Friday, December 22, 2017

Linnea's Going to be a Big Sister! Plus a Bumpdate

We announced our exciting news a while ago (a LONG while ago) but I haven't had time to get my thoughts down.  First, watch this adorable video . . .

I mean, if that doesn't make you smile I don't know what will.

As I am writing this I am almost 28 34 weeks pregnant (I started this post at 28 weeks and I'm just now getting back around to it. Ha!).  #somuchfortheweeklybumpdates #secondchildproblems

The short update would be this pregnancy is kicking my butt!  Yowza! And it hasn't been a walk in the park for Jake either.  He has had to take care of me and Linnea since I've been on the struggle bus for most of this pregnancy.

The longer update follows (or you can skim down and look at pictures if you don't want all the details):

We tried for about a year to get pregnant and then decided to do a frozen embryo transfer since we had a few embryos left from our first IVF cycle in May 2014.  We weren't sure if the first transfer would take but it did.  We did the transfer on May 18th, 2017 and found out we were pregnant on May 31st (the day before we flew back tot he US for a visit in June)!  I wish I could tell you a cute story about how I told Jake I was pregnant but I don't have one.  For the first time ever Jake remembered when I was supposed to take a test so shortly after I came out of the bathroom that morning he asked if I took a test and what it said.  We were both in shock.  Apparently, my body prefers IVF transfers and for that I'm thankful for modern medicine and the ability to do IVF.

A few of you might have questions about IVF and frozen embryo transfers so I'll tell you a little about it but if you want to know more send me a message.  I'm pretty much an open book!  I've always thought I'd write a longer post about it for anyone who is curious but obviously from my lack of posting that probably isn't going to happen right now.  Here is the Our Journey to Parenthood that I wrote in January 2015.

Our first cycle of IVF was free in Stockholm.  You can do 3 full cycles (stimulation and egg retrieval) plus several frozen transfers for free if you've been trying for more than a year and you are under the age of 40.  We had no idea about this until we moved here the first time.  There is a wait list but we only had to wait for 3 months.  With Linnea we did one full cycle of IVF and did a fresh transfer which didn't stick.  A few months later we did a frozen transfer and that one turned into Linnea!

This second time we had to pay for the frozen embryo transfer but it is significantly less than in the US.  We paid 16000 kr which is about $1900.  We did one ultrasound to check when I would naturally ovulate and then I Jake had to do one shot in my stomach to trigger the ovulation so the IVF clinic knew the exact time of ovulation.  Seven days after the shot we did the transfer.  The shot makes me ovulate 36 hours later and since we were putting in a 5 day old embryo the transfer was a week after the shot.  The transfer feels like a pap smear.  We were done within 15 minutes.  Here is what Pizza Roll (nickname I'll explain below) looked like at the transfer:

Pizza Roll Thawed . . .
Since this embryo was from the same batch of embryos as Linnea it is technically the same age.  One of our friends called them "freeze-ternal" twins ;).
 The shot to make me ovulate.
Right after the transfer.
We have a similar picture after the transfer with Linnea.  This is right outside the clinic hopeful that the baby would stick and it did!

I felt fine until week 6 and then I started feeling nauseous and tired.  We were in the US at the time and didn't want to tell anyone since we hadn't had a follow up ultrasound check to make sure the baby was developing normally (after our first round of IVF in May 2014 it was at our 8 week check that we found an empty sack and were heartbroken which is why we didn't tell anyone when we were in the states).  I was ready to get back to Stockholm so I could just be sick without having to hide it and then we had major flight delays and were stuck in the US 2 extra days.  That was rough.

Two minutes after we touched down in Stockholm after our 9 hour flight I ran to the airplane bathroom and threw up. I DO NOT throw up.  I will do anything to prevent myself from throwing up.  I threw up about 2 hours after Linnea was born but the time before that was when there was an MTV marathon of Newlyweds on if that tells you anything.  I don't throw up or I should say I didn't until this pregnancy. During this pregnancy, I threw up everyday from week 7-14.  Sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. It was awful especially while taking care of a 2 year old.  I tried to hide it from her but eventually she picked up on it and said "Mama cough in toilet".  I slept during every single one of her naps because sleeping was the only time I wasn't nauseous.  It was awful.

A very smart and beautiful friend of ours, Dr. Erin McGonigle, visited us when I was 10-12 weeks along and she suggested I take my medication before getting out of bed instead of getting out of bed, eating breakfast, throwing up and then taking it.  She's brilliant.  It actually worked!

