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Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

The Piglet family hasn’t been having much luck lately. We call it La scoumoune. I’m not quite sure of the origin of the word, I believe that it is Arabic but it’s commonly used in the infamous HLM cities in France (social housing concrete jungles) along with “avoir la mauvaise oeil” as a way of saying that you’re very unlucky. According to Wiktionnaire it’s of latin origin, but whatever it’s origin we seem to have it!

Our unluckiness has now lasted over a year, starting with the Fondue fork incident last February. It has spread like a virus through various aspects of our lives including health, financial, work and more recently our home move.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that we were supposed to move into our new home in the country on March 28th but that the current owners wouldn’t move out! They didn’t even notify us that they were refusing to move until 10 days before we were due to move in! After six weeks living with the in-laws I cannot even begin to explain my desperation and how I felt.

Legally, they have no right to delay and we can sue them and seek interest and damages but as anyone who knows the French system we may as well dream on. We are going to try and seek some damages but the thought of having another legal battle and ongoing dealings with them (albeit through an avocat) and additional expense leaves us cold. We tried to reason with them and were told that we were nasty, evil people. We were called liars (they obviously can’t read the contract we all signed agreeing the date!), we were told that we were trying to evict them from their home and that we were causing ill health. It got to the point where Mr Piglet stopped updating me on what was happening as he could see it was causing much stress and heartache… I’d never envisaged becoming a Mother in such circumstances.

At one stage, I wanted to pull out of the sale completely but common sense prevailed – it had been so difficult to find a suitable house that I couldn’t bear starting the search again, 9 months pregnant!

Finally, after 10 days of legal battles, the owners have agreed to move out on April 18th and we have managed to convince the removal company to slot us in from the 19th onwards. I hope this is the end of our bad luck period as I cannot imagine another year of bad luck and thinking whatever could come next. They say bad luck comes in 3’s but in our case this last year it’s been in 3 dozens…

As you can see by the pregnancy counter in my side bar, time is ticking and Little Miss Piglet will soon be here. In fact, she is due to arrive anytime now according to the hospitals midwife as she is sitting very low and I am having frequent contractions! I doubt that we’ll be in the new house before she gets here, but now I’m learning to relax and accept what will be will be.

Having our first child in totally unplanned circumstances (to the point where I don’t even know in which hospital I will give birth) is not something I had ever planned and certainly not something I had wanted, but it is what life has dealt me and I am grateful to even be pregnant. My priority now is my little baby and I can’t wait to meet her, but if she can wait another few weeks for Mummy and Daddy Piglet to move in, we would be grateful.

They say things happen for a reason and I’m yet to discover what reasons are behind all of this. Has life dealt you with some unexpected delays/news which you were grateful for afterwards?

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Dear French Social Security People,

I know that you have an ever increasing “hole” in your budget and that you have been trying to find solutions for years on how to maintain the French healthcare system and yet save money so to ensure its future sustainability. I know that you have been unsuccessful and that currently you continue to spend far more money than you collect.

I’m not one for great ideas, especially when it comes to saving money (I am very good at spending it), but I do have an idea that could be mutually beneficial and help save you lots and lots of Euros straightaway but also for years to come.

Currently 8 months pregnant, you have been paying for me to have twice weekly back massages at a physiotherapy since Christmas. I’m not sure of the exact price of these massages as you pay for them, but I think they are in the region of 19 Euros each. So far, that must be over 400 Euros and by the time I give birth, you would probably have spent over 500 Euros on them.

The thing is, the massages don’t really help all that much. Yes they relieve some of the pain but it is a short lived solution. You see, with a big pregnant belly, I cannot lie down but have to sit on a chair. Sitting on a chair is one of things that cause me back pain the first place so it is a catch 22 situation.

But, I have the perfect solution which solves my back problem that you’re already paying for, but also covers other issues at the same time. I consider it as a kind of buy one get several solutions idea. I visited a hairdressing salon and they had the most wonderful massage chair at the wash basins. The hairdresser installs you at the wash basin and the chair reclines automatically into a lying down position elevating your legs (excellent for reducing cankles) and then proceeds to massage your back whilst the hairdresser washes your hair and gives you a relaxing head massage.

The back massage is far more comfortable than at the physiotherapists and much more effective. The head massage is excellent for alleviating stress and tension in the shoulders – something that lots of pregnant women suffer from due to the extra weight they carry on their tummy. Elevated legs reduce swollen ankles and improve blood circulation reducing the need to invest in expensive support tights (which you pay for and which I ladder constantly therefore needing new ones). Finally, the pampering of having one’s hair done at the hairdressers is excellent for boosting self esteem and no doubt has a knock on effect in the future probably saving thousands of Euros in therapy costs post partum.

A once weekly visit is much more effective on me than my twice weekly physio visits, thus saving you half of what you’re already paying as well as the other savings I have mentioned above.

Multiply the savings by the number of pregnant women in France (ie lots!) and you’re probably well on your way to fixing that deficit!

Therefore, I highly recommend that you seriously consider implementing this for all pregnant ladies suffering from back pain. If you would like any addresses or if you have any questions please let me know and I would be willing to assist (for a consultancy fee of course).

Yours Faithfully,

PigletinFrance
Currently sans domicile fixe

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Oh my! Vivement that the next 6/7 weeks go by quickly and without any major hiccups as I’m truly beginning to wonder whether I’m going to make it to the end of my pregnancy without disaster and whether I should wrap myself up in cotton wool and stay sat on the sofa all day…

After the “bathroom incident” at les Beaux Parents, I’ve had a couple more incidents including nearly falling down a ditch in front of their house whilst driving at 5 kmh (I have no idea where I was looking) and having the removal men take away all my underwear meaning that I had nothing left for the time we are in limbo (okay so it was a good excuse to go shopping!).

But yesterday I nearly made 4 people, 4 cats, 1 dog and a tortoise homeless when I came very close to burning the in-laws house down.

I was off to meet the lovely Mummy in Provence and little Baby in Provence in nearby Orange for lunch and wanted to look presentable so decided to iron my clothes as a normal person would. Except it wasn’t my iron and after fathoming out how the wretched thing worked, I turned it on and left it to heat up, thinking that I’d make the most of it and iron a few of Mr Piglet’s work shirts whilst I was at it.

I entered the absorbing world of internet for all of about 10 minutes and forgot about the iron until I smelt burning. Horror of horrors! The iron had melted and was working its way through the electric cables! Minutes later and I would have been dealing with a fire! A fire in a wooden house!

Ruined Iron

So now I need to buy a new iron but the MiL isn’t having any of it. She just laughed it off but I am so embarrassed. These poor people must be fed up of me and my accidents already and I’ve only been here for two weeks! By my calculations I’ve got at least another 4 weeks before we move into our new house, I’m just going to have to try really, really hard not to break anything else… I’m using the tumble dryer for the first time this am so wish me luck!

The rest of the day went thankfully without major incident and I had a lovely time with Mummy in Provence and BiP picking up lots of helpful tips on baby care and equipment! I hear BiP is ill today though so I hope she gets better soon! It truly is a pleasure for me to stay in Provence at the moment and hopefully the in-laws will let me come back to visit again once we move out so that I can continue meeting all the great people I’ve met recently.

I did get totally lost driving back from Orange though but it wasn’t all negative. I managed to take a lovely snap of the nearby village to where we’re staying. When I saw it, I thought of Sara in Le Petit Village as it’s just how I imagine Le Petit Village to be…

Le Petit Village near where I'm staying...

One last thing, I’ve finally set up a Facebook page… If you’re on Facebook do drop by and say hello – here it is…

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Thanks everyone for your recent support and tips for dealing with a bad back. Lots of rest, stretching, massages and heat have been paying off and I’m back in front of the PC as of today and for short periods at a time!

Today is also special for another reason: I enter my third trimester of pregnancy and my bump is getting bigger, so much so I am beginning to feel like a hippopotamus!

I have also decided that being pregnant is no fun, what with my bad back and having to follow a no sugar diet as I am really close to having gestational diabetes. The no sugar bit is a nightmare as all my cravings are for sweet things (in fact, I fancy a chocolate chip cookie RIGHT NOW) and so calming my cravings is impossible leading me to be in a permanent state of frustration.

I am sure all those women that tell me how being pregnant is wonderful were lying through their teeth and its all just one big conspiracy theory to keep the human race going. Surely no-one can enjoy being in this state or maybe I’m just exceptionally unlucky?

I am currently enjoying lots of baby movement although it is not amusing when she decides to dance at night. I guess the night dancing bit is my fault though as when I wanted to get her to move for my Dad I played some music on my tummy and ever since she has been dancing! Apparently our little Miss Piglet loves jigging around to M, “Le roi des ombres” just like her Mummy!

