We've had a great week and weekend here in Stockholm. It's so nice to finally have some nice weather. A couple of items which I will cover in separate posts:
- We made a visit to Gröna Lund, a smallish amusement park near the center of Stockholm. We had a great time, did lots of rides and got to meet Bob The Builder. He's incredibly popular here in Sweden.
- Daniel got to see an emergency (not blood or dead people involved) involving both the Fire Department and Police Department. He loves police cars and was staring so hard at them that the nice police woman asked him if he wanted to sit in the car. It totally made his day, especially when they turned on the sirens.
- I've started biking again with Daniel in the bicycle child seat. It's not possible to bike with a child in the winter because of the snow and cold temperatures but now Daniel is once again all over the bike.
But over to the most important thing, our baby girl who is due to arrive in August. This pregnancy has been a lot harder than the first one. For both of us. First it took a long time until we got pregnant. I'm apparently old and my swimmers are tired:-). Then Sandra was feeling nauseous for a couple of months. That had just passed when we had to visit the emergency room because of heavy bleeding. Turned out everything looked alright but the bleeding never really stopped. After the next checkup we discovered a huge bleeding in the stomach. On the ultrasound it looked almost like an extra stomach or another sack with a large fetus. We were told this happens in some pregnancies but still worried. The bleeding was supposed to be absorbed naturally by the stomach, without medication, but we had our doubts. During this whole time, December to February, Sandra was not allowed to do anything at all. No lifting, exercise, or even carrying the grocery bags. This was of course tough on her but also on me. I have a challenging job and to take care of the whole household and Daniel at the same time was tough. On top of that we made a six week long vacation trip to NYC and Mexico which was very nice but demanding on me. It was not much of a vacation although my bond with Daniel is better than ever.
After we got back to Stockholm the bleeding stopped and Sandra started to feel better almost immediately. She's now swimming and going to the gym which has been a huge relief on her. She's been used to doing exercise almost daily for her whole life and her body and mind did not feel well after three months of doing absolutely nothing. But now she's working out four times a week and feeling much better. I'm so glad we're having our child her in Sweden. I know we're ranked as the number one country in the world concerning health of mothers and children but you really have to experience it to appreciate it. Everything is so relaxed and calm. We are now going to the midwife once a month and everything is looking like a normal pregnancy. The visits are very nice. Our midwife has a cosy room filled with candles and dimmed lights. No ultrasound or other machinery. It's just a normal cozy room with the addition of a desk, a bed, and a computer. The walls are filled with cute photos of small babies and cards with personal messages from mothers and fathers. "Thanks for everything!", "You made our pregnancy special", "Thanks you for giving us this beautiful child". It's a humbling experience to sit there and glanse at all the babies.
The main focus of the visits with the midwife is on the mother and how she's feeling. Even though I'm present during every visit, I'm mostly quiet. The midwife puts a lot of focus on this aspect and believe it's very important that the mother is feeling comfortable with everything. We don't look at having a child as a medical procedure, like in the U.S., and instead look at it as an experience or a natural event. It's hard to explain but nice to go through it. The midwife talks a lot with Sandra about how she's feeling, both mentally and physically, and lots of questions are answered. The midwife measure the stomach and perhaps a sugar or iron test is done but that's it. Results are back in a couple of minutes and the rest of the time is spent talking about the pregnancy.
We gave birth to Daniel at a private wing in a hospital which was absolutely unbelievable. I can't imagine a better place on earth to have a child. Anyone can choose to give birth here but you have to book it far in advance. The place and the people are just amazing and the incredible thing is that the private option costs absolutely nothing extra. As a side note, the total amount in health care costs for anyone having a child in Sweden is zero. Rich or poor doesn't matter. The midwife that took care of Daniel at his birth, Camilla, was awesome and I have written several thank you letters to the hospital. During our last visit to the midwife we ran into her and it was so nice to see her. She gave us a hug and we talked about Daniel. Turns out she's taking a two month break for some education but will be at the hospital during the birth of our baby girl. So with a little luck she will have delivered two babies for us!
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