I feel a bit like Alice. I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. I’ve met wonderful characters who have helped, sometimes hindered and oft times made my journey fun or just a little less stressful. Everything in my life is the same and different. And I am now slowly waking up to reality. But an adjusted reality. A reality that includes a little person who has no respect for sleeping hours or schedules. Like the little white rabbit, I’m always late (which those of you who know me ‘off blog’ understand is enough to give me a conniption!).
The cause of this adjusted reality, she’s perfectly gorgeous. I’m in love.
Before Munchkin arrived, I was certain that my life would get easier. After 12 days in the early stages of labour I was exhausted and ready for the next part. And after hearing from others who’d been able to do projects in the weeks following the birth of their children, I was certain that the 2/3rds completed projects and blogs I had would get completed and after a week or two my blog would continue. After all, newborns only eat and sleep right?! I’d get all of my projects done and the blog would continue much as it had been *insert unladylike snort here*.
I should have taken heed to what my pregnant friends who already have children were doing. They were all planning ‘maternity leave’ from their projects and blogs.
Unsurprisingly I was in for quite a bit of a shock. I’ve gone from having many hours alone, to struggling to find enough time to have a shower, let alone finish a tutorial and write a blog. And of an evening I usually resemble a zombie and anything I’ve written makes about as much sense as if it were written by the aforementioned brain-dead one.
So it’s over two months since Munchkins birth and I’m only just making my way back to the blog. The tutorials and templates are on their way. But it’s going a bit slower than I thought.
Thank you to all of you who wrote to ask for the little shoes templates and tutorial. I love that you’re all looking forward to making them! But I have to beg for a little patience. They’ll be done just as soon as I can. Hopefully next week; but don’t hold me to that. The Munchkin may have other plans she’s not informed me about.
I’m not on bed rest (thank goodness!) but I have been ordered by my doctor not to do anything more energetic than a walk. Maybe she knows me too well… she specifically told me I’m not allowed to clean the house or start emptying cupboards. So I’m all ironed up and feel like I should be bouncing off the walls. But at 37 weeks pregnant, I’m fighting a persistent head/ chest cold and playing the waiting game… I’m continually tired and carrying what feels like an energetic and very uncomfortable bundle of elbows and knees.
Munchkin is running out of room and I’m running out of patience with being pregnant. But we have managed to get some stuff done!
We set up Munchkin’s temporary nursery. The rest of her furniture will arrive in a couple of months. But for now, we have everything she needs to start life. All of her clothes are washed and ready and she finally has her own space in the house which feels nice.
The reason we’re not overly worried about her nursery is that she’ll be sleeping in with us for the first few months. We’ve her Leander cradle all ready and waiting for her arrival.
On the days my brain works, and when I’ve not been trying to get all the paperwork etc together for Munchkin’s citizenship and passport or finding her a paediatrician, I’ve been playing with felt; making little shoes for Munchkin and for some friends who have recently had babies. I think I’m finally happy with the design. I love them in coral and grey! I now just have to work out the different sizings.
I can’t decide if I like the bows on the front or on the side. So I’m making Munchkin a pair of both!
We had a small get together with some of our friends on Sunday on the deck of my favourite gluten-free café in Cully. It wasn’t a baby shower in the traditional sense, but we really wanted to see our friends before we temporarily slip even further off the social scene after Munchkin arrives.
I wasn’t allowed to go all ‘Nicola’ on it. Frustratingly, all I was allowed to do was to book the space and to send out email/ Facebook invites. So it was a decidedly un-Nicola-like event, not a hot air balloon to be seen, but it was delightful nonetheless (DM soothed my ruffled feathers by reminding me that I have many, many future Munchkin birthdays and unbirthday parties to organise). And I have to admit, it was quite a novel experience not to have to worry about anything more than just turning up.
Munchkin received some seriously splendid gifts from our lovely and very generous friends. She already has a toy collection and wardrobe I’m envious of!