Also, the shopping part is really, really fun!!! Everyone has been warning me about going silly and buying too much stuff so I’m really trying to limit myself. I am having a bit of a problem resisting all the gorgeous dresses though, especially with summer coming:

Adorable dress that my Dad chose for little Miss Piglet

Mr Piglet and I are still currently homeless come February 15th but the good news of the day is that we have agreed a price on a property at last!!! Update coming soon…

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I’ve been a bad blogger, no updates and no visits to my favourites blogs – sorry everybody, I should have my knuckles rapped! To be honest nothing has changed this end, we still don’t have a house to move into and we are still searching…

Last week we visited a beautiful house but it was next door to a chicken farm. Whilst there weren’t THAT many chickens (probably about 30 chickens, guinea fowl and cockerels all combined) they didn’t half make a racket and they didn’t seem to like me too much when I went over to speak to them. They made so much noise the old farmer boy (complete with flat cap) came out to see what was happening! I must have been quite a specimen as he couldn’t stop staring at me and my baby bump but he was very pleasant – obviously not used to seeing many foreigners around those parts! I can say that that is one property that we will not be buying as I’m not quite ready for total countryside immersion and living on a farm!

Chickens next to the house (these were the stragglers that didn't run away quick enough!)

As for not visiting my fave blogs, sorry everyone! I’ve had killer back ache due to having a generally bad back before being pregnant and the growing nany bump has been progressively making it worse and worse. I can now barely sit in front of the PC without being in pain but I now have a back support belt and twice weekly massages so things are looking up… Plus I bought myself a hot water bottle – heaven! I’m just beginning to catch up with work so I’ll be back to check you all out soon. If anyone has any tips on relieving pregnancy back ache I’m all ears! Currently lying down helps but that’s about all…

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Team Pink

Today was a very special day – it was our second official ultrasound and after 10 weeks of speculation, we finally got confirmation that we are TEAM PINK!!! May the shopping commence!

Not looking very comfortable

3D image of Little Miss Piglet's head

Mummy's nose

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Silly pregnant brain had me believing hen had teeth after PIP said they were hard to come by… It’s a wonder I can even function currently, stupidity is becoming my middle name.

Yesterday I poured my coffee in the bin instead of in the sink. I turned the tap on over the worktop instead of the sink. I tried to drive around Lyon at 2330 to drop a letter off for a friend and realized that the car was no longer showing how many kilometers I could do. Not a good sign as it probably means zero. Who knows how long I’d been driving around on the reserve? Without any petrol I wasn’t even sure that I’d make it home and drove very, very slowly. So slowly I would have been stopped by the police for sure. Thankfully I wasn’t, needless to mention I hadn’t thought to take any ID or driving license with me (or money for petrol)…

Silly pregnant brain also led me to fall UP the stairs yesterday. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read correctly. I fell UP the stairs. Thankfully it was only a little tumble and I had a natural reflex to put my hand in front of my bump to protect myself. Other than a few bruises no damage was done. But I’m now going to wrap myself up in cotton wool.

Last night, silly pregnant brain decided to bake a banana cake. It’s been months since I tried to bake anything. But I’d forgotten my kitchen scales no longer worked so blindly guessed all the measurements – have you ever tried to figure out what 175 grams of flour look like? It was totally worth it though as the cake was delicious and served with magic candles it was the first birthday cake I ever baked for Mr Piglet and he thoroughly enjoyed it!

The recipe for the cake I baked can be found here.

So far today silly pregnant brain hasn’t done anything stupid but is very tired so took a nap at lunch instead of eating lunch. Now I’m trying to struggle my way through the afternoon and banish the thoughts of mince pies and Christmas pudding.

French Health Cover Update:
Just a quick update from my last rant – it’s beginning to look as if I won’t have to go to the CPAM social security offices after all! I have been saved from the silliness of the French administrative system, or so it would appear. This morning they deposited a tidy sum onto my bank account! I’m currently working out what it corresponds to payment wise but it is there, on my account! Yipee!

Christmas Tree – be aware of special card holder offers:
Sunday, Mr Piglet and I purchased our Christmas tree. We were going to get a real one but I was flabbergasted at the price and we kind of needed a big one for our living room otherwise it would just be swallowed up. Plus we had the pot from the dead palm tree that the cats peed on and killed, so an ideal location to put a tree.

We found one in Jardiland at 129 Euros down from 159 Euros for shop card carriers (which we are), it measures 2.10 metres. Delighted with the bargain I thought we were getting and exhausted from having to battle with the crowds, I handed over my card and paid.
Only later when I was home did I see the figures on the pin machine flash in front of my eyes. The buggers had overcharged me!! I called and had to take a trip back to the store to get reimbursed the 30 Euros they had overcharged me.

There are two lessons to be learned here:

1. Always check at the till that you’re paying the right price, especially at Christmas time as battling the crowds is no fun.
2. Artificial Christmas trees always seem smaller in the store. Our one is huge! It didn’t seem huge in the shop, but when we got it home and put it up with our decorations we realized that it was a bit too big! We didn’t have enough decorations to decorate it, so we’ve gone for the less is more look…

Our tree and proud Princess sitting next to it!

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