Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Future

This is Reto's last week of leave, meaning that next week I will be left holding the baby all on my own. Which I'm sure will be fine, but I suspect I need a bit more practice at getting N in and out of the sling on my own, and I haven't even tried to use the pram yet (that's Reto's area), and it seems that N is not a fan at all of public transport. So that bodes poorly. We're going on an experimental train trip to Bern this afternoon to see how we all cope with that, and hopefully it will be less unpleasant than the last few bus trips. Thank goodness almost everything is within walking distance of our place.

UPDATE: N doesn't seem to have the same loathing for trains as she does for buses! Bern was an outrageous success, apart from the bit where the toilet with the nappy-changing thingie was locked and you had to ask someone for a key to open it (it was also the disabled toilet - great plan, people responsible for the toilet. Make the least-mobile people have to go back up and down the stairs and chase you morons around looking for a key). Plus we had some delightful Mövenpick icecreams and got almost sunburnt and saw one of the bear park bears swimming in the bear park pond. Which was charming.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Baby On Board

Various relatives visited us on the weekend, and some of them gave us a baby sign (as in those signs that you see so often in people's gardens in this country, with the name and birthday of recently-born babies, as well as a cute picture of a stork or a bunny or a cartoon character or something). Apparently the giving of these signs is generally the responsibility of the godparents, and since Noémie doesn't have godparents, we thought we'd be saved from getting a baby sign. Apparently not.

One one hand, it was very sweet of them to make this sign for us (not to mention to spell N's name correctly, which, as someone whose name is ALWAYS spelt wrong, at least in this country, is a favourite concern of mine. Shortly after she was born an SMS was sent (not by Reto or me but by a well-meaning relative who will remain anonymous here so as not to make me sound too complainy) in which N's name was spelt wrong and her weight was increased by 2kg, which caused most people to say "surely that can't be right!", but still, you never know when misinformation like this will stick), but on the other hand ....

it's really not something I want to stick in the window. I don't feel the need to advertise the birth of our baby to the world (apart from via this blog, apparently), and really, I've always found these signs kinda stoopid. Much like I would also never put a "baby on board" sign in my car (if I had a car, which I don't). Hmm.

I guess it's one reason to be glad that everyone thinks we live too far away to visit.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


In other exciting news - we're moving! We've been toying with the idea for a while now, and while I was in hospital Reto found an ad for a place that looked promising. The day N and I came home from hospital we all popped over and looked at the new flat, successfully charmed the landlord by being so charming (R and I) and newly-born (N), and a week or so later they offered it to us. And so we're moving, although we're not really sure when because everyone is very flexible with dates and the current tenant hasn't found anywhere new yet, apparently.

I'm not sure that the new place is a step up in terms of size, but it's definitely baby-friendly, we will have a biggish balcony, our own designated bit of garden, a gigantic park just over the back fence, an excellent view over the town and nearby mountains (and apparently on a clear day you can see Mont Blanc, which is pretty impressive), and all still within about 10 minutes walk of the train station. Plus it seems the only noise issues we'll have to learn to live with are birds chirping and people playing soccer in the park on Sundays (as opposed to all the relentlessly-bellringing churches we live within earshot of at the moment, and the restaurant downstairs where they like to sort (=throw in a big noisy pile) their glass bottles at 8am on Sunday morning). Aah.

Garbage Bags For Baby

We got a letter from the town the other day saying hello to N, offering us 20 free garbage bags (as in the official garbage collection ones that you normally have to pay for) and asking what religion she has and what her mother tongue is. Religion was easy enough, but the language question inspired Reto to pop down to the town hall (which is just around the corner, so it was no big deal) and ask. Apparently she isn't allowed to have two native languages, so R chose english. Which is fine with me.

