Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

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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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The infernal heat of Spain

July 10, 2009

Ok, I know I shouldn’t complain about too much sunshine after whining about our pathetic, cold Finnish summer. After all, I come from a country that some people think inhabits penguins and polar bears among us so some Mediterranean heat should be just what I need. WRONG. +40C  (104F) is just too much, especially when it’s accompanied with continuous burning sun without any clouds nor rain.

When we arrived to the airport our landlord was there to pick us with her car. Despite the language barrier we got along well and she took us to the apartment. Only that it was NOT the apartment I had seen in the pictures on the website, but since it was in good condition and seemed to have all the things promised we didn’t complain. And of course we are Finnish and can’t complain about anything because we are taught that is rude, so we tend to suffer in silence. It also turned out that the “air conditioning” consisted of one electric fan. One fan. In the whole apartment.

Our Andalucian home

Our Andalucian home

The town, Jerez de la Frontera, was very beautiful, old and not too touristic, with about 190 000 inhabitants. That also meant that English wasn’t spoken in most of the places and even if the people understood it they answered in Spanish. But we got along thanks to the dictionary and sign language 🙂 The Spanish people were like the total opposites of Finns; loud, social and spontaneous. And southern European traffic is a chapter to itself…

Fountain near our apartment (there were fountains everywhere)

Fountain near our apartment (there were fountains everywhere)

Sceneries of the town

Sceneries of the town

Since we had rented an apartment we did a lot of cooking by ourselves and only ate out a couple of times. The local cuisine consists mostly of fish and seafood since the town is located near the coastline, but we did some fish dishes also by ourselves. The food in the supermarkets was much cheaper than in Finland.

My huge pizza with shrimps (this one I had in Sevilla)

My huge pizza with shrimps (this one I had in Sevilla)

DH cooking

DH cooking

..And the final outcome, very yammy although the fries burned a little in the oven

..And the final outcome, very yammy although the fries burned a little in the oven

The weather didn’t cool off even during the nights. You could easily walk at night with the same summer clothes on you had during the day. I had to sleep with the fan turned to maximum and still was sweating like a pig. Also all the shops were closed during siesta at 2PM to 18PM because it was just too hot to be out at the afternoon hours, so we usually spent that time napping. You couldn’t really watch the telly because everything was in Spanish, even the American tv-shows. I can’t understand the European countries who dub all programs; people will never hear the real voices of the actors. But it’s kinda funny to watch Simpsons or Buffy the vampire slayer talking in Spanish 🙂

We visited the local zoo, which was great. I saw a lot of animals I’ve never seen live before, Helsinki zoo sucks and we don’t have any exciting animals here. Like the hippos!

Despite their gentle looks these guys kill a lot of people in Africa every year

Despite their gentle looks these guys kill a lot of people in Africa every year

One evening we went to see a flamenco show at a restuarant and planned to have dinner before that. The food was awful and we had maybe the laziest waiter ever and there was a huge cockroach running around the tables but the show was awesome. There were only 3 American tourists with us as the audience but the dancers gave us a very intensive performance.

The performers on stage

The performers on stage

Flamenco dancer

Flamenco dancer

Alley in the evening

Alley in the evening

We also visited Cadiz which was a small town in the coast an hour’s train trip away. It is said to be one of Europe’s oldest towns. We went to the beach there, but it was again so hot we could only stay for an hour (in the shadow). The sand was so burning hot you couldn’t stand on it without shoes on. But we got to swim in the Atlantic 🙂

A local cathedral and market place

A local cathedral and market place

Me in the local street

Me in the local street

The beach in Cadiz

The beach in Cadiz

We also visited Sevilla one day and it was filled with tourists. And it was also burning hot there so we only stayed a few hours before returning back with the blissful, airconditioned bus. The last days we spent mainly on shopping for things to bring to our relatives and ourselves. I bought a very pretty dress for only 10 euros and a few shirts from the sales I hope to wear even later during this pregnancy. Jeans would have been really cheap too but since I’m now starting to develop something you could maybe call a belly I thought it wasn’t a good idea to buy them. There would have been also a lot of baby clothes shops, but since the spaniards seem to prefer dressing their children in ruffles in either blue or pink we didn’t buy anything since we don’t know the sex and are not going to find out before birth.

