well, i'm nearing the end of my 2nd trimester, and before i know it the baby will be here. i just wanted to post a quick update about how we are all doing out here, as a way to stay connected to everyone back home. it's challenging enough to be a first time parent, i think, but to do it virtually alone in a foreign country can sometimes be a little overwhelming. thank goodness for the blog and for your emails/phone calls, because it makes me feel not so lonesome out here sometimes.
as you can see by my pictures, my belly keeps getting bigger and bigger every day. i am now over 5 months pregnant and the baby continues to grow and kick and punch me often. i LOVE it! it's so precious! lately he's discovered his arms i think, because i tend to feel his punches more than his kicks. how do i know they're punches? well, i don't know for sure, but the punches seem to be lower in my abdomen and are fainter. whereas his kicks are higher, closer to my ribcage, and are MUCH stronger. he hasn't been kicking as much lately, more punching though. i think he's probably kicking too, but i can't feel it because i think there might be more room for him to squirm in that area without bumping into anything. occasionally i can feel his head or his hips squirm around, too. and usually once a day i'm able to palpate my abdomen to find an arm, a leg, or his backside. it's so sweet! one time i really think i could feel his hand -- it was small, about the size of one of my finger pads, and it felt like it was this little ball filled with tiny crunchy things, which i assume are his finger bones. it made me cry it was so precious. i love that.
adam is able to feel spruitje's kicks and punches too, and if i lift up my shirt he can even see my belly move with the contact. none of this hurts (yet), but he's starting to get strong enough that occasionally i will have to catch my breath if he gets me in the diaphragm just right. i really enjoy it, actually. it reminds me of what's in store, and reassures me that he's still in there.
i've been craving orange things: sweet potatoes, squash, oranges, carrot juice, etc. i never ate oranges before i got pregnant but now suddenly they look amazingly delicious. and sweet potatoes and squash are a little difficult to find in my city, but i know where to look now. (the albert heijn grocery store usually has tiny organic pumpkins, and there's one stand at the market with a really sweet old lady who is very patient and proper and lovely, and she sells sweet potatoes. occasionally the asian market in town will have them too.) carrot juice is also difficult to find, but there is a "natuurwinkel" (a health food store) that carries various vegetable juices, including tomato juice which apparently is supposed to help minimize leg cramps. it must be working because i have yet to get a charley horse (knock on wood).
and also, all of a sudden, i can't STAND lemons! it's the strangest thing, because earlier in my pregnancy i couldn't drink enough lemonade! i loved it! but now, all of a sudden, i hate lemons and lemon-scented things. i squeezed a lemon into my water over the weekend and almost threw up when i took my first sip. it was like drinking cleaning solution, like lysol or mop-n-glo or something. horrible!
mostly, i continue to feel really healthy and strong and peaceful. baby is active, adam is involved, and my body is comfortable (mostly). i'm soooo grateful for this experience. i hope this pregnancy continues to be as pleasant as it has been so far!