adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Knocked Up Abroad: The Beginning

First of all, THANK YOU all so much for your kind comments, posts, emails, texts, and tweets!  Seriously, we had the best day on Monday just basking in all the love and well wishes we received after our announcement - we are so lucky! Since discovering our big news, there has been a lot I've wanted to share about going through this experience in France.  Many friends and family members have already asked us lots of questions about our healthcare here as well French doctors' thoughts on pregnancy and I thought it would be fun to address those topics on the blog.  So I'm going to be starting a new segment- Knocked Up Abroad - to tell you about some of my observations and to keep you updated on what's happening with our little Bonbon (as we so affectionately refer to him/her). So let's start with the beginning.   Maybe some of you already guessed our news based on my tweets, pictures and posts over the last few months…. Like how Michael made me sushi...with cooked salmon.

not raw

Or how I put Nutella in Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

it was a genius idea

And did you suspect when I put my iPhone in the washing machine?

prego brain! just kidding, this is definitely something i'd do under normal circumstances too.

Or how about when I drank and entire bottle of OJ in one sitting?

it was soooo good

But you had to know when I made myself an entire cake because that Nutella Chocolate Chip Banana Bread just didn't cut it.  Right?

i pretty much ate this whole thing myself.

At the very least, please tell me you had suspicions last weekend when I ate 6 Blueberry Pancakes in one sitting.

and they were freaking awesome.

Yes, the first trimester is strange.  But I have to say, besides peeing every 10 minutes, I really had it pretty easy.  Everyone was asking me if I was tired, but really, I wasn't.  You see, I don't have normal responsibilities like a job, so I could basically sleep whenever I wanted - all part of the master plan to have a baby right now!  I didn't really have traditional morning sickness, and the only time I did get physically sick was when I accidentally took my pre-natal vitamin on an empty stomach. What did affect me were smells.  Weeks 6-10 were the worst.  I was like a Superhero with a Super Sonic Nose, which by the way, is not a super power that you want!  I had to be armed with air freshener at all times.  I have to walk past a kebab shop on the way to our grocery store, and each day I would sprint by it while holding my breath.  Everything smelled gross to me, which lead to a lot of food aversions.  Anything with garlic and onions was out, which is almost every kind of food ever.  These smells were so nauseating to me, that even Michael was not allowed to eat them.  Well, he could eat them, but he would definitely hear me complain all night.  Soups made me gag, and for awhile any kind of seasoning beyond salt and pepper was off limits.  I think there was an entire week I ate only cheeseburgers.  Luckily I still craved my morning yogurt and granola, and I loved all fresh fruit.  It was around this time that I became OBSESSED with Smoothies.

Like magic, at Week 12, things started turning back to normal.  While I was out to lunch with a girlfriend one day, I realized that there were grilled onions on my cheeseburger (yes, still cheeseburgers!) and I had eaten them without even knowing it.  Score!  Later that week I had tomato sauce for the first time in months.  At this point, I'm almost back to normal, although I'm still iffy about the garlic. The best part about this Beginning stage was sharing our news.  The timing could not have worked out better, because thanks to our travel schedule, we were able to tell a lot of important people in person!  We actually found out I was pregnant the day before I left to go back to the U.S. to see my family, and I was so thrilled to be able to tell them face to face.  It felt a little strange telling them so soon, especially because I hadn't even been to the doctor yet, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  Plus, I only got through about 2 days of not drinking due to "jet lag" before people started getting suspicious. By the time Michael's family arrived in Paris for their visit, we were more confident in our news so we decided to tell them in a fun way.   After we got settled in the apartment, we told them we wanted to give them a little language lesson before heading out to see the sights.  We started off with the usual "Bonjour" and "merci" and then moved on to more complicated phrases like, "Je suis Américain."  We would speak the phrase in French, have them repeat it, and then guess what they were saying.  We said, "Michael travaille dans les jeux vidéo," and they correctly guessed that meant, "Michael works in video games."  Then we said, "Natalie est enceinte," and they were stumped.  My father-in-law said, "Natalie works at home?" and my mother-in-law said, "Natalie is pretty?" (um, loved that! thank you!) and we were just laughing and smiling.  Finally we said, "It means, 'Natalie is pregnant!' "  After a second the lightbulb went on and everyone got so excited.  It was such a fun moment! A few weeks later, Michael traveled back to San Francisco for work and we had another opportunity to tell some of our best friends in person.  We had already Skyped with a few of our besties and told them our news before Michael's trip, so they helped us organize a big brunch with everyone when Michael arrived.  I Skyped in under the guise of wanting to say hello, and we got to share our news.  It was almost as good as being there for the real thing!

semi-creepy pic of me on the big screen with my friend Nickie at the brunch

Finally we shared our news with the rest of our close friends and extended family through an April Fool's video, which actually did manage to fool a few people!  Being so far away and missing out on the chance to tell a lot of people face to face, it was really important to us to try to make the announcement as personal as possible.  Actually seeing our friends' and families' faces when we told them the news was priceless and I'm so glad we were able to do that with so many people.  And for those who we didn't get the chance tell in person or via Skype, at least they got to see our faces in the video! So that pretty much brings you all up to speed!  So far, I have a few other thoughts to share with you on this segment, including the main differences in prenatal healthcare in France vs. the U.S. (based on my experience vs. what my friends and sisters have experienced), my doctor's diet recommendations for pregnancy (do they really tell you it's ok to drink wine?), traveling while pregnant, and of course - the gender reveal! If there is anything else you guys are interested in hearing about, please, please let me know! À bientôt!

8 Responses to “Knocked Up Abroad: The Beginning”

  1. Lanza says:

    The old myth is that if you crave fruit a lot, you are having a girl….just sayin’!
    ;) Kiss

  2. Alicia says:

    Catching up on blogs and just saw the great news. Congratulations to you and Michael! Looking forward to hearing about the knocked up experience, french-style.

  3. Jen says:

    I love the way you told Michael’s parents :) I had some tears! You are so creative and your blog announcement was just beautifully written too.

  4. Barbara says:

    I’m American and have had 2 babies in France. Trust me when a tell you things get really weird postpartum, with the reeducation classes. Congrats on your new addition!

    • Natalie says:

      Thanks Barbara! When I heard about the reeducation classes, I couldn’t believe it! I think it’s hilariously awesome :)

      Any advice for dealing with the system over here? I really have no idea what to expect…

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