Second trimester of my first pregnancy: The Karate Kid

As I am entering the last week of my second trimester, I look back to it trying to figure out what stuck out the most about it. If during my first trimester things felt like an intense roller coaster of changes, these past 3 months have actually been serene.

It is said that, indeed, the second trimester is the easiest one. You are in between the hormonal/vomit storm and the Alien: Resurrection phase. You are still mobile and your energy is back on track. Plus, there are plenty of highlights to enjoy, especially if it’s your first pregnancy,

But let me detail each part of it, as I have experienced it.

Pump the Bump

During my first trimester I could easily get by as bloated or an avid beer lover. My bump was not so noticeable and I was shamelessly looking forward to the special treatment pregnant ladies get from everyone. Around week 20-21, I really started showing and was happy to see endearing looks on the street and to have strangers ask me about it. By the way, at this point we were already back in Spain, and you must know that it’s a very child-friendly country.

People bring their babies and toddlers everywhere, you can see kids playing in restaurants, hanging around with the adults until later in the evening and everyone is really excited about new babies and pregnancy announcements. Romania is pretty much the same, as we share the traditional family life, although I would say Romanians are a bit more strict with their kids.

Keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

But back to the bump. Now, at 27 weeks, I can feel that it starts to get in the way and impact my body more and more. It’s getting harder to bend over and I have introduced a lot of maternity clothes or bump-friendly options. I can’t button any of my pants, so I use the hair tie trick or better go with elastic waists. But the superstars of my wardrobe are, by far, my summer dresses. My advice would be to avoid spending money on special maternity clothes and go for alternatives that you will be able to wear afterwards too.

Practicing non-sleeping

Another side effect of the bigger bump is tricky sleeping. Although I always slept on my side, being forced to only do that is surprisingly limiting. I miss turning on my belly and even sleeping on my back. To avoid tossing too much and to provide proper support, one would ideally use pillows all around. But it doesn’t work for me: 2017 is the hottest year ever recorded, I am in the South of Spain and we don’t have AC. No pillows for this bump, thank you.

More energy, more exercise?

I am ashamed to say that no, I haven’t exercised more. Heat is the biggest factor, because effort leads to dizziness really fast. With the increased blood flow and extended network of vessels, blood pressure can drop in certain circumstances. Dehydration is also noticed immediately and my body began bombarding me with Braxton Hicks contractions. In my case, they show when I walk or clean around the house, or when I am dehydrated. My belly turns hard all around and I get this tightening feeling, like having a rubber band ball in my stomach.

Hi, mommy!

The Karate Kid

One of the most exciting highlights of the second trimester is when you start feeling the baby move and kick. For me, this began around week 20 and it does feel like fluttering – butterflies in the stomach or popcorn popping. At first, you may get overly excited about gases moving in your bowels, but it’s an honest mistake.

Later, the baby really starts kicking and can be felt by the others too. Then you can actually see the belly move and you can tell where the baby’s head is by the asymmetrical bulging.

So what baby model did we acquire?

For some, including me, the baby’s gender is big news and I was super excited to find out. From the beginning of the pregnancy we have been talking about names and referring to it and somehow we inclined to think it’s a she. Which she is, my little amazon princess. Also, the Chinese gender chart was right, which prompted us to test it on our friends and family members. Our conclusion: the internet has different versions of the chart and only some are accurate.聽Finding out did not really influence any of the preparations, feelings or thoughts about the baby. But we did started calling her by her name and this made the bond stronger. We talk and sing to her and she responds with awesome low kicks and headbutts.

Well, these would be the major highlights of the second trimester, but I would love to write to you about the medical care I received in Spain, the food I have been eating and the nesting period. If you have any other curiosities, please let me know.

So long, grasshoppers, and stay tuned for more updates on the blog.

 

Growing avocado from seed is a game of patience

By living in Spain, I get to enjoy one of my long-time goals of growing my own plants. Back home I did not have any success, I even managed to kill a cactus by over watering, so I thought I’m an incurable plant killer. Spain is notoriously sunny and we are lucky enough to live in one of those nice white houses, sharing the garden and pool with our lovely neighbors. Our part of the house has a large balcony which gets quite a lot of sunlight, so that is my new Savage Garden headquarters.

We started with the lovely experiment of planting avocado from seed. Because it’s gimmicky and because you get to see it come to life and we love everything about the plant. I did not expect it to test our patience for so long, though.

