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Category: Project Family (page 2 of 3)

Breastfeeding problems after birthing trauma

I never anticipated how difficult it would be to start breastfeeding after birthing. I think it was mostly because I lost a lot of blood during the labour and that I never got to bond with Othilia the first hours after she came to us. My Hb-value was very low after the labour and it continued to fall after the bleeding had stopped. On day two, my Hb-value was down to 78 g/L (it should be over 120 g/L for women) and it was then that I received two blood transfusions.

My milk production really got going 6 days after Othilia came out and a lot of effort and hard work was required to make sure that Othilia got enough food without having to give her baby formula at that time. When we left the hospital on Friday after birth (Othilia was born on a Wednesday), she had already lost 10% of her body weight and before we managed to turn it around, she had lost about 15% of her body weight.

Jag anade aldrig hur svårt det skulle bli att få igång amningen efter förlossningen och jag tror att det till största del berodde på att jag förlorade en hel del blod under förlossningen och att jag aldrig fick bonda till Othilia de första timmarna efter att hon kommit ut. Mitt Hb-värde var väldigt lågt efter förlossningen och det fortsatte att sjunka efter att blödningen hade stoppats. Dag två var mitt Hb-värde nere på 78 g/L (normalt är över 120 g/L) och det var då som jag fick två blodtransfusioner.

Min mjölkproduktion kom igång ordentligt först 6 dagar efter förlossningen och det krävdes en hel del för att Othilia skulle få tillräckligt med mat utan att behöva ge ersättning under den tiden. När vi åkte hem från sjukhuset på fredagen efter förlossningen (Othilia föddes på en onsdag) så hade hon redan tappat 10% av sin kroppsvikt och innan vi lyckades få det att vända så hon hade tappat ca 15% av sin kroppsvikt.

Me with Othilia at my breast for the first time, four hours after birthing her. I felt like I had been ran over by a truck and my face was so pale after loosing almost a liter of blood.

I only had colostrum to give her, which meant that during the first five days of her life I had to breastfeed Othilia around the clock, 1-1.5 hours between each breastfeeding occasion.
On Sunday, our amazing midwife came to our home and that’s when we learned that Othilia had lost 15% of her body weight and I didn’t have any milk production. We now had to set up a strategy to start my milk production, which meant that I breastfeed Othilia for 10 minutes on each breast, then Pontus took over and rocked Othilia for 30 minutes (she was still hungry) while I managed to squeeze out a few more milliliters of colostrum by using a breast pump. We then gave Othilia the precious milliliters with a tube, which I taped on my little finger, and a syringe. Then Othilia slept for about 1-1.5 hours before repeating the procedure.

Jag hade bara lite råmjölk att ge henne så det betydde att de 5 första dagarna av Othilias liv ammade jag henne dygnet runt ca 1-1.5 timme mellan varje amningstillfälle.
På söndagen kom vår fantastiska barnmorska på hembesök och det var då Othilia hade tappat 15% av sin kroppsvikt och vi satte upp en strategi för att få min mjölkproduktion att komma igång. Det betydde att jag ammade Othilia i 10 minuter på varje bröst, sedan fick Pontus ta över och vagga henne i 30 minuter (hon var fortfarande hungrig) tills jag med hjälp av en bröstpump lyckats klämma ut några milliliter till som vi sedan gav Othilia med hjälp av en slang, som jag satte fast på mitt lillfinger, och spruta. Sedan sov Othilia i ca 1-1.5 timme innan vi upprepade proceduren.

Our midwife helping us with the breastfeeding strategy, here showing us how we could rock Othilia, comforting her, while I was pumping out breast milk.

On Monday, our friend Caroline came over to us and helped me with the breastfeeding, and she kindly donated milk to Othilia so we would not have to use baby formula. That milk helped me and Othilia a lot.

Under måndagen kom vår vän Caroline över till oss och hjälpte mig med amningen och hon var så snäll och donerade mjölk till Othilia, så att vi skulle slippa ta till ersättning. Den mjölken hjälpte mig och Othilia jättemycket.

There was a lot of sterilization going on during those first days at home.

We continued the breastfeeding/pumping strategy until Tuesday (6 days after the birthing of Othilia) when we finally began to see that the milk was now more white than yellow and the volume that I could pump out now had quadrupled. On Sunday (day 4), 30 minutes of pumping both breasts generated about 9 ml of yellow colostrum and on Tuesday I managed to pump out 20 ml of a white yellowish milk in only 15 minutes. We also noticed that the time between each breastfeeding started to increase during Tuesday. Now it could take two hours between each breastfeeding and Othilia seemed to be satisfied after just the breastfeeding, so we tried not to pump anymore and it turned out we did no longer have to pump. My milk production was sufficient.

Vi höll på med amnings/pumpningsschemat fram till tisdagen (sex dagar efter Othilias födelse) då vi äntligen började se att mjölken nu var mer vit än gul och att volymen som jag nu kunde pumpa ut hade fyrdubblats. På söndagen hade 30 minuters pumpning av båda brösten genererat ca 9 ml gul råmjölk och på tisdagen så lyckades jag pumpa ut hela 20 ml av en vit, gulaktig mjölk på 15 minuter. Vi märkte också att tiden mellan amningarna började öka under tisdag dag. Nu kunde det gå hela två timmar mellan amningstillfällena och Othilia hon började verka mätt redan efter att ha ammat vid bröstet, så vi provade att inte pumpa och det visade sig att vi nu inte behövde pumpa. Min mjölkproduktion var tillräcklig.

Othilia finally satisfied and sleeping for longer periods during the day.

Finally on Tuesday evening, the well-known “day three”-cry came to me, an emotional state which is common to appear about three days after childbirth. This emotional state appeared 6 days after me birthing Othilia, so I felt that my body was three days behind the “normal” course for newly mothers. I’m sure that the trauma of losing so much blood caused the delay for me and that it took about 4 hours after the labour before Othilia could be placed at my breast. However, I am very proud of myself that I endured the struggle and was able to hold out to get breast milk production started.
On Wednesday morning, 7 days after birthing Othilia, I felt for the first time that my breasts started to be tense and I was now sure I could feed my child from now on.

Tisdag kväll kom också äntligen den välkända “tredagarsgråten” som är vanlig att känna av ca tre dagar efter förlossningen. Den dök dock upp 6 dagar efter förlossningen för min del, så jag upplevde att min kropp låg tre dagar efter det “normala” förloppet hos nyblivna mammor. Jag är väldigt säker på att traumat med att förlora så mycket blod ställde till det för mig och att det tog ca 4 timmar efter förlossningen innan Othilia kunde läggas vid mitt bröst. Jag är dock väldigt stolt över mig själv att jag orkade kämpa och hålla ut för att få igång bröstmjölksproduktionen. Onsdag morgon, 7 dagar efter att ha fött Othilia, fick jag för första gången även känna att mina bröst började kännas spända och jag nu kände mig säker på att jag kunde ge mat till mitt barn.