I started taking meds around 8 weeks.  They helped me be able to function but I still struggled a LOT.  The pill had caffeine in it which my body doesn't always tolerate so I tried getting the pill without caffeine.  The doctor told me I wasn't allowed to take the pill without caffeine if I was home alone with my daughter because it would knock me out.  I didn't believe him but I listened to him.  It turns out he was correct.  About 45 minutes after taking the pill I was loopy and asleep shortly after that.  I stopped taking those since they seemed pretty pointless.  Jake and Erin got some good laughs though watching me before I finally would give up and go to bed.
12 Weeks
Our family of 3.33 :).  Jake wore Linnea in a carrier to climb to the top and I carried Pizza Roll.  That seemed to keep us about equal.  Thankfully I felt really good this morning and wasn't nauseous at all!

I also didn't want to eat anything until week 12 or so.  Food just didn't sit well or taste good.  The combo of throwing up constantly and not eating meant I lost about 5 pounds during the first 14 weeks.  And like my pregnancy with Linnea sweets didn't sound good at all the first trimester.  I started eating some when we were in Switzerland with Erin and that is when Jake knew I was making a come back.

When I was pregnant with Linnea we nicknamed her Baker.  We wanted another nickname for this baby but couldn't figure out one we liked.  Jake jokingly started calling the baby Pizza Roll because I really like Old Chicago's Pizza Rolls and I order them every time I go there but they almost always make my stomach hurt after eating them.  So something that I love even though it makes me sick . . . seemed to fit this pregnancy perfectly.  Once we reached the 20-week mark we decided to work on thinking of an actual name instead of a nickname so Pizza Roll stuck!

After the 12 Week Ultrasound
We told Linnea and then our parents on the same day which was when I was 14 weeks pregnant.  We wanted to wait until we had the 12-week ultrasound before we told Linnea and we wanted to tell her before we told anyone else so we waited a while but it was fun watching her tell our parents that she was going to be a big sister!

I continued to throw up about once a week from week 14-20 which was a pain but still manageable.  Food wasn't so difficult to eat and I was able to function a bit more (which was good because I also started teaching again during this time).

Jake felt Pizza Roll move on Aug 27th when I was 17 weeks pregnant.  Linnea could also feel the baby move which was so fun. One of my friends in Stockholm was also pregnant with her second child and Linnea felt him move in her belly so she knew what it would feel like in my belly.  It was helpful for her to see Alyssa's belly grow before mine started growing so she could put the pieces together.

We announced the pregnancy around week 17 or 18 which is pretty late but it was fun telling friends and family either way!
Pizza Roll at 18.5 Weeks for the Anatomy Scan
20 Weeks! Halfway there!
This pregnancy also brought round ligament pain which I didn't experience with Linnea.  Apparently being pregnant and taking care of a two-year-old is harder than being pregnant without taking care of a two-year-old, duh.

One other main factor that contributed to this pregnancy kicking my butt was I wasn't in a good workout routine before I got pregnant.  With Linnea, I was working out 4 days a week (up until the day before she was born) so when I got pregnant I just kept it up even when I was nauseous.  I did not have a routine with this pregnancy and the nausea was so much worse I couldn't just power through and go.  So I pretty much haven't worked out at all this pregnancy and I hate that.  I feel like a lot of my aches and pains are my fault by not being in shape.  I wore a support belt for a while especially when walking and taking care of Linnea and that definitely helped!

I went to a physical therapist for my round ligament pain and did a few prenatal massages and that helped everything calm down.  I finally started feeling like I could pick up Linnea, sit on the floor and get back up and function like a normal person around week 28-29.  Now at almost 34 weeks, I'm still feeling pretty good considering how rough the rest of the pregnancy has been.
27 Weeks
Two weekends ago (at 32 weeks) I ended up going to the hospital because I was having Braxton Hicks contractions every 5 minutes lasting 30 seconds each on a Saturday night.  The next morning they started up again every 3-4 minutes lasting 30 seconds.  Considering I never had ANY regular contractions with Linnea even in active labor I was a bit freaked out.  I had an internal sonogram to check my cervix and everything was fine so I went on my merry way.  Hopefully these Braxton Hicks contractions means I won't be in labor for 37 hours like last time.  I'd like to be in it long enough to get an epidural and then have a baby once that kicks in.  Ha! #becauselaboralwaysgoesaccordingtoplans
29 Weeks!
29 Weeks
Linnea on the Left, Pizza Roll on the Right both at 29 Weeks in the same shirt.