How to sprout an avocado seed in water

For the sake of having a live demonstration of emerging life, I chose the water method, which allows you to see the sprouting in all its glory. I did a little research online and got back from the market with two avocados that made a great guacamole. I went with two pits for two reasons: they can keep each other company and I increase my chances of having a little plant.

I washed the pits very well, got rid of all traces of flesh and used the toothpick method.

img-20160819-wa0000

One of the pits was put in water a week later than the other, which is why you will see a clear difference in growth between the two.聽The tutorials vary quite a lot when it comes to the water replacement: from daily, to weekly to not at all (just adding water as needed). On hot days or when they were left in the sun, I replaced the water daily, but it was done once every few days, even once a week. I think it’s good for them to have oxygenated water聽so I would go with replacing the water as often as possible.

Sprouting of the root

After three weeks, we finally got a sprout. The seed started to crack by itself and you could see the tiny root emerging. As you can see, the brown peel is almost gone. I did not remove it from the beginning, thinking it’s too invasive, but after sitting in water for more than two weeks, it came off by itself and I removed it when replacing the water. The second seed was still intact.

20160909_114019-1

After a month, you can see a聽slow but steady growth of the root. At this point, I was staring at it and talking to it, hoping that it would speed up the process, but it sped聽up my impatience. Seed #2 does not appear in pictures because it does not do anything yet.

20160915_135319

Five weeks since the planting we have this:

20160923_160911

Sprouting of the stem

Two months from planting, seed number two is showing its face! It was slower than the first one and it had some trouble cracking. I could see the root sprouting, but the stone was not cracked all the way, being kept together by the hardened peel. A quick snipping with a small pair of scissors did the trick. Seed #1 already has a short stem, making me a proud gardener. Look at the difference:

20161019_164108

After 10 weeks, I am finally looking at something green:

20161026_152737

As happy as I was to see the small green leafs forming, I started to get worried about some mold that has been forming on the cracks of the peel and the water edge. I have carefully wiped the white dusty stuff with a聽paper towel and hoped for the best. In retrospective, maybe some anti-fungal solution would have been good to use. The root is already curling at the bottom of the glass and having small ramifications. As long as the root has a white, active growing tip and the leafs seem healthy, the plant is doing fine.

This is the last photo I took of seed #1, 14 weeks from seeding. The leafs have grown, the聽stem has reached about 6 inches and it looks great. Most tutorials advise that you prune the plant when it reaches this height. I didn’t do it, it felt like masochism after waiting so long for this little thing to grow.

20161124_145803

Transplanting into soil

I did transplant both seeds in a tall flower pot (20 cm) with regular soil and some pebbles on the bottom to facilitate water drainage. I covered the seeds with soil only half way, to leave the top uncovered (just as they were in water). Another improvisation was to put them both in the same pot, I don’t know if this will seriously overcrowd them but we’ll see.

By the time the transplant happened, we have adopted an insane adolescent dog we named Susi (we will talk plenty about her in another post). As soon as I transplanted the avocados in the pot, I turned my back for 1 minute and found one leaf聽“stapled” by my dog’s sharp teeth. It’s a miracle she didn’t tear the whole thing apart, so I’m thankful.

I have no pictures of the pot because I did it on the last day before leaving to Finland for the winter holidays. Now, my neighbor is the plant sitter, so I’m excited to see how the plants will look when I return. I’ll be back soon with an update! Can’t wait to see how they’re doing.

 

A small introduction

What you will find on this page

I’m excited to give you travel journals with plenty of pictures, recipes, DIY tutorials, gardening experiences, language and expat life hacks, maybe some movie or music posts and special appearances by cats (because I love the little rascals).

My story

Almost 8 months since I have arrived from my home in Romania to the beautiful region of Granada. Why? Searching for happiness, a new inspiration, searching for myself… Maybe needing a vacation too much lately.

clipboard02

Why Spain? Because jam贸n and because the rain here stays mainly on the plain, or so I’ve heard somewhere. I have moved to Lecrin in the Valley of Joy – Valle de la Alegr铆a and already explored some of its beauty, but this is only the beginning.

I am lucky enough to have a head start with this big change聽because I am not alone in this experience and I already had new friends to make and聽insight about the life here. But accommodating still takes time, I have exciting projects and goals ahead of me and each interaction, each day and each experience teach me something new.

Having this blog is my personal journal and documentation, but I am also very eager to share my experiences and some of the little joys in my life.

Feel free to leave comments and ask anything!