The best feeling in the world having your child sleeping at your breast without having to fall asleep hungry.

We met Othilia’s pediatrician just when her weight loss stopped and we felt confident with our plan, because the doctor was not worried about weight loss and we felt that she thought that our plan for Othilia to start gaining weight was reasonable.
We had an appointment with the pediatrician a week later and by then our beloved Othilia had recovered and was now back to, even a little bit over, her birth weight. She had managed to gain about 400 grams in a week, about 150-200 grams of weight gain per week is the normal, but this was not strange, she had lost so much in weight her first 5 days of life.

Vi träffade Othilias barnläkare precis när hennes viktnedgång stannade av och det kändes betryggande att hon inte var orolig över viktnedgången, samt ansåg att vår plan för att få Othilia att börja öka i vikt var rimlig.
Vi fick tid hos barnläkaren en vecka senare och då hade vår älskade Othilia tagit igen sig med råge och var nu tillbaka, till och med lite över, sin födelsevikt. Hon hade lyckats med konststycket att gå upp ca 400 gram på en vecka, normalt är ca 150-200 gram viktökning per vecka, men det var inte så konstigt då hon tappade så mycket i vikt hennes första 5 dagar i livet.   

Meeting with our pediatrician here in Prague.

Now Othilia is healthy and she has grown in to her size 50 clothes weight-wise. I have also recovered and we are able to do more intense things now, so the next blog post will be about Othilia’s first four weeks in the world.

Nu mår Othilia bra och hon har växt i storlek 50 kläderna viktmässigt. Jag har också återhämtat mig och vi orkar göra lite mer saker nu, så nästa blogginlägg kommer handla om Othilias första fyra veckor i världen utanför.     

Pontus has been amazing during all of this, taking a huge load when I still was weak after the blood loss and sad because of the struggle with getting the breastfeeding to work. He is the best dad in the world!

The birth of Othilia Svea Margit Englund

Sensitive readers are warned in advance. I want to write down what happened when Othilia decided to come to us and this story comes with specific details.

On September 5th, our beloved daughter came to the world after a long, hard and intense birth that ended in a bloodbath. We have decided that her name is Othilia Svea Margit Englund and she was 49 cm tall and weighed 3770 grams. Svea and Margit are after our paternal grandmothers, two women both born around the start of the First World War and they both were strong women from another time, so we wanted her to carry their names into the future.

Känsliga läsare varnas på förhand. Jag vill skriva ned hur det gick till när Othilia bestämde sig för att komma till oss och denna historia kommer med specifika detaljer

Den 5:e september kom vår älskade dotter till världen efter ett lång, hård och intensiv förlossning som slutade i ett blodbad. Vi har bestämt att hon ska heta Othilia Svea Margit Englund och hon var 49 cm lång och vägde 3770 gram. Svea och Margit är efter våra farmödrar, två kvinnor båda födda runt starten av första världskriget och de båda var starka kvinnor av en annan tid, så vi ville att hon skulle bära med sig deras namn in i framtiden.

Our Othilia Svea Margit Englund!

September 3rd, Monday

September 3rd was the calculated date of birth according to the first day of my last menstruation and this is the method used here in the Czech Republic, but I think that September 5th is the more correct date that we got from the week 20 ultrasound.

I have barely had any pre-contractions and they were definitely not regular, so when three contractions appeared in a row around 10 pm in the evening I began to track them. Over the next hour I measured 30 second contractions that came every 10 minutes, so I thought something was about to happen. I decided to take paracetamol and sleep to gather energy for a possible start of the birth.

3:e september var beräknat födelsedatum enligt uträkningen från sista mensens första dag och det är så det beräknas här i Tjeckien, men jag anser att 5:e september är den mer korrekta då vi fick det datumet vid vecka 20 ultraljudet.  
Jag har knappt haft några förvärkar och ännu mindre några regelbundna sådana, så när tre stycken värkar dök upp runt kl 22 på kvällen, så började jag mäta värktiderna. Under kommande timme mätte jag 30 sekunders värkar med 10 minuters mellanrum, så jag anade att något var på gång. Jag bestämde mig för att ta paracetamol och sova för att samla kraft inför en eventuell start på förlossningen.

Picture taken September 3rd (39+5)

September 4th, Tuesday

I woke up at 6.30 am by a contraction and I was glad I got to sleep all night. Next contraction did not come until 07.40 and I managed to close my eyes between the two contractions. After that, the contractions came every 10 minutes and lasted about 50 seconds until 1.30 pm when the water broke and the mucus plug was pushed out. After that, the contractions changed character to appearing every 5 minutes and continued for 1 minute.
I had contact with my midwife Marketa and we decided to go to the hospital around 3 pm to avoid the afternoon traffic in Prague. Just before we arrived at Rakovnik, the contractions started coming closer together (2-2.5 minutes apart). At Rakovnik, a CTG measurement was done to check how Othilia was doing and at 4.30 pm, I was examined and I was only open 2-3 centimeters.

Hours went by and I was taking each contraction without any pain relief. we did try the birthing pool, it didn’t help much for the pain (I only got pain in my knees), and  showering. At 11 pm, I was examined again and at that time I was 5-6 centimeters opened. I felt that I didn’t get so much reward for my work and I asked for some pain relief. I received half a dose (5 mg) Nalbuphin (a morphine derivate). Nalbuphin helped absolutely nothing against the pain, but Nalbuphin made me at least able to relax between the contractions and I was now able to rest.

Jag vaknade 06.30 av en värk och var glad över att jag fått sova hela natten. Nästa värk kom inte förrän 07.40 och jag lyckades slumra till mellan dessa värkar. Efter det så kom värkarna var tionde minut och varade runt 50 sekunder fram till att vattnet och slemproppen gick 13.30. Då ändrade värkarna karaktär till att komma var 5:e minut och värktid till 1 minut.
Jag hade kontakt med min barnmorska Marketa och vi bestämde att vi skulle åka till sjukhuset runt 15.00 för att undvika rusningstrafiken i Prag. Strax innan vi anländer till Rakovnik så blir värkarna tätare och kommer nu med runt 2-2.5 minuters mellanrum. Vi blir inskrivna, CTG-mätning görs, för att kolla hur Othilia mår och vid 16.30 blir jag undersökt och har bara öppnat mig 2-3 centimeter.

