Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You (don't) need to get off facebook, or do/don't you?

I was watching the BBC the other day and they showed a very brief clip of a young guy flipping poster board messages Bob Dylan or Micheal Hutchens style with a six minute message about facebook.  I was intrigued even though I only saw about 4 seconds of it.  I couldn't stop thinking about it and finally googled as many variations of: facebook video guy placcards anti-facebook cute guy on street.  I don't remember how I finally found it, but I did.  I got myself a nice hot bowl of blueberry oatmeal with yogurt and sat down to watch.  It is called, "You need to get off Facebook".

Here it is:

I really liked what the message here.  I also really liked him.  Thought provoking stuff, to a point.  I nodded, yes yes! during the video.  Then I saw a video response, also 6 minutes.

And it is called, "You DON'T need to get off facebook" which has an entirely different take on it.

Here it is:

I really liked what the message here.  I also really liked him.  More thoughtful than thought provoking.  I nodded, yes yes! during the video.

I enjoyed watching both videos and surprisingly agreed with both of them 100%.  Even though they were in complete contradiction with each other, they both fit soundly into the Hell yes box.

Two men standing outside, flipping pieces of paper with cool music in the background expressing their points of view on facebook.  Sounds stupid, I know.  But trust me, these videos are creative and worth your time. They are clever societal statements, expressing cynicism and celebration of how we humans connect in these modern times.  A job well done and fun to watch (anyway, they are both real easy on the eyes).

I would love to hear your comments on what you think, how you felt or generally if you agreed/disagreed or both!  Thanks. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

And the baby is a ...

#1 profile view #2 face forward and her hand
Alright ... well, this will probably be the shortest entry in my blog ever. 

We had the second sonogram/echography and the baby looks healthy and moves a lot!  Ten fingers, ten toes, nice round head etc.  And....
These 3-D images freak me out.

It's another girl!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blog update ... at last!

At long last, I am back.  Oh, and how.

I really didn't mean for my hiatus to last as long as it did.  But, as it is, this blog is supposed to be fun to do.  And for the reasons I am about to share, writing in the last couple of months wouldn't have been enjoyable.

See, I was sick.  First, it was for a good cause sick: being pregnant. Then, once the constant nausea, debilitating exhaustion and crabbiness wore away, I became ill with a cold which turned into a relentless sinus infection.  In any case, my ability to concentrate was minimal and the bits of energy that I could muster were kept for things like trudging across the apt to see what my poor little neglected toddler was getting herself into.  Beyond that, I have been busy getting our upcoming 6-week trip to the states organized, settling some birthing situations and more, much more! 

The good news is that while I am not yet 100% better, I am damn sure close enough and have so very much that I want to share!

17 weeks
For starters, again I am pregnant.   And couldn't be more thrilled.  I really didn't want Sabine to be an only child like I was (am) and am just delighted that she will have a sibling to grow with.   I am a little nervous about having two since I don't really know what that will be like.  I had a pretty good notion of how it would be to have one daughter, since I was one daughter.  But two?  It really is foreign to me... and what if it is a boy?  We will know on Friday!  And, you, my dear reader will not be left in the dark.

However, since Sabine's actual birth left something to be desired... I wanted this one to be different.  And the truth is that, on paper, Sabine's birth looks pretty standard and the results were stellar.  Totally natural, no episiotomy, no tearing, breastfed easily, went home same day she was born and lost most the baby fat within 2 weeks.  Sounds pretty good, right?  Well, yes and no.  My midwife, while a warm and lovely person before the birth for our monthly meetings and haptonomy sessions, did not bring his expertise to the birthing experience at all.  To make a long story very short, I had no idea what the hell I was doing and all he could say was 'push'.  Obviously there is more to the story, but by the end of it, not being supported, guided or helped left me traumatize me.

One thing you must understand, MOST (99%) of FRENCH WOMEN HAVE NO IDEA WHO IS GOING TO BE DELIVERING THEIR BABY AT THE HOSPITAL.  It is just whomever is working that night.  This doesn't seem to bother any of them.  Whereas, in America, one of the most important decisions a woman will make is who will be there during one of the most vulnerable, intimate moments in our lives: giving birth. 

Luckily, there are a few - and for a city the size of Paris - I mean, very few midwives who are called "Sage Femme Global" or something like that, who will follow you during pregnancy and will be there for the birth.  They are not found in MOST hospitals though.   I learned about them during my first pregnancy.  But I was even more limited in choices by the language barrier.  I could choose from about 4 (that I knew of)!

I also needed to find someone who was really on board with my anti-medicalized approach.  Given the choice, I would have done it at home.  Or at least, I think so, but we do live in an apt building so ... hmmmmm.  But anyway, my husband was dead-set against it "just in case".  What can I say, I watched the Business of Being Born and read Ina May's books.  I knew exactly what I wanted and it didn't involve being on my back in a sterile white room.

Beyond that, I personally wanted to experience what most women all around the world do.  Was it painful?  As they say, you forget.  And I really have. I do remember the most painful and nonsensical experience (that I wasn't AT ALL prepared for) was after being in labor for more than 6 hours, I had to walk down a hallway, wait for a fucking elevato r to take me nine floors down and go to a different room to deliver than the one I was in all cozy with my music and candles.  That was some serious bullshit. 

