I don’t even really know how to start with this, so I guess I’ll just say it…
I’m pregnant. Currently almost 24 weeks, which is honestly amazing. I never thought I would make it this far. On Thursday, I’ll have officially reached viability. Babies born at this stage at least have a chance to survive… doctors will try to save them. Such a milestone!
Of course, nothing is ever simple for us. At 18 weeks and 5 days, three days before my birthday, I went for an anatomy scan where we found out that our baby has spina bifida. The one thing that was not even vaguely on my radar. I had been taking high dose folic acid since around 6 weeks and a normal dose for 5 years before that. So you can imagine it was a shock. I had to come back the next day for an amniocentesis, then we spent the next two weeks going to appointments and meeting with specialists. After an MRI followed by a very long discussion with a specialist in Zurich we finally decided on our next step – fetal, or in-utero surgery. So on 24th September I’ll be going into hospital and on the 27th I’ll undergo an operation so that they can repair the defect in our baby’s back before I even give birth, thus preventing even more damage to the nerves during the course of the rest of my pregnancy.
All that to say things will be pretty quiet around here for a while. Even more so than they have been anyway, that is. I will be able to respond to comments while in hospital and will probably visit other people’s blogs but it’s unlikely that I’ll attempt a post from my phone. But hey, at least I’ll have plenty of extra time to read for a couple of weeks!
I feel like such a cliché writing this post, but at some point it has to be done, so…
I am pregnant. With twins. Yes, really! I am currently almost 14 weeks tomorrow according to me, Saturday according to the doctors) and my official due date is mid-March, although with multiples it could end up being February… Now that I’m in the second trimester, I’m feeling a lot more confident that things will go smoothly and we will actually be parents at the end of this, so I finally feel comfortable telling the entire world my news.
I don’t want to turn this blog to turn into some kind of pregnancy blog (or parenting blog when it gets to that stage) – partly because I believe my children have a right to not be plastered all over the Internet but also because I know I have readers who just don’t care about pregnancies and babies (which is totally cool) and I don’t want to alienate them, and I also know I have readers who are still struggling with fertility issues and the absolute last thing I want to do is cause them any more pain. Trust me, I know what it’s like to want a baby more than anything and for it to just not work. However, my blog has always been about my life and this kind of is going to be a big part of my life from now on, so it wouldn’t make sense to ignore it completely. Phew, all that just to say please feel free to ignore any pregnancy posts and just skip to the ones that interest you – be that book reviews, travel posts or whatever else… I promise to try to post a little more often now the secret’s out! And if you have questions feel free to ask. I can’t promise to answer quickly though since we have visitors coming tomorrow so I expect to be busy for a few days.
I hope you sang the title while you were reading it, because I certainly did while writing it 😉
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. But 1) it wasn’t entirely my news to tell and 2) it wasn’t actually official until just before Christmas. Obviously I couldn’t say anything on here until things were 100% definite and all my real-life people knew! However, now contracts have been signed, bosses have been spoken to and family/friends have been informed, which means I can also blog about it without any risk of someone who should have been told by official means stumbling across my news via my blog (unlikely, but possible).
At the end of last year, Jan was offered a job in Basel (he wasn’t even applying for jobs at the time… he had worked on a project with them once and when a position opened up they called him). After paying a visit to the company, negotiating a few things (such as a few days off during the probation period as he will still have students to supervise here) and working out whether the pay really is as good as it sounds (Switzerland being an expensive country), the decision was finally made that Jan would take the job and the contract was signed and sent off just before Christmas. (Phew, complicated sentence there. Sorry!) (Also sorry for the overuse of brackets).
Although Basel is close enough to Karlsruhe for a day trip, it is definitely not close enough to commute! So some time around March/April we shall be moving to the Basel area. Jan starts on 1st April, so he’ll go first, probably in March, then I’ll join him at the end of April. Whether the move will actually take us to Switzerland or whether we’ll stay on the German side of the border is yet to be decided, but either way it will be an adventure! While I will miss my friends and some other things, having lived in Karlsruhe for longer than I’ve spent in one place ever in my entire life, it feels like a good time to move on and try something new. In the meantime, the next few months will be dedicated to trying out all the places in Karlsruhe I never got round to visiting, and also making sure to check out all the old haunts at least once more. There are a lot of places I need to day farewell to!
Our next step will be to meet with an adviser who specialises in cross-border employment. He will hopefully help us with the decision on where to live, then we’ll be flat hunting, packing and dealng with bureaucracy for the next few months (and then more bureaucracy after we move!). As for what I’ll be doing when we get there… well, I should be able to telecommute. My (new!*) boss likes the idea and has said he sees no reason why it shouldn’t be possible. All we need to do is work out details. So keep your fingers crossed that works out!
*Just to make things extra complicated, my company was sold at the end of last year so I now have 2 new bosses! I only spoke with one of them as the other wasn’t there that day. Oh, and when I wrote the e-mail asking for the meeting my female boss assumed I was pregnant! (I’m not, before you ask.) Male boss correctly guessed I was quitting because he remembered that my boyfriend was due to finish his PhD soon. This probably says something interesting about the differences between men and women.
I was about to go to bed last night, when I noticed a friends status on Facebook. “Explosions at a marathon? Who even does that?“. So I switched on the news (we have a TV now so I can do that) and learned about the (presumed) attacks at the Boston Marathon. I have no words to even describe how I feel. As my friend said, who does that? At a marathon… a happy occasion. A time for people to celebrate their achievements and have fun. Three dead, said the news this morning, and at least 140 injured. A fire that broke out later at JFK library may or may not be related to the blasts. Even if it isn’t, the marathon part is bad enough.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, at least 31 people were killed and more than 200 others injured in a series of explosions in Iraq yesterday morning. No mention of those on Facebook, I notice. And on Sunday 29 people died as a result of suicide bombings in Somalia. Elsewhere, there arestories of teenagers stabbing each other to death, people ritoing in the streets after football matches (I refuse to refer to such idiotic people as “fans”) and people being jailed over a “Family fued shooting”. Even here in Karlsruhe, I read tales of muggings and fights – and Germany is actually incredibly safe compared to some places (including Britain!). With so much hate in the world, I sometimes wonder why we even bother to carry on. I suppose all we can do is try to spread a little love and happiness within our own circle.
Normal blogging service willl resume tomorrow. For now, I have no words.