Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Weeks 25 - 26 first birth preparation class and a trip to Dublin #pregnancyDiary

Week 25

Not much to report really for this week.
  • The weather has been pretty miserable here. Dark, cold and rainy. Feels like winter already
  • Work has still been crazy busy
  • A lot of my healthy eating habits have gone out the window lately. Hoping to get back on track soon

This week was my first birth preparation class, called Geburtsvorbereitungskurs here. In Germany your health insurance covers the course and you just have to pay the fee for your partner. All the classes at the hospital were already booked out when I looked into signing up at 16 weeks but I managed to find a course locally held by the Chinese lady I did acupuncture with before. Even though my experience hadn't been great and I don't think acupuncture is for me I've heard her classes are good and she had a place available. The course she offers has two evenings with just the women and then two weekend mornings with partners. I had heard that the birth preparation classes can be a good way to make friends so I was hoping that might be the case.

The instructions were to dress comfortably so I wore black maternity tracksuit bottoms which sort of passed for work trousers (I think!) with a long top. There were about ten of us in the class and we sat in a circle on mats on the floor with cushions for our backs. It felt a bit strange for me to be part of this pregnancy club now after all the years we had been struggling with infertility. We had to go around and introduce ourselves. Three of the women are on their second or third babies but the majority of us are pregnant with our first child. I wondered about whether anyone else there might be having an IVF baby too, or have had difficulty but no one mentioned it and I didn't either. Maybe at a later point if the opportunity arises.

The due dates range from December to March. We learnt about what happens to your body during the nine months and birth, discussed pregnancy symptoms, the hospitals in our town in terms of advantages and disadvantages then general newborn care and breastfeeding. Some stuff was interesting but other things I knew already. The end of the class was spent trying to sell us things which I didn't like though! The Hebamme who gives the classes clearly has some sort of agreement with another lady who sells baby stuff and she came over to show us the things. I already have plenty of baby clothes and blankets so didn't really like having to spend 40 minutes looking at more stuff. The things seemed expensive too. Like 50€ for a snow suit or 37€ for a babygrow. At that stage I was tired and hungry as I'd gone to the class straight after work.

Anyway, the other girls in the course seem nice but everyone was a little shy and no one was exchanging numbers or suggesting meet ups. Hopefully at a later stage we could set up a whatsapp group or something. It would be nice to have some people to meet up with once the baby comes and to keep my German up while I'm out of the office! One of my other pals here who's american commented that she has a group of friends with babies around the same age as hers and they often go for play dates together. She mentioned that she feels more integrated living here now she has German friends.

I've also started having braxton hicks or practice contractions I think! I noticed an uncomfortable feeling around my pelvis area and cramps for the first 20 minutes of the birth course and then the next day in the late morning. I did start to worry a little about pre term labour but the pains weren't so bad and after asking some other women in my facebook group, apparently if it were real contractions I wouldn't be able to talk or do anything else during them! Off to Ireland tomorrow.

Week 26

Overall I had a nice trip to Dublin. I got a chance to meet most people again and now I'm ready to stay put in Germany to prepare for the baby as I get into the third trimester. There were some lovely moments catching up with friends and everyone has been so supportive and happy for us which has been really lovely. My aunt commented that we shouldn't buy too many pink things in case the doctors get it wrong and we end up having a boy! My doctor did say he is 100% sure of the sex so I think it should be fine. I agree with the sentiment that baby girls shouldn't just be put into pink clothes and I do plan to buy a mixture of colours. However I'm a feminist who also likes wearing pink so I don't think there is anything wrong with it personally! I guess I would avoid slogans that just say things like "princess" though. It was strange saying goodbye to people thinking the next time I will see them I will have a young baby with me, please God! We plan to fly over to Ireland next Summer.

Something really awful and unexpected happened while I was in Ireland though. The younger sister of a good friend of mine died unexpectedly. The poor family are devastated and it is just a nightmare. Depression is an awful illness that takes far too many young lives. I was glad that I was home and was able to visit my friend. My heart aches for her and her family. I clearly remember almost 13 years ago when my Mum died and what a horrible time it was. This has actually been the third tragedy under various circumstances involving someone in their 30s who our family knew since the start of this year. Of course death is always terrible, but there is something even worse about it when it is a young person with so much life ahead I think. Things like this just remind you all the more how short and precious life is.

In terms of the pregnancy and travelling, I didn't experience any complications flying and wasn't even asked to show the letter my doctor had given me saying I was safe to fly. I'm glad I made the trip over.