Some of our crafty friends had got together to create a gorgeous present for Munchkin. They each knit or crochet some panels and made them up into a beautiful baby blanket. They’d been sneaky enough to get DM to send them the colours I wanted for the nursery and in amongst the pretty patterns, they included a couple of sneaky geeky panels. One of a Dalek and the other of a storm trooper. It’s perfect and suits DM’s and my style exactly. I’m really looking forward to seeing Munchkin wrapped up in it.
I spent yesterday with my feet above my heart trying to get my swollen feet back to a size that would fit inside my slip on shoes and worked out this little pattern for a crochet aviators hat/ helmet for the little nephew we’re expecting in a few weeks. I then made another one for DM’s cousin who just had a little baby boy. I’m waiting for Munchkin to arrive so that I can custom make her one that fits perfectly.
Sorry it’s been a bit quiet around here the last couple of weeks. Remember me saying just the other day that I’d been needing a lot more down time with being pregnant but that the doctor said it was normal?
The following day I received a phone call regarding some blood tests my doctor had taken. It turns out it wasn’t normal. I was anaemic (severely lacking in iron), not just ‘pregnancy tired’. Due to a series of unfortunate events (the European Summer, my doctor taking a month off, me seeing another doctor and no blood tests having been taken during this time) over 2 1/2 months my iron levels had plummeted.
Thankfully it was an easy fix, requiring a huge infusion of iron. I had mental images of a giant steak fixing the problem but it turns out the doctor meant what she said… an infusion. Oh how I hate needles!
The nurse giving me the infusion told me that an iron level of 10 for a pregnant woman is viewed as extremely low and I was well below 10, hence the need for about a bazillion steaks worth infused directly into my bloodstream ASAP.
With in 24 hours my brain started to de-fog. I didn’t even know it was fogged as it all comes on quite gradually! But it turns out I’ve been walking around like a zombie (with close to the same mental capacity) and I’ve now received a fabulous mental and physical energy boost! Even my eyesight has improved! Even better, they should continue to improve over the next few weeks!
So all the projects I’d been struggling to find the energy to do are getting done! I’m going to Lynne’s today to try and complete Munchkin’s quilt and I’ve put together a prototype for a pair of shoes; I’ll share the template and tutorial with you as soon as they’re done.
And I’m finally making a little headway with her birth announcements!
Why is it that every time I start to wonder what I’m doing with my life and start to consider returning to a ‘normal’ profession something turns up to make me change my mind? In this case, the latest issue of Cupcake Heaven turned up in my letterbox.
As of today I’m 30 weeks pregnant. I can’t believe it’s flown by so fast and I’m not nearly as prepared as I’d hoped for! But I’ve been informed that quite a bit of the stuff I want to do can actually be done after Munchkin arrives, so I’m not panicking… much.
Last weekend we went to the clinic where we’ll be welcoming Munchkin into the world to do our maternity class. It was 2 hours, with only DM, myself, the midwife and a video.
Oh good gravy. The video.
On the one hand, it was a marvellously calm experience. The ladies in the film have now probably celebrated their offsprings graduations from university, it wasn’t the most modern film. But they gave birth without the hysterics that seem to be prevalent in movies. It certainly looked painful, but you didn’t see any of the wives screaming obscenities at their husbands etc.
On the other hand, I think both DM and I are permanently scarred. Somehow we seemed to have been able to remain oblivious to the mechanics of the actual event until we were sitting in front of a video with a full frontal view of the process. I think we both started to practice circular breathing. I know I certainly crossed my legs and started to wonder what the hell I’d gotten in to, as well as trying to devise exit strategies (there appear to be none, it’s much too late to hire a surrogate).
You’d think that, depending on which school of though you follow, God would have designed us a bit better/ we’d have evolved to allow for a little more wiggle room in the process!
However the clinic is perfect and just what we wanted. It’s completely equipped as a hospital but doesn’t have a ‘hospital smell’. The midwives are amazing and they do things just the way we hoped for. They aim for the best (a natural birth, no complications, breastfeeding coaching etc) but are also prepared for the worst (with a fully equipped surgical theatre and an anaesthetist on call etc). We left feeling very secure in our decision; a little apprehensive about the actual process, but knowing we’re in very good hands.
