First, a couple of recent belly shots:
|Almost 35 weeks|
|Rusty's idea of funny|
With our language teacher on her summer vacation for the past two weeks, baby preparations have been kicked into high gear. I have been washing, drying, and organizing clothes, cleaning up some of the larger items that were handed down to us, like the carseat and bouncy chair, and finishing up the last of my freezer cooking. My little freezer is now stocked with over 10 meals, plus some things like chicken nuggets and individual taco pies for lunches -- hopefully, they will make meal-times in the first couple of weeks after Three-peat's arrival a little easier on all of us. I'm trying to be prepared for the fact that I won't have my mom around to help out right in the beginning, like I did with both Alex and Stephen.
I had another doctor's appointment last week -- my first at the actual hospital where the baby will be born. Up until now, I've been going to the local Health Center in our city for my check-ups, but after 35 weeks, they transfer your case to the hospital where you will deliver. The hospital seems fine... it's huge and seems kind of "institutional," but everyone was very kind and friendly. And all the medical staff, from the doctor to the lab technician, spoke English! The doctor, who at first I thought was the nurse, partly because we saw her first (usually, you see the nurse first and then the doctor, just like in the States), and partly because she was so young, let me struggle with my Portuguese for about 5 minutes before she said, "We can speak in English if you like." I'm sure we could have managed with my Portuguese, but it was so much more comfortable to speak in English, and it really helped set my mind at ease to know that communication won't be the problem I thought it might be. Although I can handle most daily situations in Portuguese now, I'm not sure how much of it I will retain at the height of labor!
Then, I went to see the nurse, and she was also great. She seemed a lot more harried than the doctor, but she took the time to explain some things to me about hospital procedures and gave me a list of things I need to bring with me to the hospital. Because we are using a public hospital, a lot of the things that they supply you with at hospitals in the States, and probably at the private hospitals here, are not provided. For example, I have to bring all my own clothes for me and the baby (no standard-issue hospital gowns, not that I'm complaining), diapers, wipes, towels, etc. I went home and got started on gathering the things on the list and packing my bag.
So, I'm feeling a lot better about things, especially now that I've actually been to the hospital and met some of the staff. There's no guarantee that the doctor I saw last week will be the one who delivers Three-peat, though -- it could very well be someone I've never seen before! And I have yet to see the actual maternity ward. Another thing the nurse did was schedule my hospital tour. But because it's August and the hospital is operating at half-staff for most of the month because everyone is taking their summer holidays, they couldn't get me in until Aug. 24th. Incidentally, they also couldn't get me in for another prenatal check-up until Aug. 23rd. It's entirely possible I'll go into labor before then, so my next trip to the hospital could be to actually have the baby!
If this were my first baby, I think I would be freaking out about all the unknowns. But I've done this twice before... I've had a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy so far... and I'm confident the doctors and nurses know what they are doing and that I'll be in good hands. So, I'm trying not to worry too much. Someone asked me awhile ago if I felt like we made the right decision to stay in Portugal to have this baby. And the answer is -- yes. In the beginning, we thought seriously about trying to push on to Angola with the team and just have the baby there. I told Rusty I thought if we could get there by mid-June, it would be doable, we would have enough time to figure things out. In the end, after a lot of prayer and discussion with several people, we decided to stay here. Of course, what we didn't know at the time was that the rest of our team wouldn't be able to leave for Angola until almost mid-July because of hang-ups with the visa process. So, looking back, I feel like we made the best decision. And there have been some other benefits -- such as more time to focus on language study.
More ramblings and reflections about this pregnancy in a few days...