And the Winner is…

Toulouse, France! We’re staying! After a very long, nearly two weeks of limbo, we finally got the word that we can stay here until after our baby is born (though not without some last minute talk of Germany or even Florida—but that’s another story).

Though the prospect of Doha was exciting, the ability to stay the course with our current doctor and birth plans is much more comforting. So now it’s time to settle in and start nesting! What’s a seven and a half month pregnant mama to do on the heels of so much stress? Sign up for French classes of course!

I’ve been dying to take French classes since we first moved here last June, but without knowing when we were going to have to move again, the risk of registering and then losing money was too great. Now, with just about two months to go until I’m in a French hospital giving birth, I figure it’s about time to learn how to say a little more than just, “Je veux du gâteau.” Although, who knows? After hours in labor, perhaps that’s exactly the French I’ll need.

My class will meet Monday-Friday from 9:00-12:30 for the next four weeks. I’m looking forward to it now, but by the end of May, I’m wondering if I might be seriously hating my optimistic decision to make a mile and a half round-trip trek to class every day. This coming from a woman who has done numerous five and 10Ks, a couple half-marathons and even a triathlon sprint. Walking is hard. At 30 weeks I even need a break after putting on my coat. No joke.

Over the weekend, we began seriously shopping for the baby. We bought a Peg-Perego Book 51 modular stroller set that, not only will grow with our baby, it also includes a bassinet that can be used as her bed for the first few months. When you have very little space, less is definitely more!

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We also bought a Sophie la Girafe (I’m a bit obsessed with this French brand) portable rocker. It was amusing trying to fit all of our boxes in the car—especially after an Ikea run.

So, our baby shopping is pretty much done! Though I certainly get the occasional bout of wistfulness when I hear about other pregnant friends and family creating registries and setting up adorable nurseries, doing it our way certainly is simple. Yes, we still have some small odds and ends to shop for (such as diapers and a baby bath tub), but all of our big purchases are done! I guess that’s the benefit of living a minimalist lifestyle.

Earlier this week, we booked our next couple of doctor’s appointments. Thankfully Dr. Kobuch was able to find space for us on his calendar for two weeks from our last appointment—he was booked out almost through the end of May already! We also set up an appointment with a local midwife who speaks English. She’s supposed to help us with birthing lessons, but what does that entail in France? And will she be with us during the birth? Answers to these and other thrilling “expat pregnancy in France” questions in the coming weeks.

In terms of being 30 weeks pregnant, I still feel pretty good for approaching the size of a beached whale. Getting out of bed and off the couch now requires audible grunts and groans (yes, like your favorite lunk at the gym) and we had to buy a little stool for the shower so I can shave my legs—but let’s be honest, even that requires too much energy most days.

My gestational diabetes test came back negative, so I celebrated with a Nutella-stuffed croissant. Matt blew my cover at the doctor’s on Friday, telling him I fasted from sugar for a whole 24-hours before the test. Did it make a difference? Probably not, but I’m happy I can keep enjoying my macaroons and gateaux—in moderation, of course.

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Our little kickboxer is preparing me for sleepless nights. She actually moves so much throughout the day that, even though I read about the importance of doing kick counts at 28 weeks, I really don’t have to. She wants to be on Mommy’s mind—morning, noon and middle of the night. I’m pretty sure my bladder and ribs are her favorite toys right now.

My doctor put me on a prescription for magnesium to help prevent the killer leg cramps I started to get at night. That’s probably not too different from what they do in the U.S., however my magnesium comes in little glass vials that I dump into water twice a day. Let’s just say, it’s a good practice in dexterity to crack these suckers without shattering them or ending up in the hospital for stitches.

One final, and what I find interesting, difference between France and the U.S. is the recommendation of getting the TDAP shot (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) in the third trimester.

Now I’m not here to start a debate about vaccines—personally, we believe in vaccinating our child, especially when we’ll be moving to different countries with varying health standards. In the U.S. today it’s highly recommended that all pregnant women receive a TDAP booster in their third trimester—especially to help pass along antibodies to the baby to prevent whooping cough. Anyone who will spend a good deal of time around the baby is also recommended to get a booster.

In France, however, the jury is still out on whether the vaccination is a good idea. Our doctor said he prescribes to the U.S. recommendations, so he is going to give both Matt and me the booster, but he warned us we may get strange looks when we pick up the shots from the pharmacy. Again, it’s up to every parent to decide what they think best for their children, but if you’re an expat in France and you feel strongly about getting the TDAP shot during pregnancy, keep this in mind when talking with your doctor.

Well, that’s all for now, folks! Stay tuned for more fun and exciting exhausting adventures in the coming weeks.

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