Reminiscing when I was pregnant and had a baby in France.

Overview:
Here is a space on my blog I’ve dedicated to reminiscing on all the little daily things in between living abroad, traveling, learning, and motherhood. Here are the little stories of my life I can share with you, and which also allow me to reminisce. Instantly.

Today is Monday, 5th of March 2018, and it’s the first time I could go to a cafe (tea salon) alone and write. I was looking back on my life in France in January and February, all the while staring at that cheesecake in the window.

Humm… Should I bring back three cheesecakes for my mom, hubby and I?

Now, I don’t have a right to all products that contain milk because of my thyroid problems, but that evil cheesecake kept whispering, “eat me, eat me, I’m so creamy and delicious”… When I was pregnant, I would allow myself to eat a cheesecake every time I ate in a restaurant that had one on the menu.

Life after pregnancy and childbirth in France | Rachael HELPS!

Toulouse Octobre 2017

Since then, I’ve had a baby in France and his name is Moon.

I sometimes call him: baby Moon or little Moon, (like baby Luna).

Like all moms, I studied up on material about newborns babies and maternity leave. His delivery date was set for 41 weeks (7th of February). We planned our path for a natural birth, 100% breastfeeding and no pacifier.

The unexpected makes you take a different route, no matter how much you plan and prepare. From a natural birth to a cesarean, and I crave for a pacifier.

My baby Moon came on the 19th of January 2018 at 38 weeks. It was surreal, I figured he would come earlier than planned. I had problems with high blood pressure throughout my pregnancy. On a routine checkup, the 17th of January, we found out his baby growth had slowed down because I had placenta calcification (when your placenta turns white), and to top it off there was a risk of toxemia (Preeclampsia).

Our doctor had advised us, in the days to come, our best bet was to have our baby by way of c-section. We stared at each other in disbelief with a look like: “ok, I guess we are doing this, RIGHT now! Right?”. Soon after, I was on an operating table laid out like Jesus on a cross, with my lower body all numb. I heard two cries, “wah, wah”, then silence… I broke out crying like I was being reborn. For the next six days, my son and I got to know each other at the Clinique Saint-Jean Languedoc maternity ward in Toulouse France.

My stay and giving birth was an emotional roller coaster. The doctor said I cried more than my son did. Born into the mother I always wanted to be, my tears were tears of joy and transformation. When I close my eyes, it still feels like yesterday.

We thought breastfeeding would be easy peasy; however, it is not. I had to spend 30 minutes, seven times a day for two weeks pumping my breast to start the milk making process. Somehow that added to my anxiety of baby Moon losing weight, also being scared to death if he somehow fell on the floor. He was so tiny.

My titties are no longer sexual organs, they’re FOOD. Even Luna dog produced milk. We both came to accept that if I can only make it to six months of breastfeeding with a formula on rotation, it will be ok.

Baby Moon is now going on 7 weeks and the days are getting easier.

Cocooning, in my life, takes on a different meaning.

I’ve learned to live with little sleep at night and to huff down my food; use my breast as if it’s a candy weapon pacifier to calm down my fussy baby. And, it’s okay to stay in and take more that one nap during the day. He is so small and delicious. He needs for me to hold him while I whisper in his ear, “Mommy loves you”. Cuddle time is all the time. I love kissing the death out of him, even when he cries, I think it’s cute. I’m savoring this time like it’s a glass of a 100-year-old wine.

I’m enjoying my new full-time job, I get paid in smiles and cuddles.

A mother, I am.

Childbirth in France, Life abroad | Rachael HELPS!

During January and February, here are the little daily things between cocooning and baby Moon:

TRAVEL PLANNING:

I love planning my travel trips for the year. We couldn’t travel as much as we wanted to while I was pregnant. So, we’re looking forward to doing a lot of traveling this year as a family.

First up, at the end of March, we’ll take a road trip to Nantes again (14 hours drive round trip).

Purpose?

Present baby Moon to my in-laws. Then, adding a two-day trip to see La Baie Du Mont-Saint-Michel, a tidy island in Normandy surrounded by water and access only during low tide.

The BIG trip, our vacation, we’re looking at doing this in May. We’re planning a long road trip, with some stops in between, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

For our wedding anniversary (25th March), I would like to go to Rocamadour. It’s a good 2 hours drive, plus we didn’t have time to go while in Cahors, but the dilemma is baby moon will only be two months. So, we might just chill and find something around Toulouse.

Birthday trips, I would like to go back to Spain. If you know of some other cool places beside Barcelona, Saint Sebastian and Valencia let us know in the comments down below.

DESTINATIONS TRAVELED:

Towards the end of February, my mother flew to Toulouse (in the south of France) for two weeks, to meet her grandson Moon. Also, we wanted her to discover France; therefore, we took two one-day-road trips.