With Linnea she was more spread out in my belly.  I could feel her on my sides and in my ribs.  Pizza Roll is definitely more out front and lower.  He/She still hasn't found my ribs which wasn't the case with Linnea.  Again, this pregnancy has been SO different.  The baby's head is down and I usually feel kicks on the right or left side of my belly but not at the same time.  Linnea was more spread eagle and this baby seems to lay on his or her side and kick on one side of me at a time.  Pizza Roll is also more spastic in movements whereas Linnea had more sweeping motions.  Pizza Roll also gets hiccups once or twice a day which can be annoying if I'm sitting and working.

I can't wait to see Linnea as a big sister.  She says that she is already a big sister and I'd have to agree.  She is careful with my belly, talks to her sister/brother and likes to feel the baby kick.  She is convinced that she also has a baby in her belly that kicks.  I can't wait to see the two of them together!

We are planning on having the baby sleep in the Finnish Baby Box just like Linnea did for the first 3 months or so.  Jake needs to build a stand for it so it doesn't have to be on the floor with Linnea running around.

I think we have a girls name nailed down (which we aren't sharing) but I will be shocked if this is a girl.  Everything about this pregnancy has been different.  So if this is a girl we are going to need to have a chat about how unnecessary it was to put me through this pregnancy when Linnea didn't make life so hard for 9 months.  Ha!  We don't have any boy name frontrunners.  Ugh!  Good thing we have 3 months after the baby is born to name him/her :).

So this is the one and only bumpdate that will happen for this pregnancy.  I'm so thankful to be pregnant and sometimes it feels like this pregnancy is flying by because I'm preoccupied with Linnea and in other ways it is DRAGGING on.  I'm looking forward to getting my body back (as much as nursing a newborn makes my body my own, ha) and hopefully regaining my strength and ability to function like a normal person (a normal person with a newborn and a toddler . . . ).

I should add, Jake has been amazing throughout this pregnancy.  He has done way more than his fair share of taking care of Linnea, making meals I won't eat, putting her to bed, and listening to me tell him I'm hungry but that I don't want to eat anything (this happens almost daily).  He is the best teammate I could ever ask for.  I'm excited to see him with a newborn again!

I will start my parental leave when I'm 38 weeks along and be off for a little over a year.  (Not going to lie, I'm a little worried about being a stay at home mom again.  I have LOVED being back in the classroom and now I'm taking off again.  I know once the baby gets here that I'll want to stay home but it is just hard feeling like I got my teaching groove back only to put it on hold again.)  Then Jake will hopefully be able to take off for 6 months or so. I am SO thankful for the Swedish systems that are in place to allow both of us to take off work and be equal parents.  I used to always feel like the "default parent" and now I feel like we can equally share the workload.  It is so refreshing!

I can't wait to hold this baby on my chest and to hold Linnea on my chest as well without this huge belly in the way ;).  She recently said "I can sit on Daddy's lap. He not have a baby in his belly like Mama."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mrs. Janzen is Back . . . TOMORROW!

Today is my last day as a Stay at Home Mom.  I go back for "new teacher" inservice for two days before the rest of the staff starts next Monday.  How do I feel?  Excited! And a little nervous that a wall of responsibility/deadlines are going to hit me square in the face and knock me out.  Ha!

I've truly enjoyed staying at home with Linnea.  She is so much fun but man am I excited to teach again.  It has been my passion and even my hobby since I was a little girl.  I'm a little nervous that I've forgotten how to teach but then I remember I've been teaching since I could talk.  Lining my baby dolls up for lessons in my bedroom and finding teacher's edition books at garage sales.  Teaching is in my blood and I haven't forgotten how to do it.  I might have forgotten how to get up early on a regular basis, be on my feet all day and constantly be working on school things (physically or mentally) but I haven't forgotten how to teach.

Jake is taking some parental leave/vacation over the next few weeks at least part of the day to take care of Linnea while I transition back to work.  He is staying home with Linnea two full days this week since her daycare doesn't start back up again until next week.  I am PUMPED about him staying home with her.  I wish it was longer than two days. I really want him to fully understand all the ins and outs of being a stay at home parent but as he mentioned yesterday he doesn't think he'll ever have as long of a mental to do list as I do no matter how long he stays at home 😉 (probably because his memory is awful).  Other than taking care of Linnea (which isn't a small job) he is also going to in charge of groceries, making dinner, running errands, cleaning the apartment and doing laundry. At least, that is the plan. I have to actually let go of all of that and let him do it (which is going to be easier said than done) and be okay with the way he does it even if it is different than the way I do it. I'm going to go ahead and say this last step will probably be the hardest part of going back to work.

Jake never put pressure on me to do things while he was at work.  He didn't leave me with a list of things to accomplish.  I did that to myself.  I'm not sure I'll be able do that, if I'm being honest.

