adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Knocked Up Abroad: Turn Baby, Turn!

Hi All! First of all, sorry for my absence over these last 2 weeks.  I've been feeling so good this entire pregnancy, and then weeks 30-33 hit me like a ton of bricks.  And you guys, I really hate to just constantly complain about the weather, but I attribute most of my misery to the 90°+ temperatures and the crazy humidity that we've had for all of August.  For the last month, the heat has been unrelenting, the sun irrepressible, the humidity stifling.  There is no breeze, and don't forget, there's no air conditioning here.  Not in people's homes, not in our car, and not even in most restaurants, cafes, doctor's offices, etc.  Even born and raised Montpelliérians remarked how awful this summer has been.  Michael and I would sit in the dark, surrounded by fans on our couch at 10:00 at night after dinner and just sweat.  I've been spending a lot of time waving around my sandalwood fan, putting frozen washcloths on the back of my neck, and relaxing like this.

You may recall that, last month, my awesome husband bought us a window clima for the bedroom, and that has been an absolute LIFESAVER allowing us comfortable sleep.  I have spent many an afternoon next to that clima, but really, I can only sit in our bedroom for so many days in a row before I start going crazy.  I tried to plan my days around going into the bedroom during the hottest part of the day (3pm - 6pm) and would save tasks for that time that could be easily done while sitting on the bed - like folding laundry, writing thank you cards, catching up on email, and reading my pregnancy books.  But how boring does that sound?  I still attempted to meet up with friends for lunch, run errands, and do the grocery shopping and cleaning in the early afternoon, but even 5 minutes walking outside in the heat made my feet and hands swell up to the point where I thought my fingers and toes would explode.  Then, two weeks ago, Michael spent the week in Germany for a work conference, and it was during that week that my body decided to inflict upon me all the classic third trimester pregnancy symptoms:  upset stomach, searing heartburn, heart palpitations, backaches, and insomnia.  I felt like I was dying.  The heartburn was horrible and spread all across my back in a cramp like a charlie horse that wouldn't go away for hours.  I spent a few nights sleeping sitting up like I was in a chair and crying to Michael on the phone.  I was finally able to get a hold of my doctor who prescribed some Gaviscon, which has really helped.  I also changed my diet (eliminating tomatoes, onions, garlic, spicy foods - basically everything good) and try to eat smaller portions more often.  I've still had some burning in my esophagus, but nothing like the tortuous heartburn I experienced while Michael was gone. Anyway, this post is not meant to be one long stream of complaints, but just to let you know why I've been missing the last two weeks.  I was too miserable to move.  The good news is that over the weekend, it poured.  And that was just what we needed to break the heat, clear the humidity and bring some breeze into this city.  I literally almost cried I was so happy.  For the last 2 days we've been enjoying the mild 82° sunshine and even slept without the clima last night!  At one point I turned to Michael and said, "I almost forgot what it was like to not be constantly sweating."  Now I just have to hope that we've made it through the worst of the Montpellier summer.  As hard as these last few weeks have been, I'm just really grateful that the timing of this pregnancy has been such that Bonbon will be born after the summer.  I really cannot image having a newborn infant in this weather.  Obviously, people do it, but how?  For me, I think I would find it really overwhelming.

Other than the heat, I am back to feeling mostly good.  I had my Glucose Tolerance Test a few weeks ago, and everything went well.  I had been told by my doctor, midwife, and experienced friends here that I would indeed need to drink the awful sugar drink just like in the U.S. and stay at the lab for 2 hours.  But when I got to the lab, they took my blood and told me to go home, eat a normal breakfast, and come back in 2 hours to have my blood drawn again.  I was afraid I might be losing something in the translation and I asked them 3 or 4 times if they were sure there was no sugar drink for me, and they said No.  Go home.  So I thanked my lucky stars, went home for a scrumptious breakfast, relaxed on the couch, and went back in 2 hours for the second blood draw.  Results were good. We had a whole slew of appointments last week - labor class with the midwife, our 3rd trimester ultrasound with the specialist, and my regular monthly appointment with the doctor.  Our ultrasound went great, and the Bonbon is doing well.  I really can't believe how clear those 3-D images are - she looks like a real baby ready to come out and she's so cute!  Michael and I look at the picture probably 100 times a day.  The only concern is that Bonbon is still breech.  I'm in my 34th week, so she needs to turn soon!  My doctor is sending me to an Osteopath, who will, according to our midwife, "touch on sensitive areas to encourage the baby to turn."  She says that it usually works quite well and is something that they often try here before doing an external cephalic version.  I've also been doing some exercises from Spinning Babies but I haven't felt her turn quite yet.  Michael even tried what I can only assume is an old wive's tale of shining a flashlight at the the bottom of my belly to intrigue Bonbon and get her to come down and check it out.  The first time he did it, she went crazy bouncing around in there and we couldn't stop laughing.  But now it's old news and she's not really interested in the weird light at the bottom of her cozy home.  She is stubborn, just like both her parents. Thanks to our extremely generous friends, we've made some serious progress on getting her room ready and gathering supplies.  We borrowed a crib, a stroller, a carseat, a bassinet, blankets, a monitor, a Baby Bjorn and a vibrating baby seat.  Michael and I went out and bought a dresser, bookshelf, crib mattress, changing pad, and all the necessary supplies like diapers, wipes, soaps, lotions, nursing pads, crib sheet, baby bath, etc.  We have almost everything!

The last big item we want to buy is a sort-of-rocking chair that we found for a steal.  I say it's a sort-of-rocking chair because it looks more like an office chair, but it's comfortable, reclines, swivels, has a footstool, and is under 200€, so that's what we're going with.  I've also been washing all of her clothes, sheets, blankets, and burp cloths.  We are really almost ready!

We just need to finish putting everything away, cleaning up the room, and wait for her arrival.

part of our weekly Bump Growth project - this was taken yesterday!

Please think good turning thoughts for us!  Any other ideas on how to get her to flip?

26 Responses to “Knocked Up Abroad: Turn Baby, Turn!”

  1. Julia says:

    I am sending you a COOL breeze right now! Worst is behind you! Love! XOXOX

  2. Beth DePompei says:

    Natalie you truly look sooo beautiful. :) Isn’t it so hard to imagine your little one actually being in all of those clothes? I’m enjoying keeping up with your blog! Try to enjoy these last few weeks of sleep! xoxo

    • Natalie says:

      Thank you so much Beth – that is so nice of you to say! And you’re right, I can’t believe she will fit into all these teeny, tiny clothes! I can’t wait!

  3. Mom says:

    How exciting!! In a few short weeks your life will be forever changed. In a good way!! Can’t wait. :)))))
    Love you!

  4. nate says:

    Try to keep her in! We’ll be there in less than four weeks!

  5. Jen says:

    I have no personal experience or endorsement to give, but acupuncture could be another option to explore.

    This study looked at acupuncture + moxibustion – which I’d never heard of until today but I guess is worth at least reading about! :)

    • Natalie says:

      I read about the moxibustion in one of my labor books!! I’m so curious if there is a place that does that around here – sounds very…interesting!!

  6. Guillaume says:

    Wow! You are fully prepared! The story about Michael and the light is awesome :)

  7. Erin says:

    Congratulations! I sure hope she turns for you. Here are all the crazy things I tried with my first baby:

    standing on my head
    diving into a pool, repeatedly
    placing headphones at the bottom of my stomach and playing music
    lots of walking
    sitting up straight in wooden chairs
    drinking lots of water

    And, the funniest suggestion we heard (and totally tried): My husband crouching near my crotch and sternly saying things like, “Son, get down here right now.”

    • Natalie says:

      Thank you for the suggestions, Erin! I need to find a pool because that option sounds appealing for many reasons :) The last one made me crack up! Michael has tried asking her nicely to move down, but maybe he needs to be more strict and “fatherly” about it! ha!

  8. Sabbio says:

    So good to discover your blog Natalie, I heard of it through other Montpellierans English-speaking moms.

    It’s wonderful, love the ambiance, all that you tell there and of course that you are deeply in pregnancy/maternity which I cherish in my life as a mama and in my work.

    And yes, the heat has been terrible… We’ve been in Montpellier for almost 10 years and it was the second most-horribly warm summer (after the famous 2003 one during which my daughter was born).

  9. Devon says:

    I am so glad you shared photos of the bonbon’s room! I love it! Are you going to hang the bunting? I am so excited for you guys!!!


    • Natalie says:

      Thanks doll! Yes, we will probably hang the bunting over the crib – I can’t wait! We just need to figure out a method because it’s a solid cement wall :-/ Just a few more things to organize, build and put away and then it will be done. I can’t believe it’s all coming together!

  10. Dennelle says:

    Hi Natalie – seeing your photos and reading your blog post bring back so many memories and put a big smile on my face, thanks!

    Our daughter was due on Aug. 16th, 2004 and was breech as well, so when she hadn’t turned by week 36, they scheduled us for a C-section on Aug. 3rd – they like to do C-sections well in advance of the due date to make sure you don’t go into labor beforehand. I was heartbroken, as I really wanted to try a natural birth. So we did all the tricks you mentioned (OK, not the light one or ordering her to come down! haha) but when my water broke unexpectedly on July 26th (!!!), she was still in a pike position with her head under my ribs. The good news is, she was out in less than 30 min. and as pretty and pink as can be!

    So all this to say, even if she doesn’t turn, which is more common for first babies, you’ll still get to hold your beautiful princess very soon :-)

    PS. I’m in MPL as well and have an Ergo and a baby backpack (which beats the heck out of a diaper bag) for sale if you’re interested.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Dennelle – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience! Like you, I will be disappointed if the birth ends up being a scheduled C section, but – you are right – the most important thing is that our daughter gets here safely, not that I get the kind of experience that I want! :) Either way, she is coming soon and we can’t wait!! Our doctor is still willing to try a vaginal birth provided the placenta and umbilical cord are in a safe position, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I am practicing all my crazy exercises and light tricks, haha!

      My friend lent us a Baby Bjorn and I have my sister’s Moby Wrap, so I think we are set. I’ll let you know if anything changes!

  11. jessica mordo says:

    OMG the heat…you poor thing. so glad it’s getting cooler. sending too-cold foggy sf summer morning vibes your way! about the turning – acupuncture could help.

    • Natalie says:

      Thank you darling! It’s been raining the last couple of evenings here, so cooling down a lot. The wet, brisk mornings, though still a little humid, make me long for SF :(

  12. Jillian says:

    i spy with my little eye and i and an n. could these be the last letters of bonbon’s name? so many possibilities!!

    • Natalie says:

      So funny Jilly, I was wondering if anyone would notice that! Unfortunately for the door, it is just one of many casualties of the god-awful decorating skills of the previous tenants (or maybe the owners?) They really did some weird stuff to the apartment (like the horrendous faux texture paint on the bottom half of the Bonbon’s bedroom). Both of our guest room doors have circus-y looking letters GLUED ONTO THEM to spell out what I can only assume are their kids’ names. We cannot, for the life of us, get them off without completely ruining the door. Bonbon will be living in “Quentin”‘s room.

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