Archive for May, 2011

Doctors, Midwives and Doulas

I have just started my 9 month journey… Or actually let me rephrase, I am about half way through my 9 month journey and I never realised how many things you need to arrange for yourself and investigate when you are new to a country and its medical system. Since Ive never been pregnant before I havent really thought about most of these things before, not to mention the fact that I have always just thought that the way I hear prenatal maternity care is done in Finland is the norm. Shockingly that is not the case and I have had to broaden my views massively lately.

We started off going to a very good, but slightly stiff doctor at the CIMA hospital here in Escazu. I had my first appointment with him at about 7 weeks, the second at 10 when we did the first ultra sound and the third at like 14 weeks when we did a second ultrasound (and found out its a girl!). I cannot complain of the treatment we received at CIMA during our visits, they were all lovely and the doctor seemed very knowledgeable although quite laissez -faire. Unfortunately, his relaxed attitude did not include any deviations from the usual path of how he saw the process of giving birth.

Having been quite terrified of the prospect of giving birth ever since I was 16 and was put through a movie about giving birth during health class in school, I have always thought I wanted all the drugs they would allow me and preferably also a c-section to make things as quick as possible.. But now, being faced with the inevitable in just a few more months, I have started thinking that surely something so beautiful as birth cannot be as horrible as it is made out to seem like in all the hollywood movies, sit coms or TV shows where action and drama are applauded for bringing the views in.

I agree that calling giving birth “to be in labour” is most likely a very appropriate term as I would not think hours and hours of contractions is going to be a walk in the park for anyone. At the same time, I am finding it more and more difficult to accept interventions into this natural process that is birth, especially when they are unnecessary, which so many interventions nowadays seem to be.

Anyhow, with this attitude I went to see a doula (as over here they don’t really have a system that would be accepting of midwives like we have in Finland), to find out a bit more and to at least try to add a humane point of view to a “procedure” that for me had now been made to feel so surgical instead of natural and beautiful.

Ansu was absolutely lovely and we had an hour and a half of intensive debate about everything and anything and in the end she recommended me to Dr. P. She presented him to me as a very likely solution to all the soulless medical attitudes I had been subjected to over the past two months, and I was very keen on seeing if she was right. I called him up a week later to arrange an appointment and that marvellous day was yesterday.

I must say, meeting Dr. P. was like love at first appointment. He had a pretty much exactly matching attitude to birth as what we have fostered during our last few months of research and pondering and as the appointment extended from our initial 30mins to almost an hour of chatting, checking and measuring we felt more and more like we had finally found a perfect doctor for the last leg of this journey. I cannot even describe how relieved and happy I was when I walked out of that office next to the wonderful J, with a confirmation that E was doing very well in the tummy, that everything else in there was doing what it should be doing and that we could in the end have as natural a birth as we wanted. And in a birthing pool even! šŸ™‚

Now, I cannot wait to experience this last stretch of the journey!

Earthquake in Costa Rica

Having spent a year here in Costa Rica I had not yet felt a big earthquake. When we moved here there was apparently a big one that same night, but me and J were so exhausted and happily asleep in bed we had no idea what was happening. The next one was a small one that I did feel somewhat. Sitting in the office though, this earthquake could almost have been compared to one of the huge lorries driving past on the pista, that’s about as rough as it got.

Then my third one was a complete miss. We were driving and apparently you cannot feel a thing when you are in a car.

But yesterdays, wow! Now I can say I have been in an earthquake! It started shaking a bit, built up a bit more until it properly shook for the last few seconds. Probably 20 seconds in total of rattling the earth! Impressive what mother nature can do.. According to yesterdays reports it measured about 6 on the Richter scale and the epicentreĀ (6km north of Puriscal as reported by Oviscori) is about 40mins drive from us here in Santa Ana.

Oviscori 10 Last Earthquakes in Costa Rica

Google Maps Epicentre of Costa Rican Earthquake 13.05.11

Thankfully we were all ok. The dogs were a bit unsettled when we got home but I am not sure if that was thanks to the earthquake or thanks to the torrential rain that followed. But I bet the little lady in my tummy was happily snuggled up and blissfully unaware of it all, but who knows, maybe she could feel her mummy’s excitement and enjoyed the harmless ride as well.

Costa Rica Earthquake 13th May 2011


I always thought the whole thing about cravings while pregnant was a topic that had just been blown out of proportion and that surely you cannot have such massive urges to eat random things simply because of your growing bump. Well lo and behold, here I am now at 4 months with a fairly interesting palate and a need for the most random foods.