Timmarna går och jag tar värk efter värk utan någon smärtlindring, vi provar pool och det ger inte så mycket smärtlindring, bara ont i mina knän, och att duscha. Vid 23 så undersöks jag igen och då har jag öppnat mig till 5-6 centimeter. Då kände jag att jag inte fick någon belöning för mitt arbete och bad om lite smärtlindring så att jag fick vila lite. Jag fick en halv dos (5 mg) Nalbuphin (ett morfinderivat). Det hjälpte absolut inget mot smärtan, men Nalbuphin gjorde så att jag åtminstone kunde slappna av mellan värkarna och där kunna få vila.

We used the Pregnancy Week by Week app (by Amila) to follow the pregnancy and record the contractions during labour.

September 5th, Wednesday (Due date)

I worked with the contractions during the night, they were still around 3 minutes apart and Pontus was a big support for me. He gently stroked and massaged me hour by hour, gave me water and made sure I got some rose hip soup. He handled the music and recorded all contractions until 3 minutes before Othilia was born.
I tried nitrous oxide for the pain, but it did nothing for me not even a feeling of being “high”, so I stopped using nitrous oxide quite fast.

At 05:00, I was open 9 centimeters. However, the time between the contractions had increased to 5 minutes. This was the first time (of two) that I expressed that I would not manage this much longer. I received my second half dose of Nalbuphin and once again felt that I could relax between the contractions. At 6 am, the obstetrician wanted to give me oxytocin to make my contractions come closer again, as it felt like the contraction work was about to stop. Thankfully, I received a low dose of oxytocin. I was glad about that, because we found out during the night that I was sensitive to oxytocin. I had already been vomiting by my own oxytocin levels, so adding more meant that I was nauseous constantly until Othilia came out.

My midwife was amazing during my entire labour, she made me work with gravity even though I could barely stand up, she reminded me to breathe as soon as the panic began to creep on me and she let me rest when she saw that there was no more energy left in my eyes. We three (me, Pontus and Marketa) were really a team throughout the labour.

It was during this time that it was decided which surname Othilia would have. The pediatricians were really eager to know Othilia’s surname in order to prepare for her arrival and they had repeatedly asked for one during the night. At 4 am in the morning, they really wanted a surname and I, who were completely exhausted after all these hours in labour, told Pontus to choose which surname she would have, because I couldn’t care less about it at that time.

Jag arbetade med värkarna under natten, fortfarande runt 3 minuter mellan värkarna och Pontus var ett stort stöd för mig. Han smekte och masserade mig timme för timme, gav mig vatten och såg till att jag fick i mig lite nyponsoppa. Han skötte musiken och klockade alla värkar fram till 3 minuter innan Othilia föddes.
Jag provade lustgas, men det gjorde absolut inget för mig, inte en tillstymmelse till att känna mig “hög” eller minska på smärtan, så jag valde bort lustgas rätt så snabbt.

Klockan 05.00 så var jag öppen 9 centimeter, dock började tiden mellan värkarna öka till 5 minuter mellan varje värk. Det var här för första gången (av två) som jag uttryckte att jag inte skulle orka det här. Jag fick min andra halva dos av Nalbuphin och fick återigen känna att jag kunde slappna av mellan värkarna. När klockan var 06.00 så kom förlossningsläkaren och ville ge mig oxytocin för att få mina värkar att komma tätare igen, då det kändes som om värkarbetet höll på att stanna av. Jag fick en låg dos oxytocin och det var skönt, då det hade visat sig att jag var känslig för oxytocin. Jag hade redan kräkts av mina egna oxytocinnivåer, så en tillförsel av mer gjorde att jag var illamående och ville kräkas ända tills Othilia kom ut.

Min barnmorska var helt fantastisk under hela förlossningen, hon fick mig att arbeta med gravitationen trots att jag knappt kunde stå upp, hon påminde mig att andas så fort som paniken började krypa på mig och hon lät mig vila när hon såg att det inte fanns mer energi i mina ögon. Vi tre (jag, Pontus och Marketa) var verkligen ett team under hela förlossningsarbetet.

Det var under den här tiden som det bestämdes vilket efternamn Othilia skulle få. Barnläkarna ville absolut ha ett efternamn för att kunna förbereda för Othilias ankomst och de hade flera gånger frågat efter ett. Vid 04.00 på morgonen så ville de verkligen ha ett efternamn och jag, som var helt slut efter alla dessa timmar, sade åt Pontus att välja vilket efternamn hon skulle ha då jag fullkomligt struntade i vilket av våra efternamn Othilia skulle få.

Othilia just a few minutes old, showing her skeptical and determined personality.

The descent

At 8 am in the morning I had been awake and in labour for 24 hours and now I was told that I was open 10 cm. However, she was still far up in the uterus, so for the next 1.5 hours, I was in an upright position as much as I could to help Othilia get down to the birth canal. Around 09.15 am, I finally began to feel the famous pressure that tells the body to start pushing. With a lot of help from my midwife, I started to understand how to deal with this new feeling. I asked my midwife to show me how to breathe and I just imitated her.

I was standing upright, hanging in a piece of cloth, and I could follow the contractions on a monitor. I took some contractions on the toilet as the pressure caused the stool to squeeze out (I even pooped on the floor when I stood upright). About 9.45 am, I began to feel that the head was on its way out, so we switched to the knee position where I could lean my upper body against the pool and take the contractions, all while the oxytocin went in to my system giving me nausea. I was so exhausted, so I no longer could understand English. Pontus translated everything that my midwife told me to Swedish during the last hour and that was a huge help for me. Othilia was so strong during the entire labour, but we were now in the 27th hour and her recovery between the contractions began to take longer time so we decided that Othilia had to come out now. I would push with everything I got and my midwife would do everything to prevent me from rupturing.

Klockan 08.00 på morgonen hade jag varit uppe i 24 timmar och arbetat med att få ut Othilia i lika många timmar. Då fick jag beskedet att jag nu var öppen 10 cm, dock så låg hon väldigt högt upp så de nästkommande 1.5 timmarna så var jag upprätt så mycket jag kunde för att hjälpa Othilia att komma ned till födelsekanalen. Runt 09.15 på morgonen så började jag äntligen känna av det berömda trycket som säger åt kroppen att börja krysta och det tog några krystvärkar och en hel del hjälp från min barnmorska för att jag skulle förstå hur jag skulle tackla denna nya situation. Jag bad min barnmorska visa mig hur jag skulle andas och så härmade jag henne.

