15.02.2014 - 12.11.2014
The 41 weeks of my pregnancy were some of the most beautiful weeks of my life. When we found out that we were pregnant during my sixth week it was a wonderful surprise and the best souvenir we could have chosen to end of our ten months travelling around the world. I love my home country of Colombia so the news our baby was conceived there and being able to share this with my immediate family in the last week of our trip was something unforgettable.
My pregnancy was very easy and relaxed. I was blessed that I did not have any morning sickness, so I could continue eating the way I always have, but now I had to take some precautions with some kinds of the food because they can be harmful to the baby. Simon looked at all the material online and in these pamphlets they gave us and kept telling me not to eat things I was in the process of consuming. I was raising a cracker with blue cheese on it to my mouth and "Stop, are you sure you want to risk eating that?" That gets really annoying really quick. Apparently I had to avoid most sea food, raw meats, deli foods, and funny cheeses. It wasn't too difficult, except for my growing craving for eggs and large quantities of cheese. When Simon's mother gave me a 1kg block of mild cheese I was happier than I have been in a very long time. I couldn't stop smiling.
I started my pregnancy with my weight at around 58 kilos. When I was in my fourth month and I began seeing how my weight was increasing (obviously) I decided a decision had to be made for my peace of mind and to be able to enjoy my pregnancy: I stopped looking at the weighing scales beside the bed and did not weigh myself anymore. I love numbers but sometimes they scare me. In the last week of my pregnancy I asked Simon to look at my weight and keep it to himself and let me know once I had returned to my beginning weight or was at least close to it. So now I know I put on around 12 kilos, which I thought was not too bad, and now I am close to being my regular weight which is a burden off my mind.
As many of you know one of my passions is to exercise. We are so blessed in the city where we live that I can bike nearly everywhere, so during my pregnancy I biked right up until my 35th week and I should confess that the only reason I stopped then was because my bike got a flat tyre, and I was so busy during the weekends that there wasn't time to fix it. I also thought it was possibly a sign from the universe to stop just in case something bad happened. I also have to mention that when I was three months pregnant, I think at around 14 weeks, I had my first ever accident while biking. A car did not stop at a stop sign and hit me, however baby and I were fine, thank God.
After I stopped biking, we decided to walk to work (only one way for me, I took the bus home). It was wonderful to be able to do this for a couple of weeks. We were leaving the house at 6am and arriving to work at 7:15am, taking our time walking about 8.5 kilometres. My way to work takes me through the biggest park in the city, which runs parallel to a gorgeous river, so my walk in the mornings was something refreshing, peaceful, relaxing, and a nice way for the three of us to spend some time together.
During my pregnancy, I was absolutely spoiled, with many people taking extra time to make sure I was okay. The memories that I have of this nine months are delightful. We had three great baby showers: the first was with our group of friends from church, the second was with our Latin American friends and the third with our kiwi friends. People have been so generous with us, and our baby has received many beautiful gifts. There was a basinet that was given to us by Simon's parents, a cot was lent by a really good friend from work, a pram was given by some latinoamerican friends, and many gorgeous little baby's clothes and toys from a lot of generous people.
We also had a blessing ceremony for me, which was an idea a friend found online. The baby showers are for the baby, but apparently the mum also deserves a ceremony for her, to say goodbye to the baby-less life. It was a really special day for me, with my closest friends coming together to have a lovely afternoon. They shared their experiences with labour and babies, they decorated some baby clothes and made a lovely wishing tree. It was a really relaxed and enjoyable afternoon. If you get the chance I would recommend this idea.
Another beautiful memory was our trip to Kopua. This a monastery that Simon and I have been able to visit once a year. It is a friendly and cosy place in the middle of the mountains. It is run by a group of Cistercian monks, and there is a lovely guesthouse where people can stay and share some time with them. In August we had the opportunity to visit and it was a great experience because the last day of our stay we had asked a favour of Father Niko to bless our unborn baby. I thought it would be something quick, a small blessing, but they actually gave a special mass dedicated to the three of us. They asked God to bless Simon and I and our child, to be good parents and for our baby to be healthy and have a great life. This mass was really unforgettable, and it was really interesting because during the ceremony my baby was moving like never before in my stomach. I think maybe she knew we were talking about her.
My pregnancy was a little unusual because of the position of my placenta. I had an anterior pregnancy, meaning my placenta was in front of the baby and not on top or behind which are more common. In other words there was the skin of my belly, then my placenta acting as a cushion, the baby behind the placenta and then my spine (something like that). Usually the order is skin, baby, placenta and spine. Therefore, it took quite a while for the movements of my baby to be felt by me. Normally, mums start feeling movements at around 20 weeks but in my case it wasn't until week 28, because the baby was kicking my placenta which I couldn't feel. Once the baby had grown a little and was squeezed for space she started to kick with some more force and sometimes around the placenta and then I could really feel it. It was comforting to know she was there and also painful as well - but in a good way.
We were blessed our baby was engaged from week 35, meaning her head was down, her bum was under my left ribs and her long legs were under my right ribs. Her kicking and movements were felt more on my right side, and actually it was possible to see some of the kicks as they pushed out the side of my belly. Her heart was easy to hear and really loud on the left side.
In New Zealand the service for pregnancy is different from at home in Colombia. Instead of visiting doctors we had to choose a midwife. She looks after us from week 12 of the pregnancy until six weeks after the baby has been born. In our case we had a lovely lady who promotes natural birth. Our experience was nice with her, and she would come to our home which made things easier and she supported us in all the decisions we took during our pregnancy and for the labour.
At the very beginning of my pregnancy I found a technique called hypno-birthing which encourages pregnant women to rely on their bodies, and to believe that giving birth is a natural process where the body knows what to do. It is primarily based on meditation, mental and verbal affirmations, and visualisation. It really worked for me (in the next blog I will mention how I put this technique into practice).
The last weekend of our pregnancy there was a special event for the community supporting the local school and the children. We decided to go as a way to do my daily exercise because I hadn't been walking as much as usual. There was a stall for children to have their faces painted, and I was feeling cheeky so I went and asked if they could paint my bump, as a way to encourage the baby to come out (hahaha) and here was the result. I think it was a great way to say goodbye to our baby-less life and welcome to Maya.