on his face ever since.

Monday night was amazingly easy. Isaak woke every 3 hours and would eat for a few minutes and then go back to sleep. I had to force myself to turn out the light and go back to sleep.
A picture of Isaak at 7 hours old.

Tuesday morning Kevin called the Kraamzorgs to tell them that Isaak had been born and we were ready for them. Charlotte showed up at 11:30. She was act
ually a midwife student from Belgium who was studying with the GeboorteCentrum and doing a short stint as a Kraamzorg. She helped us get settled in our first day. 

One of my midwives (there are 5 in the group) stopped by to check on us. 

Tuesday night was a tough night. Isaak slept and ate well all day, right up until 11pm. Starting at 11 he was awake every 30 minutes, for about 5 minutes. He would nurse for a few minutes and then fall a sleep. This night was hell. Kevin had came down with a cold (and was doped up on Nyquil) so I was the one who was up --- that I am the one with replenishing pacifiers.

I was never so happy as to see the Kraamzorg at 9am. Her name was Esther and she immediately told me how to prevent the night from hell. I needed to keep him awake while he was nursing. He was falling a sleep after only getting a little milk and then waking up hungry 30 min later. She also taught me a new way to hold him while nursing. Up until now all I really knew (and he was up for) was to laying down. I was exhausted all day Wednesday as I had only gotten about 2 hours a sleep the night before. I tried to nap during the day (while Esther cleaned the apartment ---- vacuuming, the bathroom/shower/toilet, kitchen, laundry, etc). I just couldn't fall a sleep. 

Courtenay & Brian came up around 8pm and we hung out for a couple of hours. They took turns holding Isaak in his "milk drunk" state.

Wednesday night was an improvement on Tuesday, however it was still pretty tough. My milk had come in so it would take an hour of Isaak and I fighting to get him to latch on. Once he was able to start drinking then he would drink for 20 minutes and then sleep for 3 hours. The hour of fighting was really hard. We were trying everything we knew but it wasn't very much and it wasn't working. I was also starting to come down with Kevin's cold. 

Thursday morning Esther showed up right after I had finally gotten Isaak to start to nurse, 
at 9am. She asked how the night went and I told her about our struggles. She said it was because of my engorged breasts (man oh man did they hurt!). She asked if I knew someone who had a pump...that was music to my ears enormous as I had one in Isaak's room. Once he had gotten his fill I released a little pressure from my boob --- what a relief! Thursday flew by. Another midwife (Bea) stopped by to check on us. Esther saw a bottle of Ibuprofen by the bed, she got concerned that I was taking them. Here in the Netherlands they only want you to take Paraceptmol/Tylenol while breastfeeding. Kevin and I had already confirmed that Ibuprofen was ok in the US ----so I was self medicating. My stitches needed something stronger then Tylenol. I told her the Ibuprofen was Kevin's... Thursday night was much better. We did have one feeding that was a little rough but all in all not bad. I still wasn't really able to sleep during
 the day.

Friday morning we had a new Kraamzorg, Balkije. She was here for 8 hours on Friday. She cleaned the entire apartment. We really did get spoiled. Having the place picked up and clean makes me more relaxed, particulary when I am up in the middle of the night with Isaak. I don't sit there wishing the apartment was clean. Courtenay and Brian brought us dinner. Courtenay made lasagna. Lori came too. She brought the dessert. It was all very delicious. I got to have my first guilt free glass of wine in 9 months! Friday night was good. It really felt like Isaak and I were figuring out our little routine.

Some of our friends got together and have arranged to bring us dinner once a week. Kristen stopped by around 8:30 to meet Isaak and drop off dinner. Balkije showed up a few minutes later and then Marike (the midwife who delivered Isaak) stopped by. We had a full house for a while. It was great to see Kristen (even though I hadn't showered and had terrible morning breath!) It was also great to see Marike again. We talked about the delivery and what we thought of it (both the good things and bad things). She weighed Isaak - who was back to his
 birth weight. We showed her the pictures that our nurse had taken during the delivery. She wants copies of some of them as they really showed everything. She said that since I was easily coachable and relaxed (after she showed up and took over) that we had the opportunity to get such great photos. She mentioned that sometimes the parents are so upset or distraught that it doesn't always work that way. I think we gave Kristen a little bit of mental birth control, as she wasn't expecting such vivid pictures of a birth! Don't worry, these pics are not posted on Flickr but safely locked away on our computer. There is a short little video of one of the contractions in which I am pushing. I haven't watched it yet.
The sun was out in the morning so Kevin and I wanted to take Isaak out for a walk. I wa
s getting pretty mobile and definitely a little stir crazy as I hadn't been out of the apartment since coming home from the hospital. We bundled Isaak up in the Ergo and walked to the canal and back. It was short but nice. The crocus are blooming and they are beautiful.

