Visiting the hospital…

Yesterday Richie and I did our trial run to the hospital where we plan to have the baby. Richie finished work at 10.30, so we met at the Besiktas ferry and headed over to the Asian side. I’ve been loving the ferry rides and the fresh, cool air on these hot, humid days! I think it’s largely to do with pregnancy, but I can’t seem to get un-hot sometimes!

Anyway, we got over to Uskudar and hopped in a taxi. Most of the route was motorway, which was really fast and efficient. I think the drive took about 20 minutes, so it wasn’t as far as I’d imagined when just looking at a map.

The hospital is only a year old, so very new and shiny and modern. We had a little tour of the little maternity ward, and we were very happy with what we saw. The labour/delivery rooms and the ‘recovery’ rooms looked nice and bright and comfortable and didn’t have the sort of horrible sterile hospital feeling. We also took a peak at the neo-natal/nursery area, which is just a short walk down the corridor. Everything was just in one small hallway, nice and convenient and compact. The hospital also practices rooming-in for the babies, so I’m glad that’s the standard practice anyway. We definitely got a good impression of the place and it’s nice now to have a mental picture of everything.

On another note, when we first arrived, the woman giving us the tour thought we’d be switching to the hospital doctor until we explained that we had a doctor already but just wanted to give birth there. So, anyway, she mentioned meeting the hospital doctor and how he would advise ‘surgery’ (i.e. C-section) and that it was ‘easier for the mother and baby’ and the ‘recovery time was quicker’, etc. Mental. So, that was when we said, thanks but no, we didn’t need to meet their doctor, we already have one! I just find it so crazy how within about 1 minute of being in the hospital talking about birth-related things, someone starts telling people they’ll need to have surgery to give birth and tell them how much better and easier it is!!!! After the visit I was thinking about it and I just felt sad and a bit angry that this is what so many women are told and believe! I definitely feel lucky to have access to books and knowledge about other birth options and to know people who have had different, and very positive experiences! Thank god for choices and the chance to be better informed about all these things! It really seems that here, women are lacking those things. I hope it changes in the future.

But that craziness aside, the hospital visit was positive, and I’m so happy we’ll have our doctor who I definitely trust, and our doula to help us. I’m really excited about everything and while certainly nervous about such a monumental experience looming on the horizon, I feel very positive and am looking forward to seeing what my body can do and to giving the baby the best possible start in life.

So, after the hospital visit, we came back to Besiktas and met our friend Marijke, so the rest of the day involved drinking tea/beer/water in lovely cafes/outdoor bars, eating Mexican food, and just enjoying being out and about in the great summer weather. It was a fantastic relaxing day!



My week of quietude…

Well, I don’t have much to report, other than the fact that I’ve had an extremely relaxing week. The weather has been gorgeous and right now I have all the windows open and am enjoying the fresh morning breeze blowing in while listening to all the birds singing outside. I love seeing the treetops all covered in leaves right outside our sitting room and bedroom windows, and mulberries on the trees are all green and unripe, but I’m looking forward to just reaching out the window to pluck them off soon!

My main activities this week have been eating, napping, sitting around, reading, catching up on some phone calls and emails, occasionally taking a stroll or eating out or going for coffee/tea, meeting a few friends… yeah, that’s about it. I’ve definitely had moments of boredom, and I’ve wasted more time playing stupid computer games like Mahjong and Minesweeper than I care to admit, but for the most part I’m just enjoying and trying to make the most of this quiet holiday.

Richie’s getting on well in Ireland, and I’ve been able to talk to him every day so far, which has been great. But today is the big wedding, so I doubt if we’ll really get to talk, since he’ll be rather busy. I’m so excited for our friends Diarmuid and Andrea and I hope they have a beautiful day, lots of fun and a great start to a great marriage. Richie says the weather is beautiful over there, warm and sunny, so perfect for a wedding. I’m sure it’ll be a great celebration and I’m so glad Richie’s there for it!

