Monday, November 16, 2009


Our daughter Hanna was born Friday the 13th at 12:22 AM. We started at home but ended up going to the hospital. I'm not going to share the whole story today, but things are going well and we were discharged Friday at noon. We're home now and things are going fine.

Pictures here:

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Today I went to the hospital for a check-up. I had a CTG and ultrasound; both were fine. There's enough amniotic fluid left, which means the placenta still works well. The ob/gyn was pleased, she said baby was doing great. She gave me the choice: I could be induced tomorrow or Monday, but no later than Tuesday. We decided to wait until Tuesday, because that's when I'm 42 weeks along and a homebirth is no longer an option. Just to make sure things stay okay, I have to go in for another CTG/ultrasound on Saturday (if I haven't delivered by then). It was nice to hear everything was fine.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Today I went for another check-up. Everything was fine. But (standard procedure at 41 weeks) the midwife told me to set up appointment in the hospital for Thursday. They're going to do a CTG and ultrasound to make sure that everything is ok with baby, placenta and amniotic fluid. If things go well (the midwife expected them to) they will probably strip my membranes on Friday. That might jumpstart the contractions. If it doesn't work, they'll try that again on Sunday. If I haven't delivered by Monday night, I have to go to the hospital on Tuesday to be induced. But I really hope that won't be necessary, because I really want that homebirth!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Nope, still nothing

Just for the people who keep checking and think "it's awfully quiet, I wonder if she's delivered yet?"... sorry. No baby, just a pregnant mama who's very ready!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

No baby yet

Well, today was my due date. I read somewhere that only five percent of babies are born on their due date, and that first babies are on average eight days late. Isn't that lovely... So to keep you all occupied I posted some pictures of my big 40 week pregnant self.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The bounties of the land

Look, Nicolien! I caught a bird. Yay! I'm really proud of myself.

Wanna have it? 'Cause you can, you know. We can share it. Want me to bring it into the house for you? 'Cause I will. I'll even put it on the couch where you can reach it easier, if you want.

See, I dropped it here especially for you. That way it won't get my drool all over it while you decide.

Don't want it? Really?
*I'll never understand those weird humans...*
OK, then I'll just eat it myself.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Our house was almost finished, and we've been living here for six months now, but we still missed one thing. We didn't have stairs yet. The ladder worked fine for a while, but as my belly got bigger and bigger it became harder for me to go upstairs. The past month I was afraid to go up, so I just stayed downstairs. But as of last week, that's over. We finally have our stairs! I think they look beautiful (and it's so nice to be able to go see the second floor of my house again ). The nursery will be upstairs. We don't have it in order yet, because the baby will stay in our room for the first few weeks. That's why the bassinet and the changing table are in our room for now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sisters in-law

M's sister is pregnant with her second. Today she dropped by, and we took some pictures of our big bellies. I'm 38 weeks 2 days, she's 27 weeks 6 days along.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Last night, after dinner, I sat down on the couch. Usually that's the time when my baby decides to start disco dancing, so I was well prepared for that, or at least a case of the hiccups. That didn't happen however. I didn't feel anything. I started to think when I had last felt the baby, and that's when I started to worry. I couldn't remember feeling the baby all afternoon. Not when I laid down for my nap, not while I sat on the couch. And I usually feel the baby as soon as I sit down.

One of the things my midwife had told me on Monday, was to call if I didn't feel the baby as much as I had before, considering the bloodpressure and traces of protein. So - rather stressed out - I called M, who was on his way back from a trade fair in Amsterdam and of course was stuck in traffic. He told me to call the midwife, who asked me to come in to the office right away.
So I walked over to the in-laws (who live down the street) and my mother-in-law took me to the midwife's. Thank goodness she found a very strong heartbeat, so that was nice. My blood pressure was through the roof (understandably, considering my stress) but the traces of protein in my urine were gone. M came in right when she told me she wanted me to go to the hospital for a CTG, just in case.

So we went to the hospital and I was hooked up to a machine. They took my blood pressure again, and took a 30 minute CTG. The hospital midwife told me it looked like a happy baby, and it showed lots of movements. The weird thing was that I still hadn't felt anything. She made an ultrasound which also showed a moving baby. I just didn't feel it. That's why she called in the ob/gyn. The ob/gyn also made an ultrasound and took a lot of time for us. We got a very good view, we even saw the baby's face. He/she was sucking his/her thumb! She told me that the baby had dropped nicely and that I probably didn't feel anything because the placenta was very close to the baby's arms and legs. So if it moves a little, it's cushioned by the placenta, and that's why I don't feel it. Apparently it had turned around recently, because its position was different than last week.