Vid det här laget så stod jag upp, lätt hängandes i ett tygstycke och kunde själv se när nästa värk var på väg med hjälp av en monitor. Jag tog några värkar på toaletten då trycket gjorde att avföring började pressas ut (jag bajsade även på golvet när jag stod upprätt). Cirka 09.45 så började jag känna att huvudet var på väg ut, så då bytte vi till knäposition där jag kunde luta överkroppen mot poolen och ta värkarna, allt medan oxytocinet droppade och jag ville kräkas. Jag var så slut att jag inte längre förstod engelska, så det hjälpte mycket att Pontus översatte allt vad min barnmorska sade till mig under den sista timmen. Othilia var jättestark under hela förlossningen, men vi var nu inne på den 27:e timmen och nu började hennes återhämtning mellan krystvärkarna ta längre tid så vi bestämde att Othilia behövde komma ut nu. Jag skulle trycka allt vad jag kunde och så skulle min barnmorska göra allt för att jag inte skulle spricka.

Ulrika was really pale because of the blood loss and hard labour process. Here, we were waiting for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating so the doctors could put Ulrika under narcosis.

The birth of Othilia – 10.15 am, 180905

Othilias head came out at 10.10  and I didn’t rupture. She immediately gave us a big cry, but we had to wait for the next contraction, because I had no strength left. The contractions were still only coming every 5 minutes, so it was a long wait until the last contraction came that helped me push out the rest of Othilia’s body. This wait made the obstetricians very nervous, so when the contraction finally came, they stepped in and “helped” her to get out. However, she had not been able to finish her rotation so her shoulder got stuck and so it was during this time I ruptured a bit, even though my midwife was trying to prevent it.

I received Othilia between my legs and I immediately saw that I was sitting in a pool of my own blood. With the birthing of Othilia, almost one liter of blood came out with her. Pontus described it as a scene from the Texas chainsaw massacre movie and I was lifted up to the birthing bed. I did not stop bleeding so while we waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating, a medical team prepared to put me under narcosis to find and stop the bleeding. For 15 minutes I held Othilia while we waited for me to give Pontus the signal to cut the umbilical cord. Othilias umbilical cord was very short so she lay on my stomach instead of on my chest. Once the umbilical cord was cut, the anesthesiologists put me under narcosis all while our favorite composer’s (Kai Engel) music was playing in the room.
The music made my awakening out of the narcosis like the movie Inception, where I awoke from unconsciousness aware of several levels of unconsciousness, which were heavily colored by the film in question.

Othilias huvud kom ut 10.10 och hon gav genast ifrån sig ett par skrik och jag hade inte spruckit något när huvudet kom ut. Jag var dock tvungen att invänta nästa värk, för jag hade inga krafter kvar. Värkarna kom fortfarande bara var 5:e minut och det blev en lång väntan tills sista värken kom som gjorde att jag kunde trycka ut resten av Othilias kropp. Denna väntan gjorde förlossningsläkarna väldigt nervösa så när värken äntligen kom så “hjälpte” de till att få ut henne. Hon hade dock inte hunnit rotera klart så hennes axel fastnade lite och gjorde så jag jag sprack lite grann, trots att min barnmorska höll emot.

Jag tog emot Othilia mellan mina ben och såg genast att jag satt i en sjö av mitt egna blod. Med Othilia kom även nästan en liter blod ut på en gång. Pontus beskrev det som en scen ur motorsågsmassakern och jag blev genast upplyft på förlossningsstolen då jag inte slutade blöda. Medan vi väntade på att navelsträngen skulle sluta pulsera, så förberedde ett läkarteam för att söva ned mig för att hitta och stoppa blödningen. I 15 minuter fick jag hålla i Othilia medan vi väntade på att Pontus kunde klippa navelsträngen. Othilias navelsträng var väldigt kort så hon fick ligga på min mage istället för på bröstet.  När väl klippningen av navelsträngen skedde så var anestesiläkarna direkt där och sövde ned mig allt medan vår favoritkompositörs (Kai Engel) musik spelade i rummet.
Musiken gjorde att mitt uppvaknade ur narkosen kändes som filmen Inception där jag steg upp ur medvetslösheten väldigt medveten om flera nivåer på väg mot medvetande, vilka dock var väldigt färgade av filmen i fråga.

Pontus bonding with Othilia

After the birth

It was a part of the placenta that had detached and caused the bleeding, so it was taken out and they also stitched the ruptures together while I was under narcosis. I felt like I had been hit by a truck when I woke up and it took 4 hours for me to get strong enough so I could finally have Othilia in my arms and start bonding with her. She had been in safe arms during all this time with her dad, Pontus, that had the important task of bonding with Othilia during her first hours outside the womb.

It would later show that the blood loss and these four hours affected the breastfeeding and milk production a lot. More about it in the next blog post.

Det var en del av placentan som hade lossnat och som orsakade blödningen, så den plockades ut och de sydde även mig under narkosen. Det tog 4 timmar för mig att bli tillräckligt pigg så att jag äntligen kunde hålla i Othilia och börja “ bonda” med henne. Hon hade dock varit i en säker famn och Pontus hade fått den viktiga uppgiften att bonda med Othilia under hennes första timmar utanför livmodern.

Det skulle visa senare att blodförlusten och dessa fyra timmar påverkade amningen och mjölkproduktionen en hel del. Mer om det i nästa blogginlägg.

Othilia after her first bath the day after the birth.

Week 40 of pregnancy and how grief can affect an unborn child

A lot of things happened during the last week before our due date and we wanted to make a blog post about how grief can affect an unborn child. This is what went on during week 40 of pregnancy for Ulrika and “Det lilla livet”.

Flera saker hände under den sista veckan före vårt beräknade förlossningsdatum och vi ville göra ett blogginlägg om hur sorg kan påverka ett ofött barn. Detta var det som hände för Ulrika och “Det lilla livet” under vecka 40 av graviditeten.

We have weekly appointments with our midwife to check the status of both Ulrika and “Det lilla livet”. Ulrika’s diastolic pressure has been on the rise the last couple of weeks, so when she entered week 40 the disastolic pressure hit 90, which puts Ulrika in the risk zone of getting preeclampsia. Ulrika had also started to feel pain in her hands in the morning, probably because of increased edema, so now Ulrika wanted to decrease her blood pressure. No protein in her urine was present so that was a good sign. Ulrika’s midwife recommended nettle tea, lots of fluid and rest before a second blood pressure would be taken a few days later at the week 40 appointment at the hospital.

Vi har veckovisa besök med vår barnmorska för att kontrollera statusen för både Ulrika och “Det lilla livet”. Ulrikas diastoliska tryck har stigit de senaste veckorna, så när vi kom in i vecka 40 så var det disastoliska trycket 90, vilket sätter Ulrika i riskzonen för att få preeklampsi (havandeskapsförgiftning). Ulrika hade också börjat känna smärta i händerna på morgonen, förmodligen på grund av ökat ödem, så nu ville Ulrika minska på blodtrycket. Inget protein i hennes urin var närvarande så det var ett gott tecken. Ulrikas barnmorska rekommenderade nässelte, massor av vätska och vila innan ett andra blodtryck skulle tas några dagar senare vid vecka 40 besöket på sjukhuset.