Balkije went to the store for us...we forgot to have her get diapers and since everything is closed on Sunday we had Brian pick us up some when he went. Have I said how great our friends are? 
Kristen's baked ziti was delicous and I actually slept for 7 hours that night. Not in one shot, but in a 2 - 3 - 2 hour interval. It felt so good! After the 7am feeding I put Isaak in his room (we have had him in a "bassinet" in our room between about 10pm and 6:30am) where the sun was shining through the windows and I went back to bed - with the black out curtains. My cold was starting to get better and I was able to actually fall a sleep when I laid down. Heaven!

Sunday we were on our own until about 2 pm. We had a nice relaxing morning. When Balkije showed up there wasn't much for her to do. We gave Isaak his first bath. He slept through the whole thing.

We bundled Isaak up in his fuzzy bear sleeper (thanks Dad!) and put him in his stroller (another first) and took him for a walk in Beatrix park.

Just outside our apartment we ran into Caroline and Andreas (our downstairs neighbors). They were out with their 1.5 yr old daughter Alissa - trying to get her to sleep. Caroline is also due in April. They joined us on our walk. 
Sunday night, both Isaak and I slept well again. His long sleep started at 4:30 and went until 10. I slept until 9. Heaven!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Added Photos

I uploaded the photos from Monday & Tuesday. There are more on Kevin's iPhone, I will load those later.

We are all doing well. Having the maternity nurse is very helpful! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our Son has arrived - Isaak Honn Tastet

Our son was born yesterday, March 9th. He is 7.9 lbs (3.6 kg) and 19+inches (50+cm). The length is approximate, we think he is taller but he hasn't been measured yet. They don't measure newborns in the Netherlands. Something about not wanting to uncurl them until they are ready. He is quite long, long fingers, long feet, long legs, long torso. I don't know how he fit!

He is perfect in every way. We are both in awe that we are now parents and have such a beautiful son.

Below is the details of the birth...

I experienced light contractions on Saturday and again on Sunday. My aunt (via Skype) kep telling me to call the mid-wife. I couldn't really believe that the PMS-like cramps were really my contractions. I called her Sunday evening around 7. She was delivering a baby and said she would call me back later to check on me. I called her again at 11, when I hadn't heard from her yet and wanted to go to bed. She was delivering yet another baby and had to be thinking I wish this crazy/not yet in labor woman would stop calling me. She told me to try to sleep if I thought I could. Turns out I could. They woke me up at 5 am, I had to "breathe" through them. I thought that was a load of crap until I actually had to do it. And it worked. Monday morning they really started in earnest at 5am. I called the midwife around 6:30am. Kevin made a run to the French bakery (less then a block away) so that I could carb load. Nothing like fresh croissants and madelines to provide a little pre-baby sustenance. She came around 9 am, she checked to see how far I had dilated - 2cm. Up until this point Kevin and I had been playing scrabble. Yes, scrabble. We had to do something to pass the we were going to go crazy with contractions coming every 5 minutes. Picture this. Me sitting on a bouncy/work out ball. Eyes closed tight trying to tell kevin where to put my tiles and what my word was, mid contraction. She came back around 1 and I had progressed to 4cm. This time she found me humped up on the ball watching "Star Trek, the next generation" while Kevin napped. Up to this point I had been managing the contractions really well. Breathing through them and hugging the "ball". Of course as soon as she got here my contractions went all wacky. No longer consistent in time, duration or strength. F**king stage fright. Great. She said it always happens that way.

