Archive for the ‘Finland’ Category

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Snow

December 20, 2010

Going to the grocery store

It has been snowing like crazy in Helsinki area. We have now more snow than LAPLAND. Yesterday we were at a christmas happening with my sis selling jewelry the whole day and after that I had to dig our car out of the snow, seriously ther was half a meter of it. Luckily it’s not too cold all the time! We’ve had some -20C days but today was a tolerable -5C without wind.

S is almost walking now on his own. He spends the days getting into trouble keeps me busy. One of our cats loves to play with him and doesn’t mind the rough handling at all. He changed his rythm into one nap a day all of a sudden, 1,5 months ago he still needed three!  Nights are still a bit restless as we are trying to get rid of the bottle and pacifier. No real words yet but some that are almost there like “äiti” (mom), “kissa” (cat) and “lamppu” (lamp).

We are spending christmas with my parents at my granny’s old house. That’s where I’ve spent my first christmas too 🙂

Happy holidays everyone!

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Swine flu jab and maternity package + pictures from a trip

October 25, 2009

Like many others I’m pondering about the swine flu jab; whether to take it or not. What are the risks of the vaccine compared to falling ill? Will I get a three-headed baby if I take it? Or will I end up having premature labor if I refuse to take it and catch the virus? Finland has started the vaccinations as the virus has now started to spread more efficiently in the northern part of the country. Apparently the vaccinations start in Helsinki area soon too, preggos and children being the first ones to get the jab.

I’ve googled and asked my friends who work in the medical field as well as my maternity nurse and it still seems a mystery to me. Most medical professional encourage expecting mothers to take it, but in the same time it’s emphasized that it’s the mother who will decide and that the vaccine isn’t 100% safe since it has been tested only for a little while. At the moment I’m more convinced that I will take it, since it’s the only way to protect the baby properly from the virus as the vaccine will protect the baby also 6 months after birth. Still at the same time I’m really scared about the what if-part, especially since it’s me who’s making that decision for my baby.

We got some baby stuff at home finally. My father renovated the baby bed he used to sleep in and me and my sisters too, and now it’s in the corner of our bedroom. Seems so strange to look at it, somehow it makes this feel even more concrete than my growing belly and the kicking baby inside. There’s actually going to be a baby sleeping in the same room with us. We also bought an used Ikea nursing table for 70 euros after noticing that nursing tables generally cost around 300 euros in furniture shops and are all white so not our style in any way.

Nursing table (picture not ours)

Nursing table (picture not ours)

I also got the maternity package in the mail on Thursday. In short, it’s a package including baby clothes, diapers and other handy stuff and all mothers in Finland will receive it for free after the pregnancy has lasted over 25 weeks or so. You can also choose to have 140 euros instead but since the package is very extensive I chose to get it. Many clothes in the package were a little retro-styled so exactly what I like 🙂 Behind the link you can see all of the contents (in English!).

Contents of the Finnish maternity package

Contents of the Finnish maternity package

We did a trip to a rented cottage about 200km away last weekend. Since we couldn’t travel to Lapland this year due to lack of money, we still wanted to have even a small getaway close to nature. So we chose this spot.

The cottage

The cottage

There was no running water or indoor bathroom, no neighbours and the sceneries were absolutely beautiful.

Terrace

Terrace

The scenary from the terrace

The scenary from the terrace

Inside it was really cosy and warm with a fireplace.

Sleeping spot

Sleeping spot

Me cooking

Me cooking

On the terrace there was also a hot tub that was heated with wood. It took DH 5 ours to heat the ice-cold well water to reasonable warmth but it was great to relax in the warm water when the temp outside was around +2C.

Hot tub

Hot tub

This is a sauna in a tent. We tried it out the second night. Exotic, even for us Finns...

This is a sauna in a tent. We tried it out the second night. Exotic, even for us Finns...

On Saturday we did a hiking trip to a national park about 50 km away from the cottage. Since walking uphill is already getting strenuous for me we only did a 5-6 km trip but I’m sure we’ll go back there some day.

Scenery from a cliff

Scenery from a cliff

Autumny forest

Autumny forest

Me walking over a hanging bridge

Me walking over a hanging bridge

Next week I’ll have the test for gestational diabetes, since all preggos over 25 expecting their first child are tested in Helsinki. Not really looking forward to it since I’ve had the same kind of test done as a child and I remember how yucky that sugary drink tasted… I think the results will be fine since I don’t have a family history of diabetes and my urine tests taken every month have been normal. But of course you never know. So far I’ve gained 9 kilos and my belly is 97 cm in diameter. I hardly fit even into my winter jacket anymore.

As much as I’ve enjoyed having a constant workplace (and salary!) I’m already dreaming of the maternity holiday. My work will end around 30th November so I’ll have 1,5 months just for myself at home. I will totally sleep 15 hours every night! Now that winter is coming it’s again the most depressing time of the years since it’s getting darker every day. Going to work with public transport totally sucks, since it takes me over an hour and I have to take 2 different buses + a train. Luckily next week DH won’t be needing the car so I get to drive to work. Something I never thought I’d enjoy, driving in the Helsinki traffic 🙂

Now I must head to the supermarket and get myself some lunch. Frozen pizza sounds inviting.

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Midsummer pics

June 26, 2009

We celebrated midsummer in Finland last weekend. It was freaking cold of course. But the cottage at the island by the sea was awesome. Me and DH stayed in a small sauna cabin just 10 meters from the sea and could hear the waves inside. Very relaxing, as was the whole weekend. Just going to sauna, swimming (the water was ice-cold), eating and chilling. I loved every second of it, even though the weather was cold and windy. There were 2 other preggo ladies (DH’s friend’s wife and DH’s friend’s sister) with me so if I hadn’t been pregnant myself the weekend would have been horrible, continuous stabs in the heart. Even still I really can’t identify myself within the “pregnant” group. And if I share my news with a friend who doesn’t know about our struggles I feel I need to tell them I’ve had if-treatments. I just can’t pretend to have been knocked up “normally”.

But here are some pics from the weekend:

Me in the boat

Me in the boat

Boys barbequing

Boys barbequing

View to the sea

View to the sea

In front of the sauna cabin

In front of the sauna cabin

Me and the sea

Me and the sea

Watching the bonfire

Watching the bonfire

The bonfire closer

The bonfire closer

After last weekend the weather changed totally. Now it’s real summer! This week has been great; for once I’ve been able to do all summerish stuff I’ve always wanted to. First I spent Tuesday with my friend M at the flea market selling our old stuff, me gaining 100 euros. On wednesday me, M and two other friends went to Suomenlinna which is an old fortress in an island just outside Helsinki (very popular with the tourists) and had a picnic (that lasted 4 hours). Today I’m going swimming to an outside pool with a friend and in the afternoon I’ll drive to my parents as tomorrow me and sis will be selling jewelry at a small rock festival near them. This is how summers should always be. I’ve been even able to wear my cute summer dresses 🙂

On Monday I had the first visit at the maternity counseling. They took my blood pressure (which was surprisingly ok, usually I have high figures), Hemoglobin (great 140!) and some pee tests. I was also weighed and so far I’ve only gained one kilo. My nurse was a bit goofy and didn’t understand anything about if-treatments. I also got all kinds of brochures about pregnancy and the list of foods I’m not allowed to eat now like blue cheese, roe and liver.

We had the NT-scan yesterday and everything seemed to be in order. The baby was so stubborn though that he/she didn’t want to have his profile picture taken and turn into right position  so the nurse had hard time measuring the nuchal translucency but somehow succeeded, it was 1.0mm which is fine. He/she measured now 4,7cm and again I was a few days ahead the previous schedule, so now my due date would be 10th January which is actually the due date I should have had originally compared to my treatment schedule.