The same day Ulrika’s mother called and told us that the day we have been waiting and dreading for probably had come. We have known for a few months that Charlie was sick and the vet couldn’t say how long time he had left, but she told us that we would know when it was time for him to go. Ulrika has been preparing for this day, but she did not realize how hard the grief would hit her. Here is Charlie with Filip in “Stugan”, his favorite place in the world.

Samma dag ringde Ulrikas mor och berättade för oss att den dag vi har väntat och fruktade för förmodligen hade kommit. Vi har i några månader vetat att Charlie var sjuk och veterinären inte kunde säga hur länge han hade kvar, men hon berättade för oss att vi skulle veta när det var dags för honom att gå. Ulrika har förberett sig för denna dag, men hon insåg inte hur svår sorg som skulle drabba henne. Här är Charlie med Filip i “Stugan”, hans favoritplats i världen.

Our friends Rebecca, Daniel and Tova surprised every one by coming to Prague for a day, so Ulrika didn’t have to think about what was to come the same day. Interestingly, we have met and gotten to know both the King family and Rebecca, Daniel and Tova in Bali, so it was nice that they got to meet each other. We had a lovely day with them before they continued their journey. In the evening, Ulrika got the word that Charlie had fallen in to his last sleep without pain with the help of a vet.  It was now that the grief really hit her.

Våra vänner Rebecca, Daniel och Tova överraskade alla genom att komma till Prag för en dag, så Ulrika behövde inte tänka på vad som skulle komma samma dag. Intressant är att vi träffat och lärt känna både Kingfamiljen och Rebecca, Daniel och Tova på Bali, så det var trevligt att de träffade varandra. Vi hade en härlig dag med dem innan de fortsatte sin resa.
På kvällen fick Ulrika meddelandet att Charlie nu hade fallit in i sin sista sömn utan smärta med hjälp av en veterinär. Det var också nu som sorgen kom.

The next day we had an appointment with a pediatrician to enrol “Det lilla livet”. It was the final thing we had to fix before we were completely prepared to welcome her in to this world. Not all hospitals in Prague require you to have a pediatrician, but ours do. We found a really good pediatrician that was totally supportive and understanding about our way of life, so “det lilla livet” now has a pediatrician for every time we will be visiting Prague in the future. Here in Prague, a lot of doctor’s have their own private practices and they often sit in doctor’s houses (läkarhus).

Nästa dag hade vi en tid med en barnläkare för att skriva in “Det lilla livet” hos den personen. Det var det sista vi behövde fixa innan vi var helt beredda på att välkomna henne till denna värld. Inte alla sjukhus i Prag kräver att du har barnläkare, men vårt sjukhus gör det. Vi hittade en riktigt bra barnläkare som var väldigt stödjande och förstående för vår livsstil, så “det lilla livet” har nu en barnläkare för varje gång vi kommer att besöka Prag i framtiden. Här i Prag har många läkare sina egna privata mottagningar och de sitter ofta i så kallade läkarhus.

We celebrated the finalization of the documents needed for the birth with a carrot cake at our favorite café in Prague 1. Ulrika was happy but also really sad and she finally understood how hard the grief was hitting her in the evening when a long-time companion came back, stress-induced gastritis.

Vi firade slutförandet av de dokument som behövs inför födelsen med en morotskaka på vårt favoritkafé i Prag 1. Ulrika var glad, men också väldigt ledsen och hon förstod till slut hur svårt sorgen drabbade henne på kvällen när en gammal följeslagare kom tillbaka, stressinducerad magkatarr.

The following day was Ulrika’s week 40 appointment at the hospital and now the diastolic pressure was down to 80, which is a really good thing. However, Ulrika was not surprised. She had been monitoring her protein in the urea every day, still no trace of it, and she had felt that the pain in her hands and swelling had gone down. She had searched the scientific literature about nettle tea and blood pressure after her midwife’s recommendation and had found interesting articles, which made her want to at least try it. So for the 2.5 days between the two blood pressure measurements, she had been consuming a lot of nettle tea (5-6 big cups a day). If this helped we don’t know, but we do now that her blood pressure is no longer in the risk zone of developing preeclampsia.

Följande dag var det dags för Ulrikas vecka 40 besök på sjukhuset och nu var det diastoliska trycket nere på 80, vilket är en riktigt bra grej. Ulrika var dock inte förvånad. Hon hade övervakat hennes protein i urin varje dag, fortfarande inget spår av det, och hon hade känt att smärtan och svullnaden i händerna hade gått ner. Hon hade sökt igenom den vetenskapliga litteraturen om nässelte och blodtryck efter hennes barnmorskas rekommendation och hade hittat intressanta artiklar vilket gjorde att hon vill åtminstone prova det. Så de 2.5 dagarna mellan de två blodtrycksmätningarna hade hon konsumerat väldigt mycket nässelte (5-6 stora koppar om dagen).  Om detta hjälpte vet vi inte, men nu är  hennes blodtryck inte längre i riskzonen för att utveckla preeklampsi.

It was when we attached the CTG-equipment we learned about how grief can affect an unborn child. Ulrika had been really sad since Charlie’s passing and driving out to the hospital thinking about  how one life ends while another life begins was terrible. Charlie fell just before the finish line and there will forever be no period of time where both Charlie and “Det lilla livet” both inhaled the same air on this planet. There will only be a Charlie time and “Det lilla livet” time, separated by only a few days in eternity. The grief was in every part of Ulrika’s body, she could feel it and so could apparently “det lilla livet”.
Our daughter’s irregular baseline heart rate was 180 and everything above 160 is classified as tachycardia (heart beats excessively), so unless Ulrika couldn’t calm down, we would be admitted to the hospital. Grief is a stress mode where you release a lot of adrenaline in to your system and Ulrika’s increased production of adrenline made “det lilla livets” heart rate increase. This is why it is so important not to be stressed during a pregnancy.
Ulrika’s doctor was very understanding and we got two hours to drink lots of fluid, eat lunch and calm down before a second CTG would be performed.