We've decided to go for the one-parent-one-language approach with little N, which is to say, I speak english with her and Reto speaks swiss german. As well as that, R and I are making a sort of half-hearted effort to only speak french between ourselves, partly so that N is exposed to that language as well, partly so that english doesn't become the dominant household language, and partly so it's easier for R to remember to speak german with her. I say half-hearted because we never really remember to speak french, or if it gets too confusing we always swap back to english. I went to a talk a while ago on raising multilingual children, and it seems that consistency is the key, as well as a clear division between each language, so it seems we really should be making a much bigger effort.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Silly Things.

Apparently my pulse is ridiculously slow. A midwife measured it while I was half way through a fairly half-hearted contraction and it was 47. "Are you particularly sporty?" she asked, and I said no. As anyone who has ever met me will agree.

I`ve lost 10kg this week. Obviously a lot of that is baby and placenta and things, but .. well, it seems like there`s still a lot that`s unaccounted for. Still plenty more to go before I`m back where I started, though, so I`m not too concerned. In other news, it`s nice to have buttoned up my jeans for the first time in months.

In Australia (and in the UK, based on the pregnancy books I bought when I found out I was pregnant, which was when we were on holidays in Scotland last year), they tell you to put cabbage leaves in your bra if your breasts get too engorged and milk-packed and painful. Here, I was told to put quark on them.

In all my books they tell you various home-methods of inducing labour (like having sex or eating pineapple or drinking various herbal teas). In Switzerland the list of things is similar, but you can add "wash your windows" to the list. Aah the Swiss.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Edited Hospital Highlights

Fortunately little Noémie`s birth and hospital stay was all relatively undramatic and straightforward. The two long and annoying nights of so-called false labour that preceded her birth, where I was having half-hearted contractions for no good reason every 10 minutes for a good 8 hours a night (and obviously getting no sleep) were the worst bit. A bit of a contraction frenzy on Saturday at lunchtime sent us off to the hospital, but when we got there we were told it was still fake labour, nothing was happening and we should go home. So we did, making the choice to walk, which seems to have been the trigger because by the time we got back to our place the contractions had got going in a much more serious way. After a bath and a bit of dithering we headed back (via a taxi this time, not by bus or foot, so you can tell it was serious) and upon arrival were told that I was 8cm dilated and that she would probably be born within an hour. And she was. I didn`t even have time to grovel for drugs (although the thought occurred, at least before I knew it would all be over soon) or change my mind about having a water birth. So much for an average of 12 hours of labour; we hardly managed 4.

And so she was born, a terrifying shade of blue (which is apparently normal for babies born in baths) but in hearty good health. And then we loitered in hospital for 4 or 5 days, eating what I would describe as the Swissest of food (my mother-in-law could have been responsible for cooking all of it. Poor Reto was clearly tormented every time he was there at mealtimes when I would offer him some food and he had to insist I eat everything myself and regain my strength blah blah, when all he wanted to do was scoff the lot himself) and being annoyed by my roommate (not Noémie!), a woman who had constant visitors, made constant phonecalls and who ate more loudly than you could possibly believe. Fortunately we shared no common language, so at least I was spared having to make small talk with her.

And now we`re home again, where the roommate is much more to my taste and there is far less pasta served as a side dish. And everything`s going really well.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Diary of a Baby

Saturday: Be born
Sunday: Loll around
Monday: Loll around
Tuesday: Have a bath and loll around
Wednesday: Have a pleasant morning of lolling completely ruined by being forced to leave hospital, discover a new home, go on a brief shopping trip, make a first foray into the world of real estate (a new apartment to live in? fingers crossed/thumbs pressed, because the Australian/Swiss baby has to make both gestures if they want good luck), catch 3 buses and have a major tanty on the last one. Hopefully be left exhausted for a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Gah. My doctor said to me at our last appointment (a few weeks ago) "the baby could be born any minute! Within the next 10 days, I would say, but maybe I'll see you at the hospital this weekend!" and so I had a bit of a panic and then assumed that he wasn't just making stuff up and that the baby probably would arrive sooner than later, and so I have spent the last 2 weeks sitting around and waiting... and waiting..

And still no baby. It's starting to look as though I may be pregnant FOREVER. It's all getting a bit annoying.