Alright well, anyway, this time around simply had to be different.  I began scouring the internet looking for info.  In one of the ex-pat parent's groups I am a member of, someone told me about CALM - a natural birthing center. Slogan is: CALM "like at home"  Calm Website link It is non-profit and totally fit the bill for what I was looking for ... except the language.  Hicham, Sabine and I went to an info meeting to learn more about it with about 25 other couples.  I was so bored.  Blah blah blah in French for more than 2 hours.  Luckily Sabine was there for me to play with or I probably would have left.  It reminded me of my former life when I would sit in some long ass meetings and wonder how much more could be said? Hicham told me later that much of it was repeating  the same info over and over.  That too, sounded familiar.

Sabine at museum with daycare.
Still, I loved the birthing rooms and loved the ambiance of the place.  The philosophy was beautiful and they are working hard to change French mentality about birth and the system too (good luck!)  But it was the Indian tapestries on the wall pretty much sold me on the place to tell the truth.  We signed up, met with the midwife about a month later and crossed our fingers to get accepted.  As with most things in Paris, everything is a competition.  Just because you sign up for daycare before your baby is born, does not mean that 3 years later, they will get in.  Luckily, we live on the edge of Paris and getting Sabine into her pt daycare was a breeze.  Anyhoot ... we got accepted and started the process with Jacqueline.  She spoke clearly and slowly and with Hicham's translations, it went alright.

Until one day last week, I got real with myself.  The appointments were exhausting.  The concentration required was draining.  There were things I thought I understood that I would find out later, I didn't.  Appointments that didn't really require Hicham being there, actually did because I was afraid to go alone.  (Just like the early days!).  I mean, I can get by well enough with my 3 year-old sounding French and can (I thought) understand pretty well if I am not nervous or tired or or or.  But I got honest and realized that I was signing up for the same madness as last time.  And c'mon, concentrating on French while being in touch with one's body?!?!?

Back to the internet.  Discovered there are in fact, TWO other mid-wives (working at the same place as my first midwife) who speak English.  However, knowing the difficulty in securing a place when I am already 16 weeks along, I didn't hold my breath.  But imagine my utter disbelief and shock when both of them responded happy to meet me and available for the September birth!!!!  So, I am going to meet with both of them and decide which one I have a better rapport with and get back on the excited to have a baby horse!   What a relief.  Of course, I will keep you posted on how the meetings went.

Because, I have a feeling this blog is going to morph into a "What it's like to have a baby in France story". 

But it will also morph into, "What it's like to get your driver's license in France tale" as well.  The title is obvious why.  Interestingly, I am pretty damn sure that having a natural birth will be less painful than enduring the nonsense that awaits me for the privilege of driving in France.  I just signed up at the special foreigner's "school" (more like hot, crowded, stinky room) and paid the 1500.00 euros to make it happen.  That is almost $2000.00 for those counting.  It is a bit more expensive than what the average French person pays, but not by much!  Insane!

But, I really, really, really need more mobility.  Particularly with two small children.  And, Sabine will be starting school soonish.  They start at age three here.  She will not be going to a French public school - another post for another day.  And well, damn I want to go more places!  It is weird, I was actually not bothered for three years not driving and just taking public transit.  And then suddenly, one day, I wanted to drive and bad.  In fact, the urge was so bad, I almost just did it.  I have a driver's license and have been safely driving for more than 15 years.  But common sense prevailed and I didn't do it ... but woman!  that put a flame under my ass and so here we go.  The goal is to do it in a record two months after we get back from the states... basically June and July and get the license by August, one month before baby.  And see, the thing is, I tend to thrive under pressure.  Knowing the stakes and knowing time is totally against me, I have been studying that driver's ed book like I have never done with my French books.  It is shameful really.  Imagine if I had done that with French book, told myself that learning French would be my ticket to REAL transportation ... gliding effortlessly through the French world.  Linguistically cruising past all the red lights of stupidity.  Not needing my dictionary/gps to guide me through new terrain.

Oh, wait, I did all that.  I know it, I knew it and I am reminded of it every day of every week that I leave the house and talk to anyone, ever.  Truth is, I study when I feel like it - that it is.  Chop wood, carry water.  Besides, I can understand a heck of a lot more than the first day I got here and so this rate, I should be at a 6 year old level in about three years!  Ha!  

Well, I hope this entry has itched the scratch of where the hell did I go?  And believe me, tI have missed blogging.  It is fulfilling, can't say why exactly, surely someone else can though.

A warning though, soon the blog will evolve into Vacation Mode and that will be really fun.  You can look forward to pictures and entries about North Carolina, Colorado, Utah, Minnesota and Boston.  We leave for the USA in a mind-blowing 11 days and wow, am I ever excited.  It will also be great practice for me, getting behind a wheel again too.  Of course, our roads are wider and there aren't motorcycles zooming around you constantly, but eh, who cares, I get to drive!

Til next time.