My face still looks like a disgusting pizza and pretty much all acne medication is a big no-no when you are preggo. The morning sickness is more of evening sickness these days. And my belly gets ridiculously swollen after eating anything; yesterday after having salad I looked 5 months pregnant. I even had to buy myself new capri-pants from the flea market as the ones I had before don’t fit anymore. Today I’m either 11 weeks 2 days or 11 weeks 5 days, depending on which schedule I’m looking.

Next Tuesday we’ll leave for Spain! I reserved an apartment for us so we’ll be living in a real Andalusian house! The only problem is that the proprietor doesn’t really speak English and we don’t speak Spanish. Well, I hope we’ll manage somehow. After the trip I think I’ll come out of the closet and tell all my friends about the baby.

Have a great, sunny weekend everyone 🙂

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Pregnancy milestone

June 9, 2009

I puked for the first time this morning while brushing my teeth! Yes, I know you were all just dying to hear this enchanting detail 😀 Overall the nausea is almost 24/7 but still manageable if I remember to eat enough. Last Friday as I drove 2 hours to my sister I had a box of grapes and salt crackers on the passenger seat and munched them constantly.

Tomorrow is the next u/s. Although the symptoms are strong I’m still very anxious. All kinds of morbid, bad scenarios have been rolling in my head. I think it’s partly because it is still so difficult to believe that this could actually work for us. DH tries to sneak from his work to the clinic too. I hope this will be our final visit to that expensive place, everything will be fine and we can move on to the public healthcare (that doesn’t cost a penny!).

Last weekend’s visit at the market place wasn’t too profitable, since the average age of people there was around 60. And it was freezing cold. The joy of Finnish summers; +7C in June and I was wearing my autumn jacket and gloves. I hope the weather will change soon, as our Belgian guests are coming on Thursday and I would like them to enjoy sunny Helsinki.

Some pics from the market:

our beautiful market table

our beautiful market table

close-up on the earrings

close-up on the earrings

me, sis and a random old lady on the background

me, sis and a random old lady on the background

We bought a new sofa as the old one dated back to 1960’s and belonged first to my grandparents, then to my parents, then to sis and finally to me. All these years and people had worn it down so it was time to get a new one. We love it, and so do the cats.

The afternoon nap club

The afternoon kitten nap club

I just went to the supermarket to get some bacon. I know, I’m a disgusting person. But I craved some hangover-food, so I used it to bake a pie together with mushrooms, onion, pineapple and cheese. And a lot of butter. To my defense I have to say I haven’t still gained any weight, the little vampire I carry just sucks everything that I eat to her/himself.

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7w6days

June 3, 2009

I’m almost 8 weeks already! That is, if I’m counting correctly. Because of the low initial beta the length of my pregnancy is still a mystery, hopefully one that will be revealed on next week’s u/s. Which of course already makes me anxious, I hope everything will be ok, baby will have grown enough, has a strong heartbeat and we can stop worrying.

I feel nauseous most of the time but I’ve managed to avoid puking yet. I’m craving all fresh stuff like watermelon, grapes and fruit juices, and strangely coffee and chocolate (usually my biggest favorites) don’t sound too tempting at the moment. And I eat all the time but still gain no weight. In the evenings my belly looks bigger but that’s just probably because I’ve stuffed myself with food all day. Overall I have a strange zombie-like feeling, a little tired, headachy, dizzy and nauseous, like all energy would have been sucked out of me. I’m still cramping every now and then but not too bad. Apparently due to endo and lap my insides are quite scarred and the growing uterus makes those scars hurt.

We had some really warm sunny days but now it’s gray again. We are going with sis to sell jewelry on an outside market on Saturday, and the forecast promises rain and cold for the next weekend. They are also holding a sing-along happening on the market place at the same time. Awesome.

Next week we’ll get visitors from Belgium as a friend couple from there is coming for a cruise on Baltic Sea for their honeymoon. Can’t wait to see them, it’s been 2 years from last time already! I got to know them when I was studying in Maastricht and they’ve already visited Finland once after that.