On the same day, we went to have a 3D ultrasound of Munchkin and now know that she has chubby cheeks, a cute button nose and is perfectly formed. There are no extra fingers or toes and she doesn’t have a second head (thank God/ flying spaghetti monster for that! I now know there is just no room). We also know that just like her parents, she’s stubborn. She was determined to hide behind her hands when we wanted to see her for photos/ video and then to do what felt like very energetic interpretive dance as soon as we left the scanning center. She did give us proof she can stick out her tongue already. Cute little brat. I can’t wait to meet her properly.
I also feel like I’ve survived what a good friend of mine describes as the ‘pregnancy hazing’.
It’s Murphy’s sodding law that right at the time you’re at your sickest, your most emotionally unstable (&^%$#ing hormones), and panicking because you’ve realised that your entire life is about to do ‘a snow-globe’; that the hazing commences and is at it’s worst. The snow-globe is when everything in your life bubble starts flying about with reckless abandon, you’ve no idea where any of it is headed or where it’s going to land, and like the Eifel tower/ Santa figure glued down to the base, all you can do is hold tight to your other half and reassure each-other that no matter where it all lands, you both can work it out and you’ll survive.
But holy crackers, the pregnancy hazing! Consisting of the worst case scenarios (eg. the 357 hour births without pain killers, the 28 month morning sickness etc). The questioning of some friends, a few family and complete strangers of every child/ pregnancy decision you’ve made or are in the process of making. What your doctor says will be wrong. The place you’re giving birth will be a poor choice (whether it’s in a private clinic, the local hospital or in a paddling pool in your lounge; at some point you will be repeatedly advised that you’re making the wrong decision). What you eat or don’t eat will be wrong. The level of exercise you do will either be too much or not enough. You’ll either be gaining too much weight or not enough. The choices you’ve made about baby equipment will be wrong. The clothes you’ve bought will be the wrong colour and you’ll have spent too much money on them or not enough. You’ll either be a hypochondriac who is only sick because you don’t have a real job therefore not enough to occupy your mind, or you’ll be pushing yourself too hard and doing too much. The worst part of it all is that you’re already doubting yourself and questioning whether you should even be allowed to procreate, let alone be responsible for the healthy upbringing of a small child. So all of these slings and arrows can seem twice as hard to cope with.
It’s enough to send an ill, emotional, hormonal, terrified woman past the point of no return. Your doctor will be telling you that you need to keep calm and relaxed to help your baby. But how on earth are you supposed to do that when everything you do or don’t do is wrong!?
Your husband, staring at the woman he loves, starts wondering where the secure, happy woman he married went (or at least where she left her sanity) and how on earth he gets her back. And this is where it all started to turn around for me.
A couple of ‘cards on the table’ chats with DM ensued. And I realised that pregnancy and raising kids is like having a religion/ philosophy. Most everyone believes what they’re doing is right and that those doing it differently are wrong. We all tend to gravitate towards those with the same beliefs or philosophies. Some people are much more rigid in their beliefs and have a lot more rules than others. It’s not that any of them are right or wrong (unless they’re abusive of course), it’s just we’re all different. Only, whilst openly questioning someone’s religion, belief or philosophy and categorically stating they have it wrong is something of a social faux pas, when it comes to childbirth or child rearing, it seems it’s open season. And as I have a wide social network with friends, family and acquaintances from a wide range of cultures, religious beliefs, philosophies and sexual preferences (it’s one of the things I adore about being an expat), this is going to result in a very wide range of opinions and beliefs.
I’ve now a semblance of my sanity restored (the hormones still seem to occasionally take it on holidays). And I now give the comments and discussions the same level of interest and attention as I give all opinions and beliefs. I love hearing them and discussing them (as long as they don’t turn into personal attacks or ‘attempted conversion’), as I enjoy continually expanding my knowledge, challenging my preconceived notions and learning, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to follow them or ‘convert’. DM and I discuss, research and make our decisions together. And we’ll happily live with the repercussions of those decisions, good or bad.