  1. 26 weeks! So exciting :-)
    I'm glad you had a (mostly) good trip to Ireland and got to see people once more before the baby arrives. SO sorry about your friend's sister though.

    I wouldn't buy pink for a baby girl anyway because I hate pink! That's just me though ;-) And when my child is old enough to decide for themselves they can wear whatever colours they want - whether that's pink and lilac for boys and blue and green for girls or full on red and black goth for either of them ;-)

    1. Thanks. Yeah I'm glad too I made the trip back and got to see everyone again.
      I would also support my child wearing whatever colour she likes once she is old enough to decide, even if that's goth like you say, haha! I like pink as a colour, even on men! I just wouldn't wear it every day as I like to mix things up and vary my wardrobe if I can.

  2. Great to hear you are enjoying your pregnancy! Nice timing for a trip. We were hoping to fly out to our in laws this Christmas but it is just too late in the game. I agree with you on the pink clothes. I’m not against pink I just think it shouldn’t be ALL pink. I used to have stronger opinions on gendered clothes but when I actually had a child I felt like there were more important things to worry about than colours of baby clothes. I don’t buy anything with “princess” on it though. Actually I avoid anything with words or highly visible brand names, for myself or daughters because I don’t like the idea of my/their body being an advertising billboard. We simply don’t go to stores that are too gendered/sexualized and so far AJ is too young to notice or care (we’ll see how long that lasts: she has a mind of her own). Best of luck to you with everything!

    1. Yeah probably better for you to stay put over Christmas this year as you are getting into the home stretch with your pregnancy now! I agree about the clothes not being all pink. I don't like when shops only sell pink for girls for instance. A mixture is so much nicer. Yeah I also don't like when girls clothes have slogans like "princess" and boys ones things like "strong" or "brave". Not a good message. Anyway, thanks for checking in! :)

  3. Wonderful update! Here, here, to no "princess" stuff (I guess until you have a three year old who insists on things). I had a friend who had boys and lamented the lack of cute clothes, because girls had so many pretty frilly things. Um, I loved the boy clothes and think that there's a lot of companies that do a great job of putting out clothing that's not gender-specific. Um, how annoying to be hostage for a sales spiel at your birth class! That should have been an after thing, optional for those who wanted to go shopping. Harumph. I'm glad your trip was good, and I'm sorry for the loss of your friend's sister. And I'm glad you didn't need the doctor's note!

    1. I've seen lots of cute boy outfits too! The non gender specific items are nice these days as you say, especially for when the kids get a bit older and just want to go out and play in something practical!
      Yeah I would have much preferred if the sales spiel had been optional too. I think the course is meant to be a certain number of hours for the teacher to get funding from the health insurance and I feel like she just padded out the last hour. Thanks for commenting!

  4. I wanted to say congratulations on the baby progress. 27 weeks is right around the corner. I wonder about the baby clothes.

    I was such a tom boy growing up and it was always a fight with me and my brother. She had dreamed of having a daughter to dress up. In her family it was just boys, boys, boys. Then all she had with my dad was boys, boys, boys!

    So when I came along she was like "MY CHANCE! FINALLY, A GIRL!" However, I just wanted to be like the boys. This was too much for my mom who was like "NO! I WILL NOT LOSE MY CHANCE!!"

    I look back and, even though we fought, I'm glad she did force some femininity on me. It helped me appreciate both sides when I was older. (Although I definitely did not appreciate it at the time).

    Then there is my cousin whose parents tried to push boy toys on. She wanted tiaras, ballerina, skirts, and barbies. To their horror, the tomboy they hoped for turned out to be a girly-girl.

    It's hilarious how things can turn out.

    I hope you have an equally ironic daughter to turn everything on its head for you. After all, that's part of the fun with kids. ;)

    1. That reminds me of one of my American friends here. Her mother had been a tomboy and hated how she was put in girly stuff by her mother and rebelled. So when she had a daughter (my friend) she put her in boyish stuff but my friend really wanted to wear all the girly stuff! Maybe girls just like to rebel against their mothers a little bit! You appreciate them more then when you get a bit older.
      I wasn't able to read your password protected post btw. Hope you are doing ok!

  5. Beautiful update.... 26 weeks its exciting...also you must be enjoying those baby kicks in the tummy... and making beautiful memories...so nice to hear about birth preparation classes .... In India we don't have something like that...

    Good luck and Take care


  6. Sounds like the pregnancy is nice and smooth, which is perfect :) Keep enjoying it and that little miss kicking around. What a joy <3. So are you due late February/early March?


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