Not much happening here, took the entrance exam for the Master’s programme last week and it was quite challenging. There was an article (in English) about usability and then some difficult questions based on the information. We’ll know in July how it went… Don’t have much work at the moment and the unemployement office hasn’t paid me anything yet either.

I’m still having difficulties to believe I’m actually preggo. Ok, I feel pregnant now but the the thought of us becoming parents for real after all is still too amazing to think too much about. I guess I’m holding my guard up just in case, after the disappointments I’m overly cautious about everything. I don’t want to share the news with everyone yet (and I know from my stats that I have basically 0 hits from Finland so no one I know is reading this), although quite many friends already know.

Our neighbour guessed right away at our 90’s party because I wasn’t drinking the usual way. Apparantely my non-alcoholic ciders weren’t convincing enough to fool him. In Finland it’s basically impossible to keep your pregnancy a secret if you are going to a party/bar/restaurant. Everyone expects you to drink if you have done so before and if you are having only water/coke/coffee it immediately raises questions. Saying “I just don’t feel like drinking today” is no excuse. Because everyone feels like drinking, especially now it’s summer and the terrace bars are open. Even at my cousin’s daughter’s graduation party last weekend I’m sure people wondered why I took my glass from the children’s tray for toasting. Luckily DH followed my example so that might have distracted my nosy relatives because nobody asked anything.

My cousin gave me this amazing present. It’s a silver bola-necklace originally traditionally worn in Bali by pregnant women. There’s a little bell inside the ball that makes a pretty sound when you move and when the baby starts to hear it’ll hear the sound too and recognize it when he/she is born. I know our baby is still too small to hear anything but I wear it anyway since it’s so pretty 🙂

A bola-necklace

A bola-necklace

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2 more hours

April 22, 2009

..until FET. I’m surprised how calm I’ve been feeling about this. I know there’s a big chance that none of the embryos will survive the thawing, and yet I’m hoping even to get two of them transfered today. Keep your fingers crossed we get someone on board!

A friend of mine is afraid she’s pregnant after dating the guy for only a couple of months and now having all the possible pregnancy symptoms. It’s funny how there are two sides to this coin, others of us trying to push the mountains to get preggo, others having sleepless nights dreading thought of a positive tests. Hell, I was even scared shitless when doing a test back in 2004 and was so happy for the negative result. Ha! Like there’s a chance I would get pregnant the normal way! Of course, with the sense of humor the universe has to offer; my friend will be preggo and I won’t. I also discovered that another friend couple (who already have a 2 year old) are on ttc again. Soon I’ll have to bite my teeth and pretend a smile for them too when they’ll announce their happy news. Yes I am bitter and jealous because there are people who can actually breed without the invasion of dildocam, petri dish and cathetre.

Last weekend at Tammisaari was great. It’s a very picturesque and romantic town, I’d love to live in a place like that! I think we are going to start a tradition of going to that cottage every year, since this was already our second visit. We did a little geocaching, had sparkling wine  and dined in an Italian restaurant. Too bad that they only had the menu in Swedish (they have a Swedish speaking majority in most of the coast towns) and me and DH both suck in that language. But we managed to get something to eat 🙂

the cottage

the cottage

me in the park

me in the park

the town

the town

a small alley

a small alley

DH found the cache under the pier

DH found the cache under the pier

Breakfast, including my lovely Prednisone dosage

Breakfast, including my lovely Prednisone dosage

View from the window

View from the window

As you can see from what we are wearing (me in my eskimo-jacket), it is still very cold here. Like +3C. And it’s almost May! I want to have proper, warm spring and an even warmer summer! I want to wear all my nice spring shoes, dresses and jackets! Especially the red beauties I posted before.

On the work frontier it’s very quiet, too quiet actually. I hope projects will emerge soon. Luckily I have a booking for 3 days next month, but that doesn’t cover everything I need money for.