Our goal was to show her magnificent scenery (with a touch of history) in France and eat fine French food with wine from the local region (I don’t drink wine because I’m breastfeeding).

We all jumped in our car, including Luna dog, and headed to:

  • Albi, France an Episcopal medieval town
  • Carcassonne, France

WHAT I LEARNED:

Thanks to being stuck to a breast pump seven times a day, I could catch up on reading and learn new things.
Before Moon was born, HB and I agreed we will teach the Montessori Method of education to our son. I’ve read the book on Montessori à la Maison from 0 to 3yrs (in French). My father-in-law is working on a Montessori toilet for Moon and made his first mobile.

In this method, I’ve learned, ‘what is circle time routine?’ and the way it helps you to begin your home-school mornings with a clear focus on the work cycle.

Also, I set forth a personal goal, I want my son to learn how to read before the age of three.

I also worked on my copywriting trade. I read two E-books on the topic:

As well, I started a 7 weeks, self-paced, online Spanish language edX course to help me start off with the basics and learn some conversational words for our next trip to Spain.

Last, always updating my skills in UX design, Digital Accessibility, and Design Thinking.

WHAT MY SON TAUGHT ME (Motherhood):

It’s okay to cry, and it’s not a bad thing to do. It’s a way of communicating and releasing blocked emotions. HB can’t stand it when Moon cries. He hears a loud and an uncomfortable noise.

I hear: “I’m hungry, I just want to be held, or I’m having trouble sleeping, help me,”.
When I reply to little Moon’s needs his tears stop.

Adults too, should learn to let the tears fall down and then just listen to their needs.

Tears are emotions, let’em fall like a waterfall.

BOOKSHELF (I’ve read…):

Even though baby Moon is not old enough to understand what I’m saying, I’m getting in the habit of talking to him and reading to him.

My bookshelf from the local library
Soon as I could go to the local library, I checked out:

Des amis de toutes les couleurs (Friends of all colors) and Changer de Maison (Moving to another House) by Dr Catherine Dolto

Dr. Dolto has a series of Montessori Friendly Children’s books in French. Her collection provides answers to questions (asked by children) on topics such as family, living together or the body and health.

I love these two books because this is my life. My family is a mixture of all colors and we move a lot. HB did a Storytelling’N French for beginner self-learners over here.

Escapades en France (52 propositions de week-end), what did you say in English, please? Getaways in France (52-weekend proposals) book is the bomb! People, you can’t find everything on the internet. There is always something new to discover in France.

Quatre saisons au Japon, Four seasons in Japan is a Montessori-friendly, children’s flip book. Baby Moon and I enjoy looking through the pages just before bedtime.

WHAT I’VE WATCHED:

Since Moon was born, HB and I were lucky to have grandma babysat for us. On our first date, we saw The Black Panther.
I’m a Marvel fan and I loved that we learned more about the Black Panther background since they introduced the character in Captain America: Civil War. I can’t wait to see how this character will play out in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

We are at the end of our ropes with Games of Thrones and The Underground being canceled. We’re now looking for a new series to follow. If you know of some good ones, please comment down below.


 

WHAT I’VE LISTENED TO:

Podcast:

Do you want to be a mother?
In my 20s, I would’ve said no.

Increasingly women are changing their minds later on in life, like I did at 39. I too dealt with infertility, and with a craving so bad for a child. I had two miscarriages and was lucky to have a baby by the age of 42. So, I can relate to this show about “The Invisible Emotional Weight of Infertility” while having a business on The Startup Pregnant podcast

This quote sums up how I dealt with infertility during my journey:

“It takes such discipline to keep hoping for the best outcome and to keep yourself from not falling apart.”.

I confess during my pregnancy, I ate unhealthily. Since then I’m back on track to good nutrition and healthy eating for my family, plus learning about Baby Led Weaning.

Songs:

I love to sing and, on that note, I picked a mother/son song I sing to Moon every night, Baby of mine by Bette Midler.
These words express everything I feel for him:

Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine.
You’re so precious to me,
Sweet as can be, baby of mine.

HB and I are learning to sing these songs together:

Dirty Heads – “Coming Home” Acoustic

Black Label Society – Spoke In The Wheel


WHAT I’M GRATEFUL FOR (and things I look forward to..):

Baby Moon is healthy, alive and whole.
My mother came to meet her grandson, babysat, and we had some alone time.
Luna is patient and a loving sister to baby Moon.

The sunny weather in Toulouse.
Blessed I can plan for future trips and make it happen.
My husband HB.

Thank you for reading and adding your perspective to the conversation!
See ya in the comments down below.

And remember to LIVE, LOVE & design your life the way you want it to be.

Rachael HELPS!