We had just given up on getting pregnant with a second baby when we found out we were posted to Germany. They were going to pay us substantially more than in Canada and we were going to travel for the next 4 years. Traveling with a 3 year old isn’t as horrible as it sounds, considering he will be 6.5 years old when we return to Canada.
Shortly after we arrived and got settled in, we found out that we were pregnant. I hear traveling with newborns is a lot easier than with toddlers – they just sleep and eat all day. If this baby is anything like it’s big brother, all it will need is a face to look at all day and it will be happy to sit in the stroller or be worn in a wrap all day.
Pregnant in the field
We were planning on going to Disneyland Paris (DLP) in November/December and we started to make plans for each long weekend between now and the week we head home, taking into account school holidays and vacation days hubby is allowed from work. Since hubby’s vacation days don’t roll over into the next year, we will make our own long weeks since I don’t forsee 2 weeks in a hotel with a small baby as a viable option. Christmas vacation will be interesting.
So far, the hardest part has been being a stay at home mom while being pregnant. The morning sickness isn’t too bad, just nausea, but it’s enough to drain a lot of energy. Add that to an energetic toddler that drains energy, there isn’t much left to function. I found myself sleeping on the couch for an hour or two while he played nicely with his toys and watched Diego on the TV. Every mom knows that day time sleeping, even if the kid is sleeping as well, is not entirely peaceful; one ear is always on the lookout for kids getting into something they shouldn’t. I can’t remember how many times I have dozed off on the couch, only to be woken up by him tiptoeing across the living room trying to get into the kitchen for a snack.
Can’t do that anymore
Because we used to pick him up whenever he asked, he was finding my pregnancy hard as well, and it has only been 2 months. I am not able to pick him up for extended periods of time, and sometimes not at all if I am not feeling well. I try to get him to ask his dad to pick him up but he has days where he doesn’t like his dad, with is frustrating for both of us (for various reasons, obviously). Munchkin tries to get me to sit with him on the floor and play his train tracks or lego and I just can’t do it anymore. Even only being 2 months pregnant, sitting that way is extremely uncomfortable and eventually hurts my stomach and sides. Toddler group last week was praising him for playing by himself for so long – his choice, not mine by the way. I felt kinda bad for this accomplishment though, I know that self-entertainment is an important milestone for him to reach but I am not happy with how he learned it. He learned it quickly over the last 2 months when I refused to get on the floor and play with him; I feel like he learned it by being ignored all day. Most of it is just mother’s guilt; I don’t think any mother feels she has done anything right.
I do have a new deadline though; he needs to be potty trained before the baby comes. If not completely, then at least during the day – I can handle morning diapers no problem. I am not interested in having two kids in diapers, or trying to potty train a toddler while caring for a newborn. It’s too much work; work smart, not hard.
The only regret that I do have is leaving all of my baby gear at my sisters house. She borrowed the swing, bassinet, baby tub and bjorn when her son was born and I didn’t think of it when we were packing. Since we have given up trying, I was actually in the process of selling the items that I have left in my possession, since this new house does not have that much storage in the basement. It’s Murphy’s law; got pregnant as soon as I started selling my baby items.
We are also in the process of planning out when we will make certain changes for the munchkin. We need his room and furniture for the baby, and move him into the spare room. Currently, the spare room has my bookshelves and crafting equipment, which means that all needs to move before he can go in it. We are slowly moving the crafting supplies to the loft, so we can move him into the room by January, giving us plenty of time to make the nursery ready for April. We don’t want to move him too soon, but also not at the same time that baby moves into his crib either.
Being in Germany makes buying furniture a little tricky; their bed sizes are different than North America and their beds don’t have box springs. This means if I were to purchase a European bed, I would need a whole new bed frame and headboard, which become useless if the mattress ever gets thrown away – which will happen eventually. I have been on the look out for a twin bed and mattress for the munchkin since we found out we were expecting and we just got one last night. It is a North American twin bed and mattress, and we will get grandma to send us some sheets. I am also on the hunt for another double mattress and box spring for the attic room; when my parents visit, I don’t want them sleeping on the hide-a-bed in the living room (the couch wouldn’t fit up the stairs where I wanted it initially). So far, no luck, but there are always Americans and Canadians moving into the area every summer, maybe next year I will find out before they pack their truck and they can buy one for me.
Out of Pocket Expenses
The insurance we have through the military covers out of country basic needs under the same coverage as OHIP. The only catch is that I need to pay for the medication expense out of pocket and submit a claim after wards to get refunded. This wouldn’t normally be an issue since we are all very healthy, but doctor’s appointments while pregnant, then the vaccinations and checkups after I have the baby are time consuming and probably not cheap. I am glad I did not cancel my credit card when we left Canada, I am going to need that to cover the bills until the checks are issued.
My last point of planning was having my parents visit for the birth. In Germany, one can visit for 89 days before requiring a visitors visa. If they come just before my due date, I can have one or both of my parents helping me with the two kids while we all get adjusted to having a new baby in our lives, and they will be able to have quality time with their new grandchild. I am not sure if they will take me up on my offer, since 3 months away from work and each other is a lot to ask, but I asked none the less.
Oh look at that, as I write , I get a text from my mom. They will not be staying for 3 months (understandable and expected) but they will stay for 2 weeks after hubby goes back to work. I therefore have constant assistance until she is 1 month old. One month is plenty of time for me to get used to having two kids, and the little guy used to being a big brother.