Am I going to miss Linnea?  Of course.  But you know what? This last week I've cherished our time more than I have in a while because I knew our unlimited time together was going to be more limited once I'm back at work. I've been more present and mindful of our time together than I have in a while.  I know it will be hard being away from her but I know the time we have together will be really special.  Plus, she loves preschool and is going to have so much fun!
I feel like living in Stockholm I've been given the gift to choose whether I'd like to stay at home or go back to work.  In the US, teachers make so little and daycare is so expensive I feel like you basically work to pay someone to take care of your child (especially once you have more than one).  Daycare here is about $150 a month and it includes diapers, lunch and snacks.  Did I mention you also get a child allowance each month that practically covers the full cost of daycare each month? You can use it for diapers, food, supplies, whatever you need.  It is directly deposited into your account each month because the government understands that it is expensive to take care of a child.  My point is, I like that I can work if I want to and it isn't a financial burden on my family now that we have a child who needs daycare.

I'm sure the next month is going to be tiring, stressful and full of adjustments but I'm excited to be back in the classroom again.  I'll be making a difference in the lives of my students at the same time I'm able to be Linnea's mama!  Here's to a great school year! Mrs. Janzen is BACK!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

We're HERE!

Well . . . we actually did it!  I still can't believe it!  We moved back to Stockholm and in some ways it feels like it took forever (remodeling the kitchen, decluttering the house, painting rooms, staging, selling the house, a never ending to do list, etc) and in other ways it feels like it happened in a blink of an eye.  The blink of an eye thing is mostly the being here part.  Once we landed it was like "welp, we're here . . . how did that happen?"  We've been in Stockholm about 3.5 weeks and it has been good.  I'd say great but even though we wanted to move I still struggle with change.  It took a little while to get our apartment set up in a way that made things flow easily.  I like systems and routines and I "think" we are finally finding ours.  Here are some details about our flights here and what we've been up to since we landed.  I'm hoping to get back to blogging now that I'm back in a place that creatively inspires me!

We made it to Stockholm on Tuesday, March 28th around 12:30.

Our flights were pretty good.  Our first one was delayed about 45 minutes but thankfully we had a long layover (on purpose) in Chicago and we didn't have to worry about missing our flight.

Linnea made good on her promise of "Airplane, Nap, Dada" and she also slept on me which was great!

 We landed in Chicago and found an awesome playground to let Linnea run around a bit.
 Then we headed to our terminal and had a sit down meal at our favorite restaurant in the Chicago airport, Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless and then we boarded the plane for Stockholm.
We actually had an empty seat next to us but felt like the guy claimed his half of the seat so we just had Linnea sleep on us.  Linnea did great on both flights.  The hour and a half flight from KC to Chicago was about 2 hours after her nap time which meant she was tired enough that she didn't put up much of a fight and napped for most of it.  The Chicago to Stockholm leg was also 2 hours after her bedtime so she was able to fall asleep pretty easily then too.  She took turns sleeping on Jake and on me so all 3 of us were able to get some sleep.

We tried really hard to pack light with our bags that we were carrying on the plane but I still over packed.  Since Linnea slept on both flights we literally used 1 toy that we packed.  I realize it is better to have the toys and not need them then to not have them but lugging around extra stuff isn't fun either.

Jake's boss picked us up at their airport which was awesome.  I'm not sure what was a bigger miracle that we landed with all our bags or that they all fit into Jake's boss's car ;).
 After unpacking we went on a walk and then to dinner.  Linnea was looking all around . . .
 and then we saw this.  Jet lag!

The first week back was a bit harder than I expected it to be.  We've lived here before so I didn't think we'd have much culture shock to deal with and I don't really think it was the culture shock that made things hard but I'm sure it was a factor.  Our apartment was supposed to be furnished and according to my definition (and comparing it to the 2 other furnished apartments we've rented in Stockholm) it wasn't.  We had 3 pots for the stove but zero utensils to stir or scoop things out of said pots.  We had 3 spoons that didn't match (which is fine) but then our 2 forks and 2 knives were both plastic . . . like from a takeout restaurant.  We didn't have any baking dishes that could go in the oven but we also didn't have any hot pads to take them out either so I guess at least those things go together. Ha!

We rented a furnished apartment for several reasons but the main reason was so we could land with just our suitcases and not have to deal with buying things right away.  Several of these items are being shipped from the US and they will arrive in 8-10 weeks so we don't want to buy them.  We made dp with what we had from Tuesday until Saturday and then we made a trip to Ikea and borrowed some things from a friend and now we are pretty much good to go.  We did buy a broom, vacuum and swiffer and that definitely helped my stress level.
She's excited about shopping at the world's largest Ikea.
Ikea play kitchen
When you buy bigger items you have to get kind of creative when carrying them home.  I hooked the broom onto the stroller to carry it home.  