Over the last few years I have had some big changes in my diet, the biggest one according to me being the move away from being an avid coffee drinker to loving tea (green tea and oolong now being my favourites). But nothing prepared me for these changes.

OrangesI kicked off my pregnancy with purely wanting soda crackers, toast and potatoes as everything else made my stomach turn and shivers of disgust go through my body. Looking at the nutritional values of the things I was eating would make a starving child look well nourished, and needless to say I lost over a kilo between the 6th and 10th week. During this time I did though soon moved over to loving oranges to lessen my nausea. Oranges in the morning, during the day and in the afternoon, orange juice whenever possible and lemon in every water glass. Later on I heard that apparently the acidity from citrus fruits helps you feel less nauseous, but also that vitamin C plays a big role in this. without just listening to my body I would never have realised this so big respect to the body and it knowing what it wants.

Around this time I also completely stopped drinking tea. It was like I hit a wall and I just didnt have ANY interest in this lovely hot beverage anymore.. Quite surprising as I had up till then been having a happy 5 cups a day most likely. Reading about it I soon found out though that you should not have too much caffeine in your diet while pregnant and I guess this was again my body’s way to align itself with its new situation.

Pistachio NutsMy next big craving was pistachio nuts and beet root.. Not together, but still.. Hmm.. Considering my previous cravings of such low nutritional value it was with relief that I found out that both items are great sources of nutrients! Pistachios are high in oleic acids, carotenes and vitamin E while at the same time being packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.They also contain important minerals likeĀ copper, manganese, potassium, calcium,Ā iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.. Once again, pretty impressive craving by my body..

BeetrootsBeetroots then againĀ are apparently loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C with the greens showing a higher content of iron compared to spinach.Ā  They are also an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium,Ā choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fiber and carbohydrates in the form of natural digestible sugars. And actually, its iron content, is of the highest and finest quality that makes excellent food that is blood building! (and apparently you increase the amount of blood in your body by approximately 40% during pregnancy!)

Interestingly enough my latest craving is salami.. Yesterday I had wonderful salami empanadas as my second breakfast and that same evening I was spoiled with a few slices of pepperoni pizza… Mmm.. It definitely hit the spot but I am still to find a good nutritional excuse for this craving..

Coming October 2011

Coming October 2011

Little by little all our items on the massive to do list are starting to be ticked off. Or at least they feel a bit more under control by now. We have had so many things happen to us over the last two months that I feel quite overwhealmed and exhausted almost about it all. However, it’s definitely been both good stuff and sad stuff..

First of all our car broke down šŸ˜¦ The first sad thing to happen to us. My lovely Ford started coughing like an old smoker and had to be sent to the garage where it has now spent almost a month in pieces while we awaited the verdict first of all, then the new parts that were to be shipped in from the states and now finally the assembly and ultimate “all clear” status that should arrive next Tuesday.. Fingers crossed..

Then we had J’s mum and husband over for two weeks (the good stuff), which was absolutely lovely (and you can read more about in my entry about Arenal) but still tiring since we ended up doing lots of fun stuff with them.

Unfortunately by the time they left, our second car also broke down (very sad stuff) due to an exhausted ignition motor or whatever it was called again.. Thankfully we found an amazing mechanic who came to our house and took care of it for us so now he is purring like a kitten again!

Then on Thursday this week (Cinco de Mayo!) I finally got my cedula sorted! I am not oficially a temporary resident of Costa Rica šŸ™‚ Pretty cool! What is even more amazing is that during the same week J got his papers that he is “in process” as well, meaning neither one of us will have to leave the country now unless we choose to do so ourselves! No more visa runs!

And well last but not least.. We also found out that we are expecting a little baby girl. She is due in October 2011 and I cannot wait to meet her. Well, I knew about the baby for a while, but on the 29th April we decided we wanted to know a bit more about who we are soon about to meet and that is when we found out its a lovely little baby girl.

Due to this not just good stuff, but amazing stuff, we are planning to move into the smaller house next door this coming weekend. Even if I do very much like where we live at the moment, this move is mainly so that I dont have to waddle around up and down spiral staircases as well as providing us with a smaller, cosier set up for when the baby gets here. Not to mention saving some rent…

But hopefully we now have a few quieter months when we can focus on what is to come, as well as for me to deal with all my inner thoughts, feelings and hormones that I currently have going on.. So maybe calling the next months “quieter” is not really the right word. At least I am not getting bored over here šŸ˜‰