Well, the little guy is kicking loads these days, which is really fun. Today starts week 27! According to a few ultrasounds I’ve had, and the measurements they do, it looks like I’m a week further along than originally thought. So, I guess this means my due date might be more like September 4th instead of September 11th. I’m okay with that. I know due dates don’t mean a whole lot, but still, the 4th is potentially much more auspicious than the 11th, so I’ll go with that. So, only two weeks left of my second trimester! According to everything, I should have been very productive these last three months, since my energy levels were higher and I wasn’t so big in the belly yet. Unfortunately, due to my procrastinating nature, I have been completely unproductive in baby-preparation activities! Aside from the bit of shopping I did with my mom in America, I haven’t done anything! So, when Richie gets back, we’ll have to get on that. I have got some great shopping recommendations from my cousins recently, so I’m planning to see if I can find the stuff they think is most useful here, and then whatever we can’t get, we’ll probably order. One crazy thing though, about looking at baby things, is that it seems so hard not to end up with tons of plastic stuff! In a previous post I mentioned wanting to go as green as possible with baby toys and ‘supplies’, but my god, everything is plastic and at least half of it is battery operated! This green babyhood thing could be more complicated than I thought. I guess we’ll just have to see what we can do and try our best.



Getting presents in the mail is the best thing ever!…

I’ve been a lucky girl these past two weeks and have received TWO packages in the mail at work; one from my bestest buddy Andrea and the other from my lovely sister-in-law Frieda. It was so exciting to get a little something in the post, and feel loved. As you know if you’ve been reading my recent posts, I’ve been feeling the winter-blahs and have been tired and a bit burnt out, so little things like getting lovely stuff from friends really can change one’s entire mood! So, thanks a million! I’ve been wearing my new t-shirt, ooo-ing and aaah-ing at photos of cute kittens, and am so ready to munch on some yummy chocolate while watching a new series on DVD! Yippee!

Our Irish Christmas: in a rather large nutshell…

Well, after my very long break from blogging, I think it’s time I at least attempted to write something about our amazing Christmas holiday. At long last, we made our (very brief) return to Ireland. We’d been looking forward to the trip for MONTHS, and it was just as good as we’d hoped. It was great to slip back into our old lives for a couple of weeks and enjoy some great times with family and friends, catch up with everyone and enjoy the feeling of being home. Everyone really made our holiday superfantastic!

Actually, we were lucky to get to Ireland at all! As most of you probably know, there was crazy, cold, snowy weather all around Europe and then in the US too, but things in Ireland seemed okay before we departed. We arrived in Dublin without any problems or delays, but about four hours after our flight landed, the airport closed because of the snow! It was the coldest weather I’ve yet experienced in Ireland, and for days and days it just kept snowing. Now, it wasn’t really all that much by North American standards, but all the same, it was a decent bit of snow and, apart from last year apparently, not a very common occurrence in Ireland. It was certainly festive though! Tons of big fluffy snowflakes falling and falling and falling. It definitely helped make it feel extra Christmassy.

We spent a few days in Dublin catching up with friends before heading to Tipperary to stay with Richie’s family. We stayed with Diarmuid and Andrea, and we also got to spend quite a bit of time with friends from Kafka, the restaurant where I used to work. It was so great to catch up with Anthony and Ivano, Paolo, Shannon and Debs, Zeila, Joe and later Sheena who was over from London. The only bad thing was that on our second night in Dublin, I came down with a terrible cold/flu, the worst I’ve had in years and years! I got a fever, cold, cough, etc. and was a bit out of it for a couple of days. But once we got to Tipperary I just collapsed at Richie’s parents’ house and had lots of rest and relaxation to help me recover.

So, we spent about a week in Tipp, catching up with Richie’s family, eating loads, staying toasty warm by the fire, and just completely relaxing. It was a lovely Christmas and I’m just so happy we got to have a family Christmas this year! Diarmuid and Andrea drove over from Clare and stayed one of the nights we were in Tipp, so we got some extra time with them.

After a week in Templemore, we headed back to Dublin to meet some more friends; Phil and Anouk, who were over from Germany for Christmas, and James and Eddie. We met for pints and had a lovely evening catching up with everyone! The next day we did a bit of shopping in town, getting some of the things we miss when we’re in Turkey, using some Christmas gift vouchers and that sort of thing. We had a quiet New Years Eve in the flat, just Richie and myself, watching a film and drinking some delicious ales. Nice tasting beer/ale/stout is definitely something we miss in Istanbul, so it was a nice treat!