Det var när vi satte på CTG-utrustningen som vi lärde oss om hur sorg kan påverka ett ofött barn. Ulrika hade varit väldigt ledsen sedan Charlie somnade in och när vi körde ut till sjukhuset så tänkte hon på hur ett liv slutar medan ett annat liv börjar, vilket var hemskt. Charlie föll strax före målsnöret och det kommer för alltid inte finnas någon tid där både Charlie och “Det lilla livet” andades samma luft på denna planet. Det kommer bara at finnas en Charlie-tid och “Det lilla livet” -tid, åtskilda av bara några dagar i evigheten. Sorgen fanns i hela Ulrikas kropp, hon kunde känna det och så kunde tydligen “det lilla livet”.
Vår dotters oregelbundna hjärtrytms-baslinje var 180 och allt över 160 klassificeras som takykardi (onormalt hög hjärtfrekvens), så om inte Ulrika kunde lugna ned sig, så skulle vi bli inlagda på sjukhuset. Sorg är ett stressläge där man släpper ut mycket adrenalin i systemet och Ulrikas ökade produktion av adrenalin resulterade i att “det lilla livets” hjärtfrekvens ökade. Det är därför det är så viktigt att inte stressa under en graviditet.
Ulrikas doktor var mycket förstående och vi fick två timmar på oss att dricka mycket vätska, äta lunch och lugna ner sig innan ett andra CTG skulle utföras.

The two hour away from the hospital and the realization of what Ulrika’s grief was doing to “Det lilla livet” had a positive effect. The baseline was back to a regular heartbeat of 140 and we could now go home.
Today (September 5th) is the calculated due date for “Det lilla livet” and we will not update the blog before our daughter is here.

De två timmarna utanför sjukhuset och insikten av vad Ulrikas sorg hade för effekt på “Det lilla livet” hade en positiv effekt. Baslinjen för hjärtfrekvensen var tillbaka på en stabil 140 och vi kunde nu åka hem.
Idag (5 September) är det beräknade förlossningsdatumet för “Det lilla livet” och vi kommer inte uppdatera bloggen något mer innan vår dotter är här.

In memory of Charlie pälsklingen Englund, 20061119-20180829.

Week 38 pregnancy update and blowing up the Stalin monument

Week 38 of pregnancy and we have installed ourselves here in Prague, it is here that we have decided to welcome our child. We are almost prepared for the coming birth, so we now have to plan small adventures or things to do so we don’t end up spending our days just waiting for the birthing to start.
We love Prague – the nature, the bitcoin-friendly atmosphere and the nice food cultures here, so we try to keep ourselves occupied, but within Ulrika’s energy level. Her energy level has really sunken this week, but more about being week 38 pregnant below. 

Vecka 38 av graviditeten och vi har installerat oss i Prag, det är här som vi har bestämt oss för att välkomna vårt barn. Nästan alla förberedelser inför den kommande födelsen är klara, så vi måste nu planera in små äventyr eller hitta på saker att göra så vi inte spenderar våra dagar med att bara vänta på att födseln ska börja.
Vi älskar Prag – naturen, den bitcoinvänliga atmosfären och de goda matkulturerna här, så vi försöker fylla dagarna, dock inom Ulrikas energinivå. Hennes energinivå har verkligen sjunkit den här veckan, men mer om att vara vecka 38 gravid nedan.

Week 38 of pregnancy and here we are in the Letna Park getting a nice view over a few of the bridges of Prague. Ulrika is trying not to fall in to the period of waiting, so we try to do small adventures those days Ulrika is feeling less tired.

There is a metronom, usually swinging from side to side, now standing in the middle of Letna Park after they blew up a 15 meter tall Stalin monument in 1962.

The Stalin monument during Czech Communism’s glory days. This is one of the reasons why we like the Czech Republic so much. A lot of people still remember those days and do not want to go back there. (Picture from Wiki Commons)

So Ulrika entered week 38 of pregnancy and we decided to go skin deep to document this pregnancy. Ulrika feels strong and beautiful, but a special form of fatigue has hit her. The scale says that she has gained 16 kg (35 pounds), but she doesn’t feel heavy yet. Her extremities, mostly her feet, have started to swell, but the blood pressure is good.  Baby’s heartbeat sounded healthy at our week 38 appointment with our midwife and the baby’s head is now in a downward position, but not quite fixated yet. We see our midwife once a week now the last couple of weeks before the calculated date of birth (September 3rd).

We don’t want to end up in a bubble of just waiting for our daughter’s arrival, then it is going to feel like forever before she is here, so we are fortunate to have our friends here, the King family. (Picture by: Caroline King).

Prague doesn’t have a lot of natural lakes, so man-made lakes are the place to go if you want to cool off during hot summer days. The temperature has been insane here in Prague as well, most days reaching temperatures over 35C.

Prague has a big Vietnamese community from the time where communist countries used to force their citizens to expatriate to other communist countries. We really like the Vietnamese cuisine, especially Pho Bo (Vietnamese beef noodle soup), so I’m glad that the Vietnamese community choose to stay in the Czech Republic after the fall of communism here.

Our midwife is located right in the middle of the tourist parts of Prague, so it can be hard to find nice food places, but our midwife told us about a lovely restaurant (Styl&Interier) in her neighborhood, which was hidden away in a back yard, where we could have lunch after a long appointment with her.

But mostly, we cook our meals at home and there are those little things Ulrika appreciates, like when Pontus has decorated our dinner (mashed turnips with fish in oven) with nicely cut out flowers made from a radish. Or that we have an IKEA nearby where we can buy Kalles Kaviar and hard rye bread.

We have done the last shopping needed before the coming birth here in Prague. This is another thing we really like about Prague, it is really a bitcoin-friendly city. There are around 14 two-way bitcoin ATM’s  just in and around the Prague area, so it is easy to get the local currency if you can’t pay directly with bitcoin.

Here is a map showing the location of all btc ATM’s in and around Prague, both one- and two-ways,

And some days Ulrika hasn’t even wanted to step outside, so she has finally finished her crochet project, creating a warm blanket for “det lilla livet”. Ulrika is not in to arts and crafts, and she hasn’t tried to crochet since the days of high school, but it is remarkable how much information you can get out of Youtube. Ulrika had an idea of what she wanted to create and five Youtube videos (and a number of hours crocheting) later “det lilla livet” now has a blanket.

Why we have chosen to give birth in Prague

We have decided to welcome our child here in the Czech Republic after months of research. Our research started with the whole world and ended with Prague in Czech Republic. The reasons behind this can be summed up in a few sentences

  • It is our first child so we decided to be in Europe, it is a bit closer to our families compared to Asia and Central America.
  • We looked for good quality medical services which was covered by Ulrika’s maternity insurance.
  • We wanted to either be really close to Sweden, but not in Sweden, or have a community surrounding us (Tallinn, Prague and Malta was added to our list)
  • We wanted to be able to have private options, especially when it came to midwifes. (Lissabon was added to our list)
  • Prague became our main choice mainly due to that we have our good friends the King family here. They have already gone through giving birth to a child here and they have connections that we could use.
  • The Czech Republic has one of the world’s lowest maternal mortality rates and they also have a good prenatal care.
  • It’s cheap to give birth here, about six times cheaper than Sweden and you get a lot for the money here. For example, you can have a private midwife and the hospital you choose is actually the hospital you are going to give birth at. This is not you what you can expect giving birth in for instance, Sweden.
  • The final argument to give birth in Prague was when the speaker list of this year’s version of Hacker’s Congress was released and we managed to get tickets to it.

