Monday, September 12, 2011

20 Weeks

The big halfway point was passed last Wednesday. According to, s/he weighs about 10 ½ ounces now, is around 6 ½ inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana. I love these fruit and produce comparisons. With Lauris I was threatened that if once the baby was born one of the nicknames (like kumquat, turnip or rutabaga) stuck, it would forever be my fault. Though I might be OK with week 23 (Mango)!

I think about ¼ of Clermont-Ferrand is pregnant. Our park visits of late have seemed more like pregnant-momma get-togethers, and there are at least five mothers in our neighborhood sporting serious bumps. Maybe I notice it more because I’m pregnant? The difference between these French moms and me? How in the world they stay so composed, energetic, well-groomed and skinny everywhere but their belly is beyond me. Can I hire someone to teach me how to wear this bump like an accessory?

The oddest thing for me about this pregnancy is the feeling that it’s the first time. I find myself asking Roberts about once a day “when I was pregnant with Lauris did I…” or “was it the same with Lauris?” Either it is true that all memories of difficulty fade after the child is born or I must truly have pregnancy-brain:  Every symptom, every milestone is brand new. With the first trimester morning sickness I swore that “if I had known it was going to be this bad…” but now remember how immobile I was with Lauris all the way through the second trimester. I felt the first kicks around week 17 and had the same “is it a kick or is it just gas” reaction I had as a first-timer (Roberts felt the first kick week 18). And most recently I find myself wondering how HUGE I am, although I should know that the bump I have now is nothing compared to how I’ll look in another twenty weeks.

But there are some major differences as well. While pregnant with Lauris I had physical therapy for back pain throughout the second half of the first trimester and the second trimester. I believe this could have had something to do with the three hour commute to work, but so far it’s been just the usual aches and pains that can be associated with weight gain and my ligaments stretching. Although I’ve gained a similar amount of weight and the bump is similar to the previous pregnancy, I’m still wearing mostly regular clothes, so it seems that the baby is sitting higher (Although that might change, because one is forecast to gain another pound each week from now on). And although my cravings are primarily for chocolate (same as before)(though I have been afflicted with these cravings for chocolate for a couple of decades), I’m also craving cereal and fruit. A healthy change from the chili-cheese fry cravings of 2009/2010. There are quite a few other little things that have me wondering if it might not be a girl…

2011 on the right

We’ve had an interesting time choosing a doctor and finding a hospital. After my Greenville experience I definitely had a different list of questions to ask the doctor about standard procedure, but we didn’t realize how high the first hurdle, of finding an English speaking doctor, would be. The doctor I’m currently seeing was recommended by several other expats as “speaks perfect English,” but in fact we’ve had a few communication difficulties, and I find myself unsure as to what my responsibilities are in the coming months.

I’ve also scared myself silly reading birth stories of other expat moms here in France, and keep having to go back to research to reassure myself. In fact, the C-section rate here in France is about 18%, compared to over 32% in the US and the infant mortality rate is lower as well (3.54 vs. 6.81/1,000 in the last 5 years, source here). Where in the US I was pressured to schedule a C-section starting weeks before my due date, I feel much better about my chances of having a natural birth here. In Greenville ultrasounds put the size of Lauris-in-my-stomach at about 12 pounds at 40 weeks. He was born a little under 9 lbs at 42 weeks, and this along with his length (almost 23 inches) leads me to believe that due-date calculations were off. Very understandable; the due date is calculated by measuring lengths of bones via ultrasound, and comparing to average baby bone lengths.

So enough to think about and research to keep me busy. I’m reassured that there is another English-speaking expat a few weeks farther along than me who has already had one child here, as well as several other friends that have recently had babies in Clermont-Ferrand that I can count on for help, advice, and a good laugh about the funny and not-so-funny things going on – like laboratories asking you to bring your own analysis samples from home... different, yes. 

Finally, for a giggle and curiosities sake, Madame Zaritska (a virtual clairvoyant) predicts my birth experience:
The day you deliver, outside will be cloudy. Your baby will arrive in the late afternoon. After a labor lasting approximately 30 hours, your child, a girl, will be born. Your baby will weigh 8 pounds, 1 ounce and will be 17 inches long. This child will have dark gray eyes and a little patch of red hair.”


  1. I loved reading this post. Pregnancy is such an exciting time. My daughter is expecting her second child, also, due in Feb. Good luck.

  2. Thanks Grammy Goodwill! And good luck to your daughter!

  3. It will be interesting to see how right Zaritska is :) And yes, it does seem like a big baby boom lately. Good luck on your pregnancy :) XOL

  4. Oh those Madames - tu izskaties skaisti, Lienīte! Būtu labāk ja varētu arī redzēt tavu smaidošo seju ;)

  5. Giving birth abroad is quite an adventure. Finding a doctor who speaks English is definitely a big hurdle! The one I am using here in Japan practically has a monopoly on the ex-pat ladies because he can speak English so well.

    Lots of luck with sorting all the unfamiliar details that go with giving birth abroad. I am sure we are both going to have awesome experiences and good stories to tell our kids when they are bigger.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...