Another fun adjustment was our bed.  Our bed is 47 inches wide which is 7 inches narrower than a full size bed.  We knew it was going to be small and really the size hasn't been that bad but . . . the sheets we borrowed from a friend while we were waiting for our sheets were a bit small.  Technically the top she was exactly the same size as the bed so as soon as one person was under it it was too short so two people under the sheet made it so we were both uncovered.  We arranged a few blankets and made it work until our sheets arrived.  Not just any sheets, sheets my Aunt Carmen gave us for Christmas.  She knows sheets.  I LOVE staying at her house because her sheets are so soft!
Now that we have sheets, serving utensils for the pots on the stove and actual silverware we are good to go!

Linnea loves running up and down the hallway outside our apartment and pushing the elevator button when we go up or down.
 Reading some English (Engelska) books at the library.  The book she is reading we have in English which was fun to see.
 Waiting for the bus.  Linnea likes riding the bus and guessing which color it will be but her favorite is riding the metro. #justlikehermama
Kebab Special Pizza from "our" pizza place.

Linnea did pretty well adjusting to the time difference.  It took 4-5 days and then she was back to putting herself to sleep at night without any trouble.  She is sleeping in a walk in closet.  For the first 3 weeks she was sleeping in a Baby Bjorn travel cot/pack n play but now she is in a crib!  Actually . . . we even took her paci away over a week ago and that went way better than we/I was expecting.  It was cracking (because she bites and pulls on it) and they don't sell the kind here that she likes so Jake cut it and just told her it was "different" and that she could still cuddle with her monkey, which the paci was attached to, and so far she hasn't seem to miss it too much.

Monkey, different

We've been able to see friends, go to the park, walk everywhere and just enjoy being back in Stockholm.  Jake started back to work 2 days after we arrived and he can walk there in about 10 minutes.  We are still actively looking for an apartment and we've already toured one daycare for Linnea (which was great) and sent in our top 5 choices for daycares in the area.  She is guaranteed a spot in 3 months but we've asked for her to be placed as soon as possible.  We shall see how long it takes!

I'm sure I'll be sad leaving Linnea at daycare the first few times but man am I excited for her!  She is going to LOVE it!  They play outside at least an hour a day if not more.  She will make new friends and learn Swedish.  She'll sing songs, make crafts and so much more!  I feel like she is at a perfect age to go to daycare/preschool/förskolan/dagis/kindergarten (there are so many names thrown around - I typically say preschool since the Swedish word is förskolan).  She is independent and is learning things so quickly.  I can't wait to hear her start speaking Swedish.  I'm going to need to get my butt in gear because she will pass me . . . it is only a matter of when, not if.

 Sept 2016 vs April 2017
Florian and Linnea.  She wasn't so sure about him being in her box when they first met but I have a feeling these two will become best buds . . . but she might need to cut back on hugging him!  #ican'tbelieveIbirthedahugger #imightbeahuggertoonow  

 She likes big slides but this one was a little too big for her to go down by herself.  Sit, Mama!

 Lego bin at a toy store.
 Blurry but a cute picture of her holding her baby and owl and wrapped up in the blanket her Grandma Janzen made her.

 Park play date and then a long walk with friends while all 5 kids slept in strollers AT THE SAME TIME!!!
 The view on our walk around LĂ„ngholmen
 Linnea has been really interested in putting on her own clothes . . . and our clothes.  These are Jake's shorts.  

 Yoda towel!

We bought some used outside pants for Linnea and Google Maps gave us directions that lead us down this path.

 Easter dinner with friends!
Horn goes beep, beep, beep!
 Pushing! Me!

A pretend gas station at the park including a keyboard and 10 key pad.  The keys don't move because they are both filled with sand and have been sitting outside year round but it is still so fun for kids to play with!

Hope you enjoyed a little peek into our lives the last 3.5 weeks!  I have all kinds of posts swirling around in my head and now that we don't have a to do list for our house that is a mile long I might actually get to post more!

And just as a friendly reminder, you can call or text me at my regular US number for free.  Just remember I'm 7 hours ahead of you so at 12 pm in Kansas it is 7 pm in Stockholm, which means if you are driving to work (no matter how early it is) and want to chat I'm your girl! Does this make me a morning person? I mean I am talking to someone and it is really early in the morning? ;)

*I've been posting short videos and pictures on Insta Stories of our every day lives if you are interested check them out!  If you don't know how to watch insta stories let me know and I can tell you!
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