Wednesday, 28 January 2015

20 Weeks Pregnant

It's good to be back home! I had a great time in the States visiting family and doing my research trip, but 5 weeks is a long time to be away from home. I got back last Thursday--it was so lovely to see the snow-covered fields around the airport, with real Yorkshire sheep in them. Sometimes when you're traveling, every place just blends together in a blur of airports and freeways, but the fields around Leeds-Bradford Airport give me the same feeling I always had seeing Puget Sound from the air when landing at Sea-Tac--you know you're home when you see the dry stone walls and sheep!

We've been busy since I got back--on Friday I worked a shift at the international office, then on Saturday we visited Richard's dad, on Sunday we were back at church for the first time since before Christmas, and this week I'm organizing my research images and working on my book revisions. I've got an article due on 1 March, too, so I want to get as much done as possible while I'm still feeling good. Even though my book writing deadline is technically June, I'm not going to assume that I'll feel great in May, either!

Everything's going well with Baby Bettie--I felt a lot of movement on the road trip, but I haven't been feeling movements regularly yet. I'm recovering from my naughty food habits in the States now, eating porridge oats with fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, fruit and nuts for snacks and healthy dinner. Tonight we're having fish pie, which was listed in the NHS' "Start4Life" booklet as a good source of lean protein and calcium. I've gotten back to exercising every day now, too, and I'm feeling much better.

Next Monday is our 20-week anomaly scan. I hate it when people call it the "gender scan"--that's not what it's for, it's for identifying anomalies, and besides, it's "sex", not "gender"! We're really hoping that we don't accidentally see anything that would give it away at the scan. We genuinely want both a boy and a girl, we love both names we've picked and we're excited about the prospect of either one. Some women argue that knowing the sex helped them bond with the baby, because they could use "he" or "she" and the baby's name, and they could picture it better. I feel bonded already, and I use both names--actually I've been using both names since before I got pregnant, when I prayed for the baby. I also don't think that knowing the sex helps to picture the baby--all newborns look the same, like disgruntled little old men! Some people say that it's a surprise whether you find out at 20-weeks or at birth, but I still think having that surprise to look forward to might help get me through the last month or so of being uncomfortable. With the second kid, we might change our minds--we may want to know that time just to see if we're having another of the same sex or one of each, but we'll see.

Will update with scan pictures next Monday!

Baby Bettie's Shower

 The day before I went home, Kelly & Mom threw me a surprise baby shower!
 My Seattle/Everett friends even sent presents--it was such a lovely surprise!

 My clustermates sent an Ergo baby carrier, a Sophie la Girafe, baby balm, and a cute onesie that says "Keep Calm and Carry Me".
 Jonna & Carol sent a lovely pack of muslins, a swaddler blanket, and a stroller blanket
 Kelly, Jason, Will & Charlie gave me lots of cute things--this cozy hooded sweater, onesies, board books, toys that they'd loved like the Skwish and Take-Along Tunes, car seat covers, reusable breast pads, a nursing cover, muslin blankets and a teether. Mom got me blue & pink newborn-size outfits, a onesie that says "Muggle Born" I've been wanting since before I was pregnant, washcloths, a nasal aspirator, a teether and a board book.
We had a lovely tea for lunch, with Kelly's Lady Carlyle tea set and Mom made a really good strawberry sponge cake--it tasted like strawberry shortcake! It was such a fun send-off and I'm glad we got to celebrate the baby together in person--the next time I see them, the baby will be here!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Archive Research Road Trip

After a lovely Christmas in Minnesota, I drove down to visit the Fulbright papers to get more material for my PhD dissertation-to-book revisions.

It's very brown & bleak in January

On my day off, I went to Eureka Springs--it's very cute & Victorian

Frozen springs make little icicle waterfalls on the side of the road

 On my drive back up to Minnesota, I caught a few pics of funny signs
I really, really don't want to know what the "Men's Spa" involves...

I just couldn't get over how flat Iowa was--you really can see for miles & miles!

Sounds like the kind of restaurant King Toot would like!

Fireworks signs are everywhere, too

Somebody's happy to be here!

I spotted this dreadful bumper sticker on a car with Missouri plates...This picture and the one above nicely sum up my love-hate relationship with the South--I love Cracker Barrel, but I hate idiots like this person.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

18 Weeks Pregnant

I'm in my second week of archive research--only two more days, and then I'll be heading back up to Minnesota for a few days before flying home to Leeds. My research has been going really well. I've managed to get through all of the material that I needed for my book revisions and now I've got time to cover 'bonus' material, like binational commission meeting minutes for my country case studies.

It's been lonely to be here on my own, though. I'm in the basement of the library from 8am-5pm every day and the rest of the time, I'm in my hotel room. Facebook and phone calls have helped, but I'm looking forward to heading out on Saturday.

I have been enjoying the Southern food, of course--Cracker Barrel, Popeye's, Braum's, etc. In the interest of Baby Bettie, however, I try not to overindulge. My room has a kitchenette, so I make a healthy breakfast & a healthy dinner every day. Makes me feel less guilty about the other treats!

Every other day or so, I've been feeling the baby move. It's so crazy! For some reason, though, it only seems to happen when I'm in the car. It must be something about the seat position--either that, or the baby is a little petrol head!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

16 Weeks Pregnant

16 weeks fell on New Year's Eve, so Happy New Year! It's the baby's birth year now--June 2015 seemed much further away when it was 2014, but now, it's 5 only more months!

We've been having a lovely Christmas with my family in the States. The flight was alright--not really any more uncomfortable than transatlantic flights usually are. My flight socks were brilliant and I walked & stretched as much as possible. It's been so fun to be with my family during the pregnancy. We've been buying maternity clothes (Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing!) and lots of cute things for Baby Bettie.

I've still been feeling great--not too tired or sore anymore and I just feel much more like myself. Going into the second trimester is like recovering from the flu or a stomach bug. It's such a relief to feel better! I'm not 100% back to normal, of course--I still definitely feel pregnant and slightly awkward, and am starting to show, but it's so nice not to have to take naps anymore. My holiday weight gain has been much better than previous years. A trip to the States usually means putting on 8-10 lbs for me, but this year I've only put on 5 lbs! I've been trying to be somewhat careful while still enjoying myself--getting a tall holiday drink instead of a grande at Starbucks, having a burger without fries, snacking on fruit, drinking unsweetened iced tea and water instead of sugary soft drinks, rationing out and sharing the chocolate from my Christmas stocking, etc. As much as I aim to eat healthily for Baby Bettie, I need to get my fix of the American foods and drinks that I miss all year! Besides, my mom ate Taco Tico's taco burgers when she was expecting me, and it didn't do me any harm!

In order to do a research trip over the next couple of weeks, I stayed on in the States and poor Richard had to fly back alone over his birthday. It's the first time we haven't been together on one of our birthdays, so I felt terrible about the timing. It's important to get my publication finished as soon as possible, though, (especially with our new deadline of the baby's arrival) and I'm just so glad we were able to sort something out to make the trip feasible. Next year, I'll make it up to Richard with an awesome birthday celebration with Baby Bettie!