I know there are a lot of mums and soon to be mums reading reading my blog. I’d love to hear how you survived the pregnancy hazing!
But, oh goodness, Munchkin has commenced interpretive dance routine number four for the day on my bladder… got to run.
I’m really honoured to be included in the latest issue of Inside Out Magazine. Inside Out Magazine was one of my regular reads when I lived in Australia. So to find myself featured in their ’6 blogs to bookmark’ section held even more excitement!
I’ve since found out it is now possible to subscribe online to the magazine via Zinio. Why not check them out for a monthly dose of design and interiors goodness?
I’m now 25 weeks pregnant. I look like I have half a watermelon and two half rockmelons (Cantaloupes for you non-Australians) attached to my front. My toes have disappeared from view (which reminds me, I really need to get a pedicure if I’m going to start wearing flip flops and sandals for Summer. I don’t want to be scaring you all with Hobbit feet just because I can’t see them! ). It’s been an interesting few weeks, and whilst things have been really quiet around here blog wise (sorry!), my life has been insanely busy whilst annoyingly interspersed with days of absolute exhaustion where I’ve been unable to do little more than ensure the Nic shaped impression on the couch is still there. The addition of a little person into your life certainly shakes things up!
I was intending to try and keep the blog separate from my Munchkin ‘life’. But I now see that it’s impossible as my life currently consists of very little that is not baby-centric and just results in the blog stagnating. Please be patient with me, I’ll find the right balance soon.
Thankfully my health has improved and my fitness level is back to what it was before the 6 weeks of hellish morning sickness hit and I’ve started gaining weight after dropping 6 kgs. This was followed by full body hives that kick in whenever I get slightly over-warm. Nothing like impersonating an angry, red, insanely itchy blister to give you ‘pregnancy glow’. Thankfully I’ve been able to get it under control with medication and now only have random itchy patches if I sit in the sun for too long.
I’m now in the ‘honeymoon’ stage of the pregnancy. My energy levels have increased and I’ve yet to hit whale sized proportions, so we’re getting as much done now as we can in preparation for Munchkins arrival. I’ve selected a colour scheme for the nursery, have commenced in depth research into origami lampshades, nursery furniture, car seats, bouncers and prams. The nursery is starting to form clearly in my mind and is slowly becoming a reality. I’ll share the details with you as it comes together.
It helps that for the most part, the sun has finally arrived in Switzerland, it gives you a real energy boost!
Then there is the mountain of boring stuff. Spring cleaning, window cleaning, doing a years worth of paperwork for the tax man… etc
We also invested in a car. We’ve had no need of one for the past 3 1/2 years. The public transport system in Lausanne is amazing. But Munchkins pending arrival changed all that. We set out with a list of cars we wanted to test drive and then, for one reason or another, discounted every single car on the list. Thankfully, just before we gave up and I threw an over-tired pregnant woman tantrum, we discovered a car we both liked and that suits our needs perfectly. It’s boring enough to fill the mum car requirement, sporty enough that DM doesn’t feel like he’s driving a bus, safe enough for Munchkin and with a trunk big enough to pack the pram and a kitchen sink or two. We picked it up on Saturday. It came with a handmade Swiss chocolate car… these people really know how to please a pregnant woman!
It now looks a bit like he’s been in a horrific car crash. The whole front end is missing.
I’ve also created 2 recipes that are not quite right and need a little tweaking. My cinnamon donuts filled with custard were so light and fluffy the custard leaked out the bottom. Light and fluffy is great. Leaking custard is not so great. So I’ll try the recipe again this week and post it asap. I’ve also some cute packaging tutorials that are also not quite there. And I’ve been knitting like mad. As Munchkin will be experiencing a Swiss Winter in her first few months, I’ve been making cute cardigans and Liberty print bound blankets.