I started the orienteering season on Monday! It was great, although I didn’t run almost at all because I was feeling a bit fluish and didn’t want to risk anything. But I found all spots and even managed to get to the starting point on my own by car (a major thing for me). On the way home I had to go to the supermarket for grocery shopping, and there  I was in my track suit, like any horrible suburbian creature I swore I’d never become 😀

Yaikes, soon I’ll have to go, I’ll post more later!

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Ikea, the Swedish conspiracy

January 20, 2009

It’ s a known fact that Finns are extremely jealous of their  Swedish neighbours. Compared to our shy, self-aware and grumpy nature and constant dwelling in misery the Swedes seem to confidently succeed in everything they do, preserving their manners always and holding a perfect smile throughout their lives. Finland was a part of Sweden from the 13th century until 1809 (when we became a part of Russia). We have a Swedish speaking minority of 6% and the majority sees them as snotty, rich elite who only play amongst their own. After all, they represent the Swedish super humans with their perfect tans and sailing pullovers.

Swedes have H&M (I remember the first time visiting one in Stockholm, it was like heaven back in 1994). They actually own half of the clothing retail shop chains in Finland. Swedes had Roxette (my first favourite band ever). They had ABBA. They have Volvo. When our teams play ice-hockey against each other, the swedes always make magical 4 goals during the last 30 seconds and win. Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Uma Thurman all have Swedish roots. The only celebrity we have with Finnish roots is Pamela Andersson. Fuck, they even have stolen our meatballs. They are FINNISH, not Swedish. And then they have Ikea.

Ikea is the Swedish conspiracy to lure people with affordable prices to turn their homes into miniature Swedens. Everything is functional, simple and stylish in a low-key manner. Ikea is also the shop where you are most likely to get into a fight with the person you are going there with. I don’t know if they spray something into the air that turns people crazy. Or maybe it’s just the frustration that us finns as customers develope when encountering the Swedish dream. I’ve experienced and witnessed this Ikea-syndrom several times when visiting the shop. I’ve had crazy fights on home decoration with my ex there, I’ve seen my sister having crazy fights with her ex over stupid furniture. I’ve seen strangers fighting over discount bowls. The place always get’s my blood pressure to the hights. Like yesterday too.

Me and DH had planned to get new curtains to living room. I looked up Ikea’s homepage and they had nice-looking, red panel curtains with a cheap price. So we decided to visit the shop yesterday after I got off from work. Our gps didn’t know Ikea (maybe it was designed by jealous Finns who just wanted to leave it off the map) but luckily we somehow remembered how to drive there. We skipped the furniture exhibit part and headed straight to the shop part. You would think finding a specific product with its name written on a piece of paper would be easy.

Wrong answer! Anno Tupplur just didn’t want to be found. We walked a circle in the textiles section (it’s not that big even) for 15 minutes swearing like sailors. Where the fuck are those curtains? All we could find was normal curtains, not the panel ones. We left the section and finally found one clerk (she was the only one in the 10000 km2 shop I guess) who told us to go back to the section we left. We walked the same circle for about 10 more minutes and I witnessed a crazy fight with a teenage girl and her mother about what color of curtains should the daughter purchase. Then DH came to me with a red roll in his hand. It was the curtains packed in a plastic roll. I went to look the examples they had hanging just to notice that they were too wide and would have required sewing. So no curtains for us. Of course you can’t exit Ikea empty-handed, so we bought  a few storage boxes and some towels to the bathroom.

Ikea also earns the place for my top 5 of worst places for an infertile. Yep; a zillion preggo bellies there.

Assembling the Ikea goods together is a whole another story. The parts never fit, there’s always a few screws missing from the package and you’ll have to use brutal force to get your Dippa-Dappan into something resembling distantly a piece of furniture. And yes; we still are extremely jealous that Ikea wasn’t a Finnish invention.

I do have Ikea book shelf. And towels. And bowls. And picture frames. And curtains. Ok, I’ve selled a part of me to the Swedish satan because I don’t have money to shop elsewhere. But they haven’t been able to turn me into an optimistically smiling, tanned sailor yet.