Then we met Diarmuid and Andrea the next night when they returned from Clare, and after that met the Kafka crew for drinks in our old local in Rathmines. We had a bit of a lock-in and stayed for a sneaky drink after closing time, which was a great way to end our last night in Dublin. In the morning we had breakfast with Andrea and Diarmuid before heading off to the airport.

Travel was no problem, and we got home safe and sound. It was a bit surreal to be returning to Istanbul, leaving one place that feels like home and returning to another place that now feels a bit like home as well. So, thanks to everyone we met and stayed with, for making our Christmas amazing, for all the fantastic hospitality and for great chats and hugs and fun. Richie and I were talking about how amazing it is to have such good and caring family and friends to come home to, and we can’t wait to see everyone again!

More photos will be coming soon!

Cumhuriyet Bayramı…

Yesterday, the 29th of October, was Cumhuriyet Bayrami- Republic Day. This particular national holiday celebrates the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. So, being a national holiday, most people get the day off. However, Richie and I are always off on Friday, so sadly, we didn’t get any extra benefit out of this free day. The day was great though, and we got to visit some friends that we haven’t seen in ages!

We went to our friend Sohye’s apartment in the evening, where we also saw ‘our Turkish family’- Sultan and her four children. Thanks to our recent Turkish lessons, I was actually able to make some baby sentences and talk to the girls! I can only say things in the present continuous, i.e. I am reading, I am learning Turkish, Are you eating?, etc. Not the most in-depth conversation capabilities, but it was something. And the oldest of the girls, Sibel, has recently started university and is studying elementary English, so our overall communication abilities are certainly increasing!

We had a nice Turkish-Korean-fusion feast, made by Sohye and Sultan. I did contribute a chickpea and aubergine salad to the mix, which seemed to go over well. Every time I eat at either Sultan’s or Sohye’s I am in heaven. Such good food!

As we were finishing the dinner, an amazing fireworks display started outside. Sohye lives on the seventh floor of an apartment with a great view, and we could see a huge amount of fireworks all along the Bosphorus. They were so beautiful, and I couldn’t believe how many there were! It was really spectacular.

Then the two younger kids got sleepy, so Sultan and her gang headed home, and we stayed to hang out with Sohye for a bit longer before heading home. It’s always super entertaining and fun to spend time with Sohye and Sultan’s family, and now I’m so excited that we’ll be more and more able to actually communicate with them! Now I can’t wait for our next Turkish lesson!

Not much…

Quick update:

Last week it rained everyday, except Sunday, which was nice for all the marathon runners in Istanbul, although it didn’t benefit Richie or I very much because we were working most of the day. I’ve started trying to learn the art of making Turkish coffee. So far, drinkable but not great. I need to ask an expert (i.e. Turkish friend) for a coffee-making tutorial. I also tried making spicy Indian chai (tea) from scratch tonight. Moderate success. There are about a million different recipes on the internet, so using the basic spice ingredients, I’ll just have to experiment until I get the flavour/spiciness right. We went to a couple of friends’ house warming party last night. Massive fun. I danced for hours. I’m now paying for my dance madness with a cold and slightly sore throat- too much excitement and exertion I guess. But it was definitely worth it! My evening students have been cancelling lots of lessons last week and this week. Annoying. It’s okay when it’s a late cancellation because I still get paid. It is not okay when they start getting organized cancelling in a timely manner, and I just end up bored and work-less at home instead of earning a living! I am slowly getting re-inspired to cook decent food at home. I am also feeling ready to go a bit more veggie and a bit less meaty. During my lazy-not-wanting-to-cook days/weeks, I ended up ordering food at work more often than usual, and this usually involved meat. Nothing against meat, but I just feel ready to get a bit healthier again and have more fresh veggies, etc. I’m looking forward to my friend Deniz teaching me some delicious home-style Turkish soup recipes to warm us up during the winter. Plus Richie loves soup. And finally, I bought socks today. I think that about covers it.