I’m also collecting fabrics for Munchkins crib quilt, and finding yarns and patterns for a cross stitched fine wool blanket. In addition to designing and making gifts for the masses of others I know also giving birth this year. So I’ve a mountain of projects in progress but very little to actually show you right now. Hopefully this week will be a little more productive and I’ll get some of the projects finished!
On the Saturday I made my husband a big batch of one of his favourite meals. He just loves my spaghetti Bolognese and generally attempts to eat at least 4 servings in one sitting. I use a recipe my mother taught me and let it slow cook for at least 4 hours.
Then we had a glorious Sunday with friends. I cooked and baked properly for the first time in months. It was fabulous!
We had delicious artisanal British cheeses from my favourite British cheese supplier in Zurich to start. Followed by crispy skinned, roast pork belly, roast vegetables (parsnip, purple carrots, potatoes, cherry vine tomatoes and garlic), a red wine and rosemary gravy, decadent garlic mashed potatoes (they contained double cream and butter) and finished the meal off with a gluten free roasted strawberry & ginger, baked ricotta cheesecake.
I think I can honestly say I’ve got my appetite and much of my energy back. Hurray!
Though I was flagging pretty badly by the end of the afternoon. We had Meriel and her gorgeous little girls come for afternoon tea after lunch. Lily gave her approval to the dessert and then demanded pencils and paper for ‘drawing time’. It was great fun. Meriel told me both of the girls fell asleep on the way home, I wasn’t far behind them!
I apologise for the poor quality of the photos. I was so concerned with feeding my guests and not allowing baby brain to destroy the meal to allow myself any more than about 10 seconds for photos. And I completely forgot them for the dessert! Hence the reason you’re looking at the remnants of dessert, photographed when I realised this morning. But as I’ve plans to tweak the recipe a little bit more and post it online for you later this week, I’ll have ample opportunity to take more for you then.
Late last year DM and I were in a quandary. DM had been applying for jobs, none of them based in Switzerland. And it was starting to look like we were going to be moving to Singapore in the near future. I was all prepped for big changes and mentally writing to-do lists.
Then DM was promoted within his current job, sealing our fate, we were staying in Lausanne for a few more years. We’d never intended to be in Switzerland longer than 3 years so it was a bit of a shift in view. Then, as the celebration finished and the euphoria started to wear off, we had a day of ‘what now?’
That lasted all of a day.
Then we I found out I was pregnant*.
Perfect timing! All of a sudden we knew just what we’d be doing and the few more years here are a blessing. I’ve got great health cover here, Switzerland’s health system is amazing and the stability we have here surrounded by fabulous friends all make having a child a much less scary prospect.
I’ve started writing lists of all the fabulous things I want to make and do for the new addition to our family. Our annual Summer Party in August is now to be a very relaxed ‘Hey We’re Having a Baby BBQ’, I’ve a nursery to decorate (when we find out the sex) and I’ve got onsies to paint, birth announcements to make and sooo many other things to knit, bake, make, sew and print! All of which I’ll share with you.
But I’m still going to be making non-baby things. Hand on heart I promise not to turn this into a baby blog.
But this doesn’t really explain why I’ve been quiet. Basically it comes down to exhaustion and nausea. The dreaded morning sickness hit me full throttle. They lie, in my case it’s more ‘all the time sickness’. Then, just as I was starting to feel more normal and to commence eating a little more whilst we were in San Francisco, I caught a gastic virus on our way home. Which combined with jet lag has wiped me out all over again! So I’ve spent rather a lot of time in bed and on the couch. Thankfully the lovely DM has done a wonderful job of looking after me and cooking for himself (as even the thought of food has made me go green lately).
On the plus side, I can still do up the buttons on my jeans (other than the super skinny ones) and I’ve been told by the doctor that baby is fine. And I’m really happy to hear that now that I’m at 12 weeks, I can soon expect a boost in energy and for the morning sickness to stop. Then the blog will pick up again.
So here’s to many more baking and craft posts!
I’ll be back to my making-self soon
*Yes, the little one was planned. But we didn’t expect he/ she to come along quite this quickly!