She measured a few body parts. The baby has a big head (which all people in my side of the family do, hats never fit me) and long legs (like my husband). The growth was equivalent of a 38 week baby (and I was 37 weeks and 1 day). She measured it at 3 kilos, or 6 lbs 10 oz. Both the ob/gyn and the midwife told me it will be a "healthy big baby".
All in all I'm glad I went in. I wouldn't have slept at all, and I was getting so stressed out. It cost us an hour and a half but definitely reassured us all was fine. I don't even have to in to the midwife's again today, because they tested me so thoroughly last night. Phew!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The last stretch

Warning: this might not be a very positive post.

Yesterday I went to see the midwife, like I do every week. She measured my blood pressure, and then measured it again. I thought that was funny. It turned out to be 120/90 both times, as opposed to the steady 110/70 it had been throughout most of my pregnancy. Then she looked at my hands. "Your fingers are swollen, aren't they?" Yes, they are. "How has your weight gain been the past few weeks?" Two kilos in two weeks (that's 4.4 lbs). Then they tested my urine, and found traces of protein in it. All of this could - but does not necessarily does - point to signs of preeclampsia. I had not been nauseous or had blurred vision, and I still feel ok. Sure, I sleep well for two nights and then hardly sleep the third night, and the skin on my belly sometimes itches like there's a hundred ants creeping underneath, but that's supposed to be normal for the last stretch, right?

The midwife told me to go home and not worry, because that's not good for my blood pressure. She does want to see me in again on Thursday instead of next Monday.
I guess I shouldn't worry. If she really thought it was preeclampsia, she wouldn't have sent me home but told me to go to the hospital right away. And I'm exactly 37 weeks along. That's considered a milestone over here. Not only is the baby full-term now, but also you have to be at least 37 weeks along to be allowed to deliver at home. So if I get contractions now (and I continue to feel ok and things go normally, as far as that's possible in labor) I'll be allowed to stay at home to have my baby. And that's what I really want!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Family heirloom

When I told my parents about my pregnancy, one of the first things my mom asked me was if I wanted to use her family's bassinet. I didn't even realise that there was a family bassinet, let alone had I considered using it. She got out the photo albums and showed me that I slept in it too, for the first few months of my life.

It was made in 1946 for my aunt. After that my mom, cousins, distant cousins, brother and I slept in it. Of course I love history like that, so we went to my aunt and uncle's to look at it.
It needed some work. The upholstery was gone and there was no mattress. But we brought it home with us and my mother-in-law offered to help. In the end, she didn't just help, but she and M's aunt did all the work. All I did was go the market with them to pick out the material. When we came back from our vacation, it was right there next to our bed. Isn't it beautiful?

Our baby will have a historical start. Hopefully it will be born in the house that was built by daddy's family in 1863, and then sleep in the bassinet that was made for mommy's family in 1946. We think that's pretty cool!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Green thumb

Aside from all the baby stuff, I'm trying to decorate the house a little more now too. And that's pretty easy with an abundance of flowers in the garden. Today I pulled out my green thumbs and put them to work. I cut some sunflowers and zinnias. Every year I plant sunflowers and zinnias and every year I'm surprised at the enormous yield of only a limited amount of plants.

Then, I went around in my house and decided to try and start some new plants. I had two Kalanchoes that were really ugly looking. After some searching online I found that they're really easy to replant, so I cut a few stems of and planted them. I also did that with a Tolmiea (Dutch name: baby-on-mother's-lap, so much cuter). When I was browsing around the chicken shed, looking for pots, I found this pot with three hyacinth bulbs that I had had inside last spring. I noticed they had sprouted again, so I watered the bulbs and put the pot in a window sill. It's always exciting to see if it's going to work out!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Almost there

The last time I posted I was 25 weeks along... and today I'm posting pictures taken yesterday (35 weeks and 3 days). I figured that I would have more time to post pictures over the summer, but that didn't turn out to be true. I don't know why, but I just don't seem to get to writing anymore. But people have been asking me how I have been, so I figured I'd write an update. So... here goes!

This is how I looked yesterday (a little grumpy, apparently ;-)).

As you can tell my belly has grown a lot! My maternity leave started a week ago. I decided to stop working 6 weeks before the due date, and I'm very glad about that. Now I can do what I want to do and I don't have to work anymore! I'm taking things very easily (while I still can). When M leaves for work I turn off the alarm, turn around and I wake up when I wake up. Usually that's somewhere between 9 and 10. And then I do, well, what do I do? I've been taking maternity classes, breastfeeding classes, I've been shopping and washing baby clothes. Every afternoon I take a nap. That's my life in a nutshell. Pretty boring, huh? I'm enjoying it though. Yesterday I went to the midwife and she told me that the baby hasn't dropped yet. It is in the right position, so it's starting to move down. Next Wednesday we'll have an ultrasound to check the position. I didn't know that was the new standard, so it surprised me a little. But it will be fun to look at the baby again before I really get to see it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another belly photo and some ramblings

So here's that long overdue update... I can't believe how time is flying by! The past few weeks have been extremely busy. Finishing the school is year is never an easy task, but it's been extremely hard this year because we had to go so late into July. Usually we get out mid-June, now July 9th was the last student day, and July 17th was the last faculty day. I don't believe it's possible to go longer... For me it's ok though, because this means that we go back late too. September 7th is the first day of school, and October 6th is when my maternity leave starts. Those four weeks should be doable! I get 16 weeks of paid leave, so I won't have to go back until February 1st, which is when our second semester starts. Pretty good timing, all in all.
Health wise I've been very lucky. I've felt great for weeks now. Of course I'm tired sometimes, and when I do too much I feel the occasional Braxton-Hicks, but nothing out of the ordinary has happened. I feel the baby move several times each day now, and Maarten was able to feel it for the first time two days ago. We've already settled on the names (no, not sharing!) but we still need to come up with a middle name for if it's a boy.

The house is getting to be close to done as well. The upstairs bedrooms have been painted and we can pick up the vinyl for the floors tomorrow. We don't have stairs yet, that might take another 8 weeks. But when the baby is here everything should be done. So all is good! I'm such a lucky girl!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Belly photo

Two days shy of 20 weeks.... people have asked me if I'm ready to pop already! No people, I'm only halfway... and as far as I know I'm not carrying twins!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Very funny

Maybe it's because Mexican food isn't as widely available here as it is in the Sates.. but I saw this and just had to share it. It's so funny!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz

So, technically, I'm not a mom yet. But I guess it couldn't hurt to find out what kind of mom I will be, right?

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz: "

Take the fun, Mom to Mom quiz and discover your parenting style.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Living room

Some people have asked me for some new pictures of my house. So here is one of the most finished rooms of the house: the living room.
First: view from the kitchen. Never mind the coats hanging over the chair: we don't have a coat rack yet..

Lots of light! We have a lot of windows, which I totally love. Almost all of them are double glazed, so they're energy efficient too.

The piano that my grandfather gave me for my wedding (it used to be his).

Turned around (the piano behind me). Note the nosy kitty.

Nosy kitty is also a lazy kitty.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thank You Cake

A friend of my mother's gave me nine tomato plants for my garden. Every year, since I started gardening, he has given me plants. The first year there were two, last year five and this year nine! He never wants anything in return, and it's always hard to think of something to thank him. This year I decided to bake him a cake. Well, it's really a banana nut bread recipe, but I left out the nuts. And this recipe turns out more like a cake than a bread, so I renamed it Thank You Cake. I found the recipe on but I changed it a little.

Nicolien's Thank You Cake
100 g white sugar
100 g brown sugar
100 g butter
1-1/2 eggs (I use one big egg and 1 one little egg)
170 g mashed bananas (about two little bananas)
100 g cake flour
100 g wheat flour
150 ml buttermilk
3 g baking soda
3 g baking powder
3 ml vanilla extract
30 g chopped walnuts (this time I used chocolate chips instead of nuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder, and soda. Stir in chocolate chips or nuts if desired. Pour batter into a greased 9x5 inch pan.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

This makes a really moist, crumbly cake. I've baked it several times and everybody who has tried it, loved it. Of course, people over here don't know banana nut bread so they have nothing to compare it to..

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Kitchen chicks

New addition to our household: the first two chicks that hatched! One was born yesterday, the other one today. As far as I know the chickens are still brooding on four or five more eggs, but it's hard to see. For some reason my chickens always brood in pairs: they co-parent the eggs and later the babies. That's fine with me, but the only problem is that when you lift one chicken up to see how many eggs are underneath her, the other chicken hurries up and covers the eggs with her feathers (and warmth). I'll have to be patient and let them surprise me.

I brought the chicks in the house to have them pose for me. Isn't it funny how the brown chick is almost twice the size of the yellow one? They're different kinds of chickens, that's easy to see.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Belly pillow

You might have noticed that the whole pregnancy thing is new for me. A whole new world is opening, to use a Dutch expresson. I'm learning new things every day...

Yesterday my best friend and I went shopping. My jeans are getting very snug, so it was time to buy some maternity pants. When we were at Prenatal (pregnant mom/baby store) I decided to try on a pair of jeans. When I walked into the dressing room, I saw a funny little pillow hanging on a hook. We figured out pretty quickly what it was: it was a belly pillow! You're supposed to stuff it underneath your clothes so you can have a little preview of what you're going to look like when you're farther along. It was so funny!

Here they are.. the before and after pictures!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Today I was in the mood for something fishy, but not another tuna or salmon pasta dish. I had been reading recipes online and found out that making pizza from scratch was supposed to be really easy. I tried my hand at it, and easy it was! Besides, all the ingredients were in my pantry so I didn't even need to run to the store.

After making a spinach and tuna pizza, I trimmed the crust a bit and ended up having enough dough for a second little one. I topped it with fresh tomato, pesto and mozzarella. But when it came out of the oven, we were already full from eating the first pizza, so I saved it.

A few minutes ago, I found myself eating the mini-pizza, cold. I don't think that's what the midwife meant when she told me to eat several mini-meals a day, but I guess there are a lot of unhealthier things I could have eaten three hours after dinner time...

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Inspired by Duct Tape and Baling Twine, who has a family of 10 kids to feed, I started my garden yesterday.

First, I cleared out my coldframe. I could hardly see where it was anymore, because I hadn't used it last year and it was covered in weeds. Then, I filled some pots and flats with potting soil. And then I dug out my seed box. All of a sudden I'm really looking forward to gardening again. I did miss it last year. Of course, I had some tomato plants and a zucchini, but I don't really call that a garden. I mean to do better this year.

That's why I started zinnias (two sizes), sunflowers, zucchini, melons, red onions, gourds and nasturtium. I already have some tomato plants and a pepper plant that a friend of my mom's gave me.
The next challenge will be to get the garden tilled. M has so much to do in the house that he doesn't have the time (and I really don't want to ask him). It's been very dry, so the ground is hard, which means that it's not really an option for me either. I'm going to try and see if we can have a tiller come over and do it for us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring stroll

The midwife recommended that I keep exercising, so tonight after dinner I went for a walk. It was a calm spring evening, and I was in one of those moods where all of a sudden you can see the beauty in little things.
Like for instance these lambs.

And this beautiful row of chestnut trees. I love chestnut trees in the spring, they look so bold and powerful!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lunch pigeon

Every day for four days now, this pigeon has showed up right next to my patio doors as I was eating my lunch. Every day he's been coming closer and closer to the doors, not scared at all. Today he allowed me to take a picture of him. He's not shy at all. He walk around, pecking here and there, and then leaves again. I wonder if he'll be here again tomorrow..

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not a chicken

Sometimes I'm so glad I'm not a chicken. Imagine having to lay a 7 cm (2.75 inch) egg!

Ok, I hadn't meant to make this an anology. But all of a sudden I'm reminded that I'm pregnant and that the average baby is a lot bigger. Mm, I guess I'm not going to think of that yet...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So far my pregnancy has been painless... no morning sickness, no weird cravings. The only strange thing was that all of a sudden I didn't like coffee anymore. But now I had to call in sick this morning (and yesterday) because I feel so dizzy. The world spins! Even if I eat something (this morning M brought me breakfast in bed when he got up at 6:30) it doesn't help. I didn't have to start until 10 today, so I got up around 8:30. Ate another little bite, took a shower, but still I felt really faint.

I called the midwife and she told me not to worry. She said to take it seriously (and not drive if I don't feel like that's smart) but this will pass. I'm supposed to eat several mini-meals a day to keep my blood sugar levels up. Weird but I guess things could be worse..

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Last night we had the second ultrasound. Last time the baby looked like a little peanut with a flashing light in it, this time it really looked like a baby. I'm usually not too good with ultrasound pictures but apparently the baby was posing beautifully so we both understood which body part was which right away.
Here she/he is! (No, we don't know what the gender is, and we don't want to know either.) Ten weeks and six days along, 4.34 cm from crown to rump.

The baby's head is on the left, you can even see its nose. On the right the leg is clearly visible. It's a baby!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Very good news

Not only did we finally move into the house last weekend, there's some other good news to share as well. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, so here it is...

Yes, I'm pregnant. I'm due 3 November, so tomorrow I'll be eight weeks along. We are ecstatic (and I'm also very tired and I have to pee a lot). Yay!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Yes, people. I caved. In two weeks this baby will be mine. Boy, do I look forward to that moment. Am I a geek?

Saturday, February 14, 2009


The bathrooms are finished! Today I was able to enjoy my first bath..

This is the shower:
This is the half bathroom with the toilet and sink.

And here's the other side of the bathroom, with the urinal. They're getting more and more common in new houses here.

Monday, February 02, 2009

25 random things

It's all over Facebook, so I decided to post it here too...

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.
1. I don't like tags but I'll participate anyway.. this one has been fun to read from other people so I might as well play too.
2. I hate repeating sounds made by people. Don't click your ballpoint pen or chew gum loudly or tick your nails on the table.. please, unless you're trying to drive me crazy.
3. I have 4 pets that are named after friends and 3 pets that are named after foods.
4. I've been living in a trailer in my backyard for 11 months now. Yes, voluntarily. Why? Take a look at my pictures.
5. I have a freckle in my right eye. Both my eyes are blue but the right one has a little brown freckle in it.
6. I don't have a middle name. Many Dutch people don't. Some Dutch people have 5 names, some only one, some any other random amount.
7. I have studied Dutch, English, German, French, Greek, Italian, Spanish and Latin in my life. Yes, I like languages. I'm fluent in the first two and can manage myself fairly well in German and Italian.
8. I spent a year of my life telling people "Yes, I'm a foreign exchange student. No, we don't speak English in Holland. No, that's not Holland, MI, it's actually a country in Western Europe."
9. I don't like cheese, unless it's melted (like on pizza).
10. I love to cook and bake.
11. I lost 18 lbs over the past 8 months. Enought with the bragging already!
12. I love Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Priarie.
13. I used to dream I was a pioneer girl. That's one of the reasons I went to the USA as a foreign exchaneg student. (No I did not expect life to still be like that.)
14. Even though I dated two American boys, the guy I ended up marrying only lived 11 km (7 miles) away from the house I was born.
15. I feel at home in two countries. Don't make me choose, I don't want to.
16. I love fried chicken and corn on the cob.
17. I also love kroketten, zuurkool and drop.
18. I love to snow ski even though it took me forever to learn.
19. Some people have asked me if I live in the fifties, because I raise poultry and grow my own vegetables and flowers.
20. I like to read about cleaning, but I don't like to clean.
21. I read everything. If there's a letter on something within my view, I read it. Milk cartons, traffic signs, everything.
22. I taught myself to read when I was five years old.
23. I wish I had a dog. I'm glad I don't have one though, because right now I couldn't give it enough attention.
24. I get childishly excited when it snows. Unfortunately we don't get a lot of snow in the Netherlands.
25. I love Grey's Anatomy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Washing dishes

My new kitchen arrived last week... it's so beautiful! Those of you on Facebook may have already read it, but I'm so happy and excited about it! The most important feature (right now) is the dishwasher...
If there's one chore I dislike, it's washing dishes. When we first moved into the trailer, I even looked at the possibility of installing our old dishwasher in it. But there was no extra water hookup and it would have taken a lot of time and energy to get things working, so we decided to sell it instead. After that, I was the dishwasher for ten months.. until yesterday! Even though the water can't run to the sewage system yet (because of frost in the ground) M's uncle dug a big hole in the ground where the dish water can leak into. I know, it's not a great solution but it works for us now. After all, it's mainly water, food and a little dish soap so we figure it can't hurt much.

Last Monday and Tuesday the kitchen guy was here to install everything. It's so pretty, and makes the kitchen look even bigger.I'll give you the tour...

This is what you see when you walk into the kitchen from the living room (it's a semi-open kitchen so no door). From left to right: refridgerator (huge for Dutch standards), dish washer, sink, drawers, cooktop (induction), drawers, window. The little half moon shaped window is an old Dutch stable window. It looks into our bedroom but the glass is opaque. It's one of the cute features that make our house so unique.To the left of the refridgerator is the pantry door, and the pantry. Let's turn 45 degrees so we face the window. That means your back is to the pantry. This what you see:

The window faces my former vegetable garden (and probably future driveway). The window is a sliding window. Next to it you see the microwave/oven and the apothecary cupboard. Don't know if you Americans are familiar with it.. but you can stash lots and lots of stuff in it and it draws out easily so you can reach everything. I can totally picture myself cooking and baking lots and lots here!!