The Potholes Are Killing Me

Today is a pregnancy milestone: Instead of just having people look at me and wonder to themselves if I'm fat, pregnant, or just fluffy, the lady who weighs the veggies at the grocery store asked Henry, "Are you going to have a new brother or a new sister?"

Yay! That means I'm officially pregnant. Or at least look like it to the wider world.

I lost twenty pounds right before I became pregnant (I needed to lose 40 more, but...) and have only gained five back. I'm almost five months along and I've got a soccer ball belly now, so I'm happy to be be round for a good reason.

I have oodles to say about my Ukrainian prenatal care and about expecting a girl (it's oh-fee-shull, from the most recent ultrasound!), but this is a busy week and I can't seem to get ahead.

The main nitty-gritties of gestation this time around?

Little or no morning sickness, but hair falling out and more zits than I've had in my whole life.

I've always enjoyed the burst of energy and feel-good-ness that comes with second trimester, but it hasn't happened this time. I am bone tired. All. The. Time. I'm thinking anemia and I'm not looking forward to iron supplements.

I have a western-trained doctor with spikey orange hair. She's very competent and she speaks mostly English, but it's amusing how many wives tales and herbal remedies are thrown in as legitimate cures or preventative measures, even for things like "traveling by air."

Slavic culture loves suppositories and enemas. I'm not even joking. And I'm sorry, but the last thing I'm going to do while pregnant is put foreign herbal supplements in certain places.

I also go to a fun boutique maternity center for my appointments. It is for the wealthy elite of Kiev. Normal women go to the state hospitals or clinics. So, I'm a bit of an oddball there, not being a wealthy elite but not being a normal Ukrainian either. But I'm certainly glad for the technology and the cleanliness and general ethics of the place. I smile each time I go, though, because the doctor always pushes a different leaflet advertising one of the other services of the hospital: massage, yoga and how to find a nanny classes.

The class that they for sure tell me about every single time I go (in addition to the others) is the hair and make-up for mothers-to-be. Should I be offended? I think they are sad that I don't wear stilettos or make sufficient use of peroxide. I'm totally letting myself go.

Overall, the clinic is great. I have a friend and several acquaintances who have recently given birth there. However, the medical officer at the Embassy highly recommends delivering in a more medically prepared place, particularly because if there was any need for special care, namely for the baby, the clinic would send us to a state (read: Soviet) hospital. While I don't anticipate anything like that, the state hospitals scare the pee out of me, and that's about the last place I'd want to care for my teeny newby.

So, we're spending the summer in London! I'm required by the airlines to fly no later than six weeks before my due date, so at the end of June, we're going. David will be able to fly there with me and the boys, but he will have to come back to Ukraine to work until the baby is born.

We chose London, though, so he can possibly travel for a long weekend or two sometime in between more easily than going all the way back to the States (3 hour flight versus 14+ hours). Plus, the boys will likely start school again before the baby and I are medically and legally cleared to come back to Ukraine, and I could not get my head around my other babies being in a different hemisphere from me at the end of August.

One other thing that I like about London is that they are reportedly less "interventionist" than Northern Virginia when it comes to giving birth. I'm not a big fan of inductions or epidurals, having had some scarey experiences with both, so I will be happy if things are able to take a more natural course.

So that's the next adventure.

In the meantime, I'm having fun telling people that this is my (gasp!) fourth child. Under age 7! That really gets a shock response. Most families here wait until their first is at least seven before they have a second, if they have a second.

I've started perusing softy pinky pretty things online for our "sister baby." Drool all over the place. This could get expensive, couldn't it?

I'm also enjoying groaning for most of every car ride in which I sit in the passenger seat. The potholes are frequent and treacherous, and no one feels them like a pregnant lady in the passenger seat. Trust me.


Jenny P. said...

So thrilled that it's a girl. And still amazed at the process that you must go through to bring a baby in to the world living so very far away from all things familiar. It makes me want to meet you and give you a hug... because you are so tough and so much braver than I am. :)

Four under seven is impressive even if you don't live in the Ukraine. I had four six and under... but I cheated and had twins so... it doesn't really count. My sister, on the other hand is expecting number four and she will have 4, 4 and under. Yeah. I don't envy her at all. (she had twins too... so again, cheating, but still.)

Janelle said...

Well, that was a packed post! I admire you for having a baby with all of the crazy stuff you'll need to do--go to London, be without your husband in the evenings, that kind of stuff! You are indeed a strong woman (or crazy?).

I'm with you on loving the "shock and awe." When we had our 4th our oldest was 5, so we got it too. We continue on with saying, "They're all boys."

I wish you few potholes, rest, and lots of brotherly love at your house!

Gabriela said...

Wow-London. So your little girl will be a British citizen?

I guess we are slackers-we had 4 in 9 years. :) We would have had Pedro sooner but the medical care in Small Town, Mex. was absolutely awful.

But his birth in Mexico City was the best of the 4 that I had, care wise. I know just what you mean about being out of place amongst the elite locals.

Such an adventure...

Real said...

If I had to pick a country to give birth in, England would be #1 or #2on the list! Seriously awesome--midwife driven maternity care! I'm kind of jealous. Maybe I can get pregnant again and go to London!

Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

When my youngest was about 6 months pregnant, my MIL told her "Your really starting to look pregnant now" She replied tersly "Thanks Grandma, What did I look before, just fat?"
Open mouth, insert foot. I have learned too well to NEVER comment on the size of a pregnant lady. Just tell her she looks radiant, and leave it at that.

P.S. I nearly fell off the chair in laughter when I scrolled down to type in the word verification. This is the truth with my hand raised, the word was: pigit.

Z. Marie said...

My ob/gyn raves about all things related to medical care in Britain. Of course, she went to medical school there (as did most of the ob/gyns here in Trinidad).

The Amazing Trips said...

I am so happy for you and CYD and all of the CYC (code yellow children).

So, I'm guessing she will be "Baby Jane Code Yellow." And what a lucky baby girl she will be, with three doting big brothers!!! :)

TulipGirl said...

*grin* How fun!

My youngest was a year when we moved to Kyiv, and so our boys were 1, 2, 4 and 5. I loved how the babushki on the streets would call me a "Hero of the Motherland" when they saw all those kids. But it was weird at times, too -- I mean, obviously I was a "rich American" since I could "afford" all those kids. (When anyone in the States who saw our salary would have laughed!)

Sounds like you have a good plan. . . You might also like "meeting" online a friend of mine in Kyiv who is a doula / maternal health advocate:

NOBODY said...

Yes. A girl is the worst thing that can happen to your budget.

And also, suppositories kind of get a bum rap--they aren't that bad.

HAHAHA. I'm so funny.