Spain didn’t fall into my top 5 countries I’ve visited but it was mainly because of the heat. You couldn’t really enjoy yourself when you were constantly sweating. I think spring or autumn would be much nicer times to visit the country, but since the tickets we won had to be used in July we didn’t really have any other option.

When we arrived home (to the heavenly rain and coldness!) there were two letters waiting for me. Another had some really shitty news in it;  I’m not entitled to any unemployement benefits during the time I have done any freelancer work. That sucks so much. I have no money at the moment and had very little work during the spring. I’ve already applied for some work places but who’s gonna hirea a preggo woman? Another had better news in it; it was about the blood test they did with the NT-scan and the results came back with a very minor risk for the trisomy.

Nausea has vanished almost entirely. My face looks still like a pizza but not as bad as a couple of weeks ago. My boobs have grown bigger, I think that’s the symptom DH is loving the most… I get terrible heart burn attacks that almost paralyze me and my belly swells after eating anything. And I’m still shit scared every other second that is the baby still alive or not. I’m 13w2days today.

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Some sunshine in the middle of this shit

May 8, 2009

I’m almost 100% sure this was a chemical, I’ve been cramping a lot and have very minimal symptoms otherwise. No spotting or bleeding though. I keep getting a faint line on the hpts but I know you can get it long after the embryo has stopped living. I haven’t given up all hope that a miracle would happen and the numbers would be magical on Monday, but I know the minimal odds for that.

But something else miraculous happened! I got a call a minute ago from a strange number. Of course my first thought was “fuck those telemarketers”, but it wasn’t someone trying to sell a gossip magazine this time. It was from the Finnish airlines, Finnair. On the day of the embryo transfer as I walked to the subway through mall I stopped and filled out a coupon for a travel tickets lottery. Now they called and said I’ve won flights to Andalucia, Spain, for 2 persons!!! I’m so freaking happy!!! Because of our financial situation there was not going to be any trips for us this summer. But now we get to travel! YAY! I don’t speak a word of Spanish but I’m sure we’ll manage 🙂 Sunshine, here I come!

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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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Travel fever

March 19, 2009

I’ve got it really bad… I want to go everywhere. I’m even having actual dreams of Norway, Iceland and Russia.

And now I’ve actually started to plan a trip to Eastern Europe by train for next autumn. First we would take cheap flights somewhere there and then buy a train pass for a few weeks. I’m thinking Czech, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia.. Possibly Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania. I so want to go. I want to carry the weight of a packback, fall asleep in a train, watch the sceneries and countries change, visit new towns, meet new people…

If the FETs will fail I will go and persuade DH to go with me. Fuck I’ll sell a kidney if I have to. If we can’t get a baby I will need to do this or I’ll fall to pieces. And if the FETs will fail I’ll have go to queu for the surgery for 6 months anyway so what else would I do waiting for my next IVF than travel? OK there’s a slight chance that the FET could succeed. Needless to say, that would put my travel fever away for some time.

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Tomorrow!

January 19, 2009

Yaikes, tomorrow it all begins! It still isn’t sinking in properly, that we are actually doing this. It just doesn’t feel like it’s happening to me. I guess by the time I’lle be poking the needles in me it’ll be quite hard to ignore the fact that it’s my belly where the needles sting into. I’ll be taking the nasal spray every 12 hours. Because my memory is like cottage cheese I have to put a reminder on my cell for every day. DH pointed out to RE that he’s lucky not to be the one who has to take all the meds in special order and given times because he’d be sure to use them in the wrong order and wrong times 🙂

On Friday we took my sis and her hubby to the airport as they left to Vietnam for 2 weeks. I was SO jealous. Flying off to an exotic, warm place would be just what I need right now. Travelling is an essential part of me and it makes me incredibly sad that we won’t have money to any trips abroad this year. All my best memories are associated with travel; my first interrail trip at 16, another with my cousin a few years later, spending the 5 months in the Netherlands, last summer’s vacation in Slovenia… I’m still sometimes playing with the thought of doing an interrail trip  again although I know too well I don’t have the stamina of a 16-year old any more and sleeping on a train’s floor after partying the whole night would probably be too demanding. I love trains though; even traveling the two hours by train to my sister’s gives me a certain satisfaction; the feel of moving  from a place to another; the opportunities of travel it represents.

On Saturday I went with my friend J to a film festival to see a document about the extreme capitalism in today’s Russia. It told the story of three russian girls; one was selling her virginity on the internet, another participated in a big brother-like reality show and third one dreamed of becoming the next Madonna, only ending up as a stripper in a worn off club a little later. Very thought provoking and interesting to watch.