She was afraid that my labor might be long and she didn't want me to get too tired so we decided to break my water at 2pm. Once she broke my water my contractions got MUCH stronger and faster, and started to really hit me in my hips. No more stage fright. Holy shit did they hurt. She broke my water on the bed. (kevin's side...gotta love that!) I had a contraction immediately after. I was able to sit up and then thought I was going to puke. Kevin went searching for a bucket. Marijke quickly dumped out the absorbant packing filled tub and put it in front of me. 30 sec later I was fine...and hadn't puked. I had another contraction between standing up and making it to the other side of the bed. Then another when I got to the hallway. MUCH FASTER and HARDER. We decided that Kevin and I would head to the hospital and she would meet us there in about 30 min. Kevin called a cab while I screamed bloody murder in the stairwell. My breathing was totally shot and now I was just trying to survive. I kept thinking that our neighbors could hear me. Hell, probably the whole street. The cab took forever to arrive. I was ready to hijack a car. I was panicking and did not want to do this with out my midwife or in a stairwell.

Man did it feel like the cab took a long time to get here. At this point I was not managing the pain very well and really wishing for morphine. I think I scared the crap out of the cab driver - I am sure he didn't expect to pick up a woman in the throes of labor. It took about 10 min to get to the hospital.

Once at the hospital we took the elevator to he main floor, of course I had a contraction in the elevator - more screaming and scaring of the people in the elevator. I tried to waddle after Kevin to the front desk. Contraction at the desk. I could barely stand at this point. Kevin asked how to get to the birth center and we took another elevator to the 2nd floor. More contractions, more screaming. They were really starting to come very quickly. As we left the elevator I made it about 2 steps before another contraction hit and I couldn't walk any more. Thankfully a OB/GYN who was leaving for the day walked by and figured out that I needed a wheelchair. She then wheeled me in to our room. I think I had another contraction when either the midwife called or we called her. She said she would be there in 15 min. That was the longest 15 min of my life.

Our nurse didn't speak any English and been told that I was 4cm when Marike (our midwife) called to say we were coming. I am sure she thought "Wimpy American, 4cm and screaming bloody murder - this is going to be long day". Kevin kept asking for pain relief for me but it didn't translate. I got into the shower and Kevin ran water on my back while the screaming got worse. I remember saying "I don't want to do this anymore".

Marike showed up and immediately took over. She was awesome. She got me to stop screaming and start breathing - which really helped. I was in panic mode before. She got me out of the shower to check to see how far I had dilated. I was up to 9.5 cm. Yes, 4 - 9.5 in about 45 min. No wonder it hurt so damn bad.

At some point the nurses switched shifts. Our new nurse was a dream. I am so happy to have had her.

It wasn't very long (only a couple of more contractions) before she had me on the "stool" and start pushing. It was only a few more contractions before I felt like his head was right there. Wouldn't you know, it was. She kept saying she could see his head but I didn't believe her. I figured it was just her trying to encourage me. She got us a mirror so we could watch. During all of my contractions Kevin was either my back support or putting pressure on my hips - I couldn't have done it with out him. Between contractions he leaned back to take off his sweatshirt. I thought I was going to fall apart before he was ready to hold me again. I don't really remember this. I pushed for all of 25 minutes. I remember saying "OWWW, It hurts" at one point. We figure this was when I tore. It burned....I have since read the analogy of "burning ring of fire". Exactly.

I was amazed to be able to see Isaak's hair. Seeing just how close I we were was really encouraging. It was only a few more contractions before we were to the last one when Marike stopped to coached me. She told me I had to stop pushing when she told me to and then I would be able to push again when she said it was ok. One last big push and it was all over. Kevin says that during the next contraction, when I stopped pushing, Marijke had unwrapped the cord. After his head was out I could feel his shoulders slip through me and then his legs. An awesome feeling. I remember looking down at him, laying on a cushion on the floor under me, thinking "SCREAM, Damn it". It felt like forever before he cried. It was probably only 2 seconds. They handed me Issak and got me up into the bed. As soon as I had him in my arms I couldn't believe how long he was, and that he actually fit. I tore pretty badly and that was the only thing that hurt. It helped to have Isaak, but only a little. I asked for something for the pain and they gave me 2 paraceptomal - TYLENOL. Yes, 2 tylenol. I was thinking, you have got to be kidding. They didn't want to give me anything else because I planned to breastfeed. For an instant I seriously thought about blowing off the whole breastfeeding thing for some pain relief.

Once the cord stopped pulsing Kevin got to cut it. Very cool.

Because of the size of the tear (From what I have since read it would be a 4th degree tear in the US...meaning from one end to the other). Marike couldn't sew it so I had to wait for a OB/GYN to come and look - they needed to check to see if they were going to have to put me under a general. Luckily that wasn't necessary. They wheeled me to another room (around 7pm) and we waited for the OB/GYN to come back (took forever). In the meantime Marike got me some juice and Kevin and I couldn't take our eyes off of Issak. The OB/GYN finally came back but then left again to go find my midwife, who had since left...she had delivered 7 babies in 24 hours and was handing the shift over to the next one in the group). It took what seemed like forever for him to come back again and give me some a local to numb things up before he started stitching. He either didn't give me enough, put it in enough places or wait long enough because I felt some of those stitches. Had I had the strength I think I would have kicked him in the face. He was not gentle with either his inspections or sewing. I was not happy. He kept telling me to relax, yea right.

They wheeled (when I say wheeled, I mean in a wooden seat wheel chair, which is the same way I got to the room. Yes. I had just given birth, torn to high heaven and put in a wooden wheel chair. Come on! )us back to our room and our nurse started bringing us food, juice, and tea. We got Isaak to breast feed some more and Kevin and I ate and tried to pull ourselves together. Around 8 we tried to get me up and in the shower. I nearly passed out on the toilet so we decided to try again in an hour after more food/broth and juice. I had lost about 700 mil of blood - almost 2 pints. Around 9:30 I finally made it into the shower - I was amazed at how good it felt! I really just sat in a plastic chair and hosed myself off.

While I dried off, Kevin packed up our stuff and we started the process of checking out. There wasn't much too it. The nurse (I really can't remember her name, probably because it was told to me during a contraction) wheeled me down stairs where we picked up my prescription unfortunately it wasn't for pain relief but stool softener (TMI I know). She called us a cab and then got us downstairs to where the cab would pick us up. She helped us in to the car and helped Kevin buckle Isaak in. The ride home was much better then the ride to the hospital.
Getting from the cab to the apartment was a slow/hobble/walk. I got Isaak out of the car while Kevin got our stuff. I made it to the downstairs door before I told Kevin I would wait at the bottom while he shuttled stuff. I was walking very slowly. The local had worn off long ago and they were only giving me 2 REGULAR strength tylenol every 6 hours. I couldn't wait to self medicate with something stronger. At least Advil.

Once home we got a hold of a couple family members on Skype. We were in bliss. We finally headed to bed around 12 after changing his diaper.

Just to add a little more excitement to our days, Kevin has a cold. Poor guy. It started Sunday and has become the full stuffy nose/sore throat.

You can see the photos in our Flickr Web Album. We will upate this link with photos on an ongoing basis - so check back! We have some very graphic birth photos that the nurse took. These will not be posted on the web but are available if you are interested. Let's face it. Childbirth eliminates all modesty. If there is any modesty left, nursing kicks it out the door.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Rare Sunny Day

Today the sun was out and we decided to go for a walk in the Jordaan neighborhood.  We took the dogs too. 

The skinniest house in Amsterdam.

Kevin and Duke on the Singelgracht.

Notice the forward and sideways lean in the maroon house.
At the very back of the picture is the gate that is used to flush and control the level of water in the canals.

The Herengracht canal.
Leliegracht canal
The other side of the Leliegracht.
The Keizergracht and the Westerkerk church in the background.
The Keizergracht canal.
The Prinsengracht Canal.
Me picking up after Maggie, something uncommon for other dog owners in this city.
A "Pisser", yes that is what it is called.
Notice the mirror, allows the resident to see who is at the door with out having to go down the "deadly dutch" stairs.

This door leads to a little garden.
The garden.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Room

Below are pictures of our son's room. Kevin's dad made the crib and Janet made the crib set. Now all it needs is a baby.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

My Very Exciting Afternoon

Below is a pic of how I have spent the last couple of afternoons. Yesterday I started and finished  Jodi Picoult book "The Tenth Circle". Today I started Anita Shreve's "A Wedding in December". I will probably finish it tonight as I am now half way through it and Kevin is out for the evening.

Needless to say it has been a relaxing couple of days/weeks.

Below is a picture of how the dogs spent the afternoon. 
Maggie caught a mouse on Tuesday night and was close to catching another last night. I don't think she slept at all last night. We really don't live in a pigsty (re: the mice). They are in the walls and seem to go between our apartment and our neighbors. I have glue traps for them (regular traps are a joke with the little bastards) and I have baited them with peanut butter...but the mice don't seem to like that. They really only seem to come out in the middle of the night. We are going to start sleeping with our bedroom door open so Maggie can do some serious hunting.

Yes, I am still pregnant. No sign of that changing anytime soon. My due date is less then 5 days away too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Post Pregnancy Preparations

For the last several months I have been using asthma medicine that is barely keeping my asthma under control. In the US I was using Advair and rarely had to use my fast acting inhaler (maybe once a month if I forgot to take the Advair in the morning). Advair is made of two drugs, one of which is not good for pregnancies - more specifically the baby. Here in Europe Advair has a different name, Seretide. I have been looking forward to being able to go back to this medication as soon as our son is born.

I went to my doctor today to get the prescription now so that I wouldn't have to deal with it in the couple of weeks after he is born. Turns out that one of the drugs in Advair/Seretide shouldn't be used for breastfeeding. He was able to supplement my current preventative inhaler with another (the 1 of 2 drugs in Advair that I can take during breast feeding) and give me more fast acting enhalers. I have been having to use them about 4 times a day, this is much better then the 8-10 I was using without a preventative medicine.


On a good note, while I was at the doctor I wanted to discuss birth control options and if I was going to use the pill again get the prescription now. Thinking it would be one less thing to deal with after. He asked me about the Mirena IUD and if I would be interested in that. It hadn't even occurred to me that I may be able to get the Mirena here. I used this in the US and loved it! Well....I loved the second one. The first one I had ended up turning sideways and was headed out a fallopian tube within 3 months of getting it. The 2nd one lasted for 2 years and I have never been so happy with a birth control method. I never had any problems with the type of pill I was taking and I used that for almost 10 years.

A couple of strange things to note...for things like the Mirena and Kevin's Hep A booster, the doctor gave us prescriptions. We then had to go to the pharmacy where they gave me the Mirena (yes I have the actual IUD in my closet right now) and Kevin's Hep A booster. Kevin will go into the doctor today to have them give him the shot. 6 weeks after the birth I will take the Mirena to a gynecologist. It is weird to have it in my hands, in the US the doctor had it.

This might be to much information for some of apologies.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Week 39 - The Final Countdown

These are the latest pics of my ever-expanding belly. My friend Courtenay thinks it has dropped. I hope so, although I can't tell from one day to the next.

We had a great party last night, Kevin has been referring to it as the funeral of the life we once knew. It will all change very soon. We have some great friends here!

No contractions yet, we expect him to be fashionably late - just like his parents. His room is officially done. Well...except for the trash can we still need to get. The bag is packed and we think we know how to use the carseat.

Saturday morning we had the "intake" session with the Kramzorg group. It felt a little like an inspection. This is the set of Maternity Nurses/Assistants that will come for the first week and help us figure out what we are supposed to do. She will come the first day we are home and the for the next 7 days. She will be here for 5-6 hours a day, starting a 9am. She will cook breakfast, grocery shop, cook lunch, light cleaning, laundry, help with the breast feeding, and general baby care. The Netherlands is the only country in the world that provides this service. Amazing.

Kevin and I were able to pick up both of our residence cards. FINALLY. I guess mine has been ready for a while but never received the letter. When Kevin went to get his on Wednesday he asked if mine was ready too. Now we are just waiting on Kevin's drivers license. Oh, and we get to start all over once our son is born. Within 2 days of his birth Kevin will go to the Town Hall to register him (he and I can stay home), this kicks off the dutch paperwork cycle for his SoFi (tax number) and residency. Within the first couple of weeks all three of will have to go to the US Consulate/Embassy and get the paperwork started for his Social Security Card and Passport. We have been told it is easier if both parents go.

The following is a picture of the city cleaning up "abandoned" bikes. One morning last week we were in the living room and heard a grinder running in the street. When we got to the window we saw two "trucks" and 6 men quickly cutting the chains on some less then desirable bikes and quickly tossing them in the back of the trucks. They were city employees taking bikes that had previously been tagged. They had come through last week and tagged several bikes that didn't look rideable. You then have a week to remove the tag before they come back with a HUGE grinder and take the bike. Kevin was afraid they were going to take his "stolen" bike (remember when his was stolen last month and the thief left him a really crappy one? Well he has slowly been improving it.) He frequently swaps the pedals from it on to his US road bike, he was afraid that because it had no pedals - and looks pretty terrible - that they might take it. He ran down and brought it inside.