Vi har beslutat att välkomna vårt barn här i Tjeckien efter månader av efterforskning. Vi utgick från hela världen och det  slutade med Prag i Tjeckien. Anledningen till detta kan sammanfattas med några få meningar

  • Det är vårt första barn så vi bestämde oss för att vara i Europa, det är lite närmare till våra familjer jämfört med Asien och Centralamerika.
  • Vi letade efter högkvalitativa medicinska tjänster och som täcktes av Ulrikas graviditetsförsäkring.
  • Vi ville antingen vara riktigt nära Sverige, men inte i Sverige, eller ha en grupp av frihetliga vänner som omger oss (Tallinn, Prag och Malta lades till på vår lista)
  • Vi ville ha privata alternativ, särskilt när det gäller barnmorskor. (Lissabon lades till vår lista)
  • Prag blev vårt främsta val på grund av att vi har våra goda vänner, familjen King här. De har redan gått igenom att föda ett barn här och de har kontakter som vi kan använda.
  • Tjeckien har en av de lägsta mödradödlighetsiffrorna i världen och väldigt bra neonatalvård.
  • Det är billigt att föda här, ungefär sex gånger billigare än Sverige och du får väldigt mycket för pengarna här. Exempelvis kan du ha privat barnmorska och sjukhuset du väljer är faktiskt det sjukhus som du kommer föda på. Det är något du inte kan förvänta dig när du föder i till exempel Sverige.
  • Det sista argumentet för att föda i Prag var när talarlistan av årets version av Hacker’s Congress släpptes och vi lyckades få biljetter till det.

The hospital we have chosen is located outside Prague – there are at least seven different maternity hospitals that we have found in and around Prague and some have better reputation than others. From the expat community here in Prague, three hospitals stood out (Rakovnik, Neratovice and Horovice) as being the most woman-friendly where birthing a child to a large extent is not looked  upon as a medical problem and where the “assembly line”-principle is not applied.

Another important thing for Ulrika was to have her own private midwife, who she can get to know before the delivery and be sure that the person who is going to be responsible for the birth has good knowledge about birthing techniques and has the personality that is complementary to Ulrika.  All this can be found in Prague, there is a big market for private midwifes and doulas here, and we were fortunate to have contacts that could help us find a good midwife.

Sjukhuset som vi har valt ligger utanför Prag – det finns minst sju olika förlossningssjukhus som vi hittat i och runt Prag och vissa sjukhus har ett bättre rykte än andra. Från “Expat”-gruppen här i Prag fick vi veta att tre sjukhus stod ut (Rakovnik, Neratovice och Horovice) som de mest kvinnovänliga sjukhusen där en födsel till stor del inte betraktas som ett medicinskt problem och löpandebandprincipen inte tillämpas

En annan viktig sak för Ulrika var att ha sin egen privata barnmorska, som hon kan lära känna innan förlossningen och vara säker på att personen som ska vara ansvarig för födelsen har goda kunskaper om förlossningstekniker, samt har en personlighet som är komplementär till Ulrika. Detta går att hitta i Prag, det finns en stor marknad för privata barnmorskor och doulas här, och vi hade tur att ha kontakter som kunde hjälpa oss att hitta en bra barnmorska.

Marketa is showing us one of two birthing rooms at the hospital.

Marketa is our midwife and she works part time at one of the top ranked hospitals (by the expat community) around Prague, and she was the one who could get us in to the most popular one Rakovnik. All hospitals here works differently, most require you to do a pre-registration at twelve weeks of pregnancy and some as late as week 36. Our hospital was of the first kind, but our midwife works here so we could do the pre-registration at week 28 when we where in Prague last time (in June). We got a guided tour around the hospital and Marketa went through step by step what happens here during birthing and what options Ulrika has.

Ulrika’s Czech midwife has worked 15 years as a midwife in a natural birthing center in Australia so she speaks excellent English and is also very knowledgeable about alternatives to both pharmacological pain relief and routine C-sections due to breech positioning.  In some hospitals in Prague, you’re not even allowed to choose the birthing position, but here you can even choose to give birth in a pool. This hospital suits our midwife the best and we hope that it will suit us too.

Marketa är vår barnmorska och hon arbetar deltid på en av de högst rankade sjukhusen (enligt expatgruppen) runt Prag, och hon var den som kunde ta oss in på det populäraste av dem Rakovnik. Alla sjukhus fungerar olika, de flesta kräver att du gör en förregistrering vid vecka tolv av graviditeten och några så sent som i vecka 36. Vårt sjukhus är av den första sorten, men vår barnmorska jobbar här så vi kunde göra förregistreringen i vecka 28 när vi var i Prag förra gången (i juni). Vi fick en guidad tur runt sjukhuset och Marketa gick igenom steg för steg vad som händer här under födseln och vilka alternativ som Ulrika har.

Ulrikas tjeckiska barnmorska har arbetat 15 år som barnmorska i ett naturligt födelsecenter i Australien så hon talar utmärkt engelska och är också mycket kunnig om alternativ till både farmakologisk smärtlindring och rutin kejsarsnitt på grund av sätesbjudning. På vissa sjukhus i Prag får du inte ens välja födelseposition själv, men här kan du till och med välja att föda i en pool. Detta sjukhus passar vår barnmorska bäst och vi hoppas att det passar oss också.

Our hospital requires a week 36 examination to be completely registered for birth here, so that was why we needed to be in Prague before Ulrika entered week 36. Our midwife met us at the hospital and went through important hospital policy documents and did the CTG-monitoring (a procedure where you monitor the baby’s heartbeat for a longer time). We also did an ultrasound and the last blood work and other tests Ulrika needed to do before the birth. We got to see one of the doctors working at the maternity ward and filling in all the necessary data in Ulrika’s journal.

Our midwife is the one who takes care of Ulrika and all the necessary check ups the last weeks of the pregnancy and she is the one we will call when the delivery starts. She will be the one handling the delivery at the hospital with doctors standing by, if an acute situation would occur, and she will also be handling the postnatal care and do home visits after the birth.

Vår sjukhus kräver en undersökning vid vecka 36 för att man ska vara helt registrerad för födelse här. Därför behövde vi vara i Prag innan Ulrika gick in i vecka 36. Vår barnmorska träffade oss på sjukhuset och gick igenom viktiga policy dokument från sjukhuset och gjorde CTG- mätning (en metod där man övervakar barnets hjärtslag under längre tid). Vi gjorde också ett ultraljud och de sista blodtesterna och andra test som Ulrika behövde göra före födseln. Vi träffade en av de läkare som arbetar på förlossningsavdelningen och fick fylla i alla nödvändiga uppgifter i Ulrikas journal.

