I can’t believe how many weeks have passed since my last post and am feeling a little guilty for having neglected my blog for so long but when I think back on how busy we have been, I realise that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, considering that I am 37 weeks pregnant and only just started my maternity leave last week. While working full time and feeling the heat get the better of me each day, we were also packing up the old house and getting ready for the move and settlement of our new house. Of course, the settlement did not happen as smoothly as we had hoped but I will go into the details of that in my next post as it is quite a long story!
Once we finally had the keys to the new house, we had 5 days in which to paint the place, buy and put together two wardrobes plus our bed and buy a new fridge before moving in. Most of the credit does need to go to Emiliano for these tasks as I was still at work plus didn’t really like the idea of climbing up and down ladders with this huge tummy! (would have been against Doctor’s orders anyway!!!) We wouldn’t have been able to move into the house in such a short time either without the incredible help from Emiliano’s friends, Andrea and Marco who gave up their free time (when I’m sure they would have preferred to be at the beach) to sweat and get frustrated putting together Ikea wardrobes! It seems straight forward but…………..
Our trip to Ikea was quite comical too! For those uninitiated, even though we organized for Ikea to deliver everything, we still had to go and get everything ourselves from the shelves. We were buying two wardrobes, a bed, a couch, armchair and a desk. We had 3 trolleys full with just the wardrobes so decided to make two trips! Thank goodness for the lovely and observant Ikea employee who highlighted that I had the precedence at the cash register due to being pregnant and made us pass about 10 people so that we were served next. I could not look anyone in the eye as I felt their eyes piercing me like daggers but hey, as if I was going to protest! I just stuck that belly out proudly and walked quickly to the front of the queue.
The day after the settlement, I had my driving license exam so had been using every spare minute to study – it’s not that I don’t know how to drive or the road rules but from January, the exam process had been made more difficult than usual in Italy. Exams were only held at the Motorizzazione, an archaic and disorganized office highlighting Italian beauracracy at it’s best! Exams were in Italian with no option to do the exam in your native language. Added to this the twisted and ambiguous way that the questions are asked, one feels set up to fail before even walking in the door. I had been doing mock quiz’s online which were the same format as the actual exam and this really helped a lot but you can imagine my frustration when even my husband, a native Italian, had difficulty with some of the questions! The exam room has two video surveillance cameras and every person has a different exam so no chance of any ‘help’. I was given a card with a chip on it which when inserted into the box next to the computer, shows your name before you start the exam. The actual exam is then touch screen with forty true or false questions. You have thirty minutes in which to complete the exam and pass with a maximum of four errors. I was so nervous and upon completion of the exam, had time to go back and double check each question. Once satisfied with your responses, you log off and then go and wait outside for the results.
I will blame the extra pregnancy hormones infiltrating my body for the emotion I felt when I saw that I had passed. I had to concentrate to not let a few tears escape! I don’t know how many errors I made and to tell you the truth, I really don’t care – it was just such a relief to not have to study those bloody road rules anymore. Especially considering no-one follows them here anyway! I still have to pass the practical exam but considering everything is closed for the month of August, I don’t fancy my chances of doing this before baby arrives. I’m not so worried about that part though.
I must say that I am enjoying being at home for my maternity leave now, especially nice being in the new house and pottering around adding little details each day. The baby’s room is ready and I am also feeling pretty ready to meet this little creature too. Seriously don’t feel like my tummy can hold anything bigger! I went to the hospital where I plan on giving birth on Monday for a check-up and everything is looking good. Baby weighs 3 kg and so should put on about another 750 grams by my due date of September 5th. Just as well we went to the hospital because the maternity ward was not the easiest to find and I can just imagine us panicking trying to find the ward when we arrive for the real thing.
Apparently the standard of maternity care in Tuscany is excellent and all of the local hospitals offer excellent service. Every person I have spoken to though does have their own opinion on which is best but as I am hoping for an epidural, I am choosing the hospital with the most experience in using them. Next week I have another visit where the epidural procedure will be explained and I will also be told what to bring to the hospital. I would certainly be lying if I said that I was not nervous about the impending labour and birth – fear of the unknown……….. and watching some natural births on youtube last week didn’t help to calm my nerves either!!! I know!!! Stupid idea – way Too Much Information!!!
On the whole though, I feel great and really can’t complain about my pregnancy! I am getting quite uncomfortable now with the size of my tummy restricting me from moving as freely as I would like and I can’t believe how lethargic I am feeling. I’m sure the heat is not helping me so let’s hope by the time I actually give birth, it has cooled down a bit!
We are off to the cinema tonight – quite excited as we haven’t been for ages and who knows when we will get back there again once baby arrives!