We had a tough kickboxing training yesterday; 45 minutes of technique and then another 45 minutes of exercise (sit-ups, push-ups, skipping rope..) No wonder I feel like a train has ran over me. When I’ll start the injections I’ll stop training during the ivf-treatment. Well hopefully for a much longer time 🙂

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Greetings from Tallinn!

September 8, 2008

Had a great weekend! On Friday after the sweaty kickboxing training I headed to town with DH and two of his band friends (they have a new kickass stoner band that’s going to rock the world and make us rich :D) to go see the annual FInnish championship of fireworks. We watched the first two sets, had some cider and beer and then bought a pizza that we shared at the street before heading to a pub nearby for the rest of the evening.

The bass player of the band is also my cousin’s boyfriend and the father of my goodson. He told me how much they are both hoping fo this IUI to work and for us to have a baby too (their son was born in April). I was really touched  by his words, because I could tell they were straight from his heart. Ok, we were all tipsy at the point but still, you don’t often hear Finnish men talk like that.

On Saturday morning we headed to the port and the ship to Tallinn left at 11.30 and 2,5 hours later we arrived there. First we got to the hotel to leave our bags and then went to get something to eat and drink before the dinner. The hotel was situated just 0,5km from the port and in the middle of the beautiful old town. The room was quite small and didn’t have a double bed which was definetely a minus.

Our hotel in the old town

Our hotel in the old town

The room

The room

I would love a house like this!

I would love to live in a house like this!

The local dentist. Ha-ha.

The local dentist. Ha-ha.

Tallinn’s old town is very picturesque; it dates back to 13th century as Tallinn was one of the Hansa-cities in the Middle Ages. Nowadays it’s filled with tourists, Finns being the biggest group. The main reason most Finns travel to Estonia is the low price of liquor compared to Finland. It’s ridiculous; first the Finnish booze is imported to Estonia and then the Finnish tourists come over the sea by boat and carry it back to Finland…  Unlike most foreigners think, Finnish is not a language related to other scandinavian languages. So a Finn doesn’t understand a word of Swedish if he hasn’t been taught it in school. Estonian, however comes from the same finno-ugric language family and for us their language sounds very funny but sometimes comprehensible. It’s like Finnish spelled wrong or pidgin.

For us the reason to come to Tallinn was this:

a very happy tourist

a very happy tourist

The russian restaurant called Troika. We dined there first time 1,5 years ago when visiting Tallinn together for the first time (got engaged during the same trip). It’s maybe the best restaurant I’ve ever been to. The food is great (that’s russian pancakes with roe, onion and sour cream on my plate), the atmosphere is very cosy and they have all kinds of performances from accordion music to go-go dancers. We had a three course dinner with a bottle of red wine and of course some vodka shots 😉 You could say it’s a tourist trap but a very fine one.

waiter pouring vodka

waiter pouring vodka

DH's dessert, flambéed fruits

DH's dessert. flambéed fruits

After all the eating we were so tired we just crawled back to the hotel and went to bed already around 10.30 PM. I guess I’ve grown  middle-aged when I love eating more than a hard party night! Next day before the ship sailed back we did some shopping. We got russian sparkling wine (you can’t get it from Finland), local candies and for me sexy French lingerie.

our shopping

our shopping

YES I know our baby will be made in a clinic with the doctor but it won’t hurt either to try the normal style too! The choice of underwear in estonian shops differed quite much from the Finnish shops; everything was more clourful, more ruffled, more extreme, and of course sexier. But so are the Estonian women too. Whereas their Finnish sisters prefer comfortability and practicality in their dressing even if that means looking boring; the Estonian girls have stiletto heels on whether it’s raining or snowing, have always perfect hairdos and lots of makeup and prefer to be wrapped in fur and gold.

On our way back we watched the real middle-aged turn wild at the ship’s disco when they started to play the Finnish golden oldies. Very entertaining!

This morning I had again an appointment with the dentist and also did the CD7 bloodwork at my workplace’s clinic. Had to wait almost an hour at the lab, I was so frustrated because they had like one person doing the tests and maybe 30 patients in the queu. Sometimes all the clinics, whether public or private, just seem too inefficient. U/S is on Wednesday, I’m hoping to O already on Friday or then next week because the clinic is closed on the weekend.