Vår barnmorska är den som tar hand om Ulrika, barnet och alla veckokontroller de sista veckorna av graviditeten och hon är den vi ska ringa till när förlossningen startar. Hon kommer att vara den som är ansvarig för förlossningen på sjukhuset där läkare står “stand by”, om en akut situation skulle inträffa, och hon kommer också att hantera eftervården och göra hembesök efter födseln.

Everything looked great and our girl has not been fixated yet, but she is head down at the moment.
A link to the brochure about creating a positive birth experience and knowing your rights in the Czech Republic can be found here. It is a very important document which can also be found in Czech, Russian, Vietnamese and Romani.

Allt såg bra ut och vår flicka har ännu inte fixerat sig, men hon har huvudet nedåt just nu.
En länk till broschyren om att skapa en positiv födelseupplevelse och att veta dina rättigheter i Tjeckien finner du här. Det är ett mycket viktigt dokument som även finns på tjeckiska, ryska, vietnamesiska och romska.

Hot summer, pregnancy and Säter’s mental healthcare museum

July was incredible hot in Sweden and for Ulrika this meant tiredness and just find ways to try to cool off. We had planned to spend some time with family before we had to leave Sweden, so we did just that. Ulrika’s birthday wish was to go to Säter’s mental healthcare museum so this trip was our only adventure during July. We also had to do a lot of preparations for the coming birth of our child, so July went by incredible fast for us.  Below is a summary of our July in pictures.

Juli var otroligt hett i Sverige och för Ulrika betydde det en otrolig trötthet och försöka hitta sätt att vara sval. Vi hade planerat att spendera denna tid med familjen innan vi var tvungna att lämna Sverige, så vi gjorde just det. Ulrikas födelsedagsönskning var att åka till Säters mentalvårdsmuseum, så denna utflykt var vårt enda äventyr under juli. Vi var också tvungna att göra flera förberedelser för vårt barns kommande födelse, så juli gick otroligt snabbt för oss. Nedan följer en sammanfattning av vårt juli i bilder.

Week 32 photo of Ulrika and little did she know that Sweden would experience the hottest summer since the Swedish Weather institute started their measurements 250 years ago. Here. she was just glad not to be nearer the equator

We were in Dalarna with Pontus family for the most part helping out with different things.

Helping Pontus mother start building a greenhouse.

We also got to hang out with Pontus nephew Noa (Grattis Noa på födelsedagen!)

Noa showing us and his mother Hanna that he was almost ready to start walking by himself. Soon he would let go of his parents hands and begin to explore the world.

We went to an outdoor auction in Dalarna.

It is interesting to see the psychology behind the bidding strategies.

Found a funny sign in one of the stores we visited: “Win a free ride in a police car. The only thing you need to do is to shoplift in this store. Say hello to the camera :)”

The temperature just rose and rose, and soon it was no longer pleasant to be in Sweden in the end of a pregnancy.

The only thing we could do was to cool ourselves in the lakes, here in Långviken.

And Harnäs.

Ulrika during week 35 before cooling off in lake Grycken after an incredible hot day (compared to other Swedish summers).

Ulrika also turned 35 during those hot summer days and Pontus baked a cake for her using his mother’s recipe.

Ulrika finally got to visit Säters mentalvårdsmuseum (Säter’s mental healthcare museum). The state institution for mentally ill persons and others opened 1912 and parts of the area is still operational – the forensic psychiatry clinic.

It is a small museum and you have to book the guided tour in advance, but it is so worth it to take the guided tour. You get to learn about the psychiatric care in the beginning of last century and what standard practices to help and “help” mentally ill persons have looked like during the last century.

Most interesting is the part where the patients crafts and artistry are displayed. This cardigan was created by a psychotic woman, where the front piece were worked on during her “chaotic” episodes and the back piece worked on during her calm episodes.

A wedding dress by a female patient who thought that she and the head doctor were to get married.

The doctor’s name was Theodore (Ted).

There were no lack of innovators in this place. This gun was designed to be able to shoot around corners.

Other made more or less correct predictions of the future. One patient were concerned about the future of electricity and he wrote a book about it “About the ravages of electricity” in 1920.

Others feared about overpopulation of Sweden already in 1939.

And a few patients really could envision what the world would look like in the future describing wireless telephones already in 1912, but the doctors at that time called it hallucinations.

Back in Stjärnsund we ate Ulrika’s birthday cake and had a quiet celebration. Ulrika thinks that Pontus did a very good job with creating this birthday cake!

We enjoyed our time with family in July, but we we’re also preparing for giving birth to our child – one of the tasks were to visit a Notarius Publicus to get an Apostille stamp on important documents. It was interesting to see that Gävle had a Finnish honorary consulate.

Ulrika has used home tests to monitor her iron levels and after taking iron supplements for a months she were finally back to normal levels. This is another thing to be aware of, taking control over your body, when you don’t have a specific doctor or midwife to go to. Fortunately, there are so much things that you can do nowadays to monitor yourself. We ordered several home tests from HH UK like protein in Urea, Vitamin D levels etc (link below).

Home Health UK

We got delayed, because of car trouble, so we couldn’t leave Sweden at our planned date. We got more time with family, but we wanted to leave Sweden before Ulrika entered week 36.

Just before Ulrika entered week 36 everything was fixed and we had packed our bags for the coming months.

We passed Göteborg to say good bye to this little muggler.

And Sweden said good bye to us with one final fire – now at an industrial site. The heat and dryness have really been extreme this summer in Sweden and a lot of forests have gone up in flames.

Ulrika’s brother has been one of the heroes fighting the fires in the extreme heat. They managed to get the fire outside Kårböle in control! (Picture taken by one of Niklas colleagues at R3 Uppsala)

Now it is August and technically “det lilla livet” can come any time from the middle of August to middle of September. It is going to be exciting couple of weeks we are facing!

Nu är det augusti och tekniskt sett så kan det lilla livet komma någon gång från mitten av augusti till mitten av september. Det kommer att bli spännande några veckor vi står inför!

In the Swedish “”

We had to enter the Swedish bubbla, but fortunately for us we have our own “” with family and friends that we like to be inside when we are in Sweden. The big day for us is coming closer so we want to spend this last time with family and friends before we will go and welcome our child. This time around it was going to be all about bubbles with a name giving ceremony, meet up with Boris and a wonderful wedding. 

Vi var tvungna att åka in i den svenska bubblan, men lyckligtvis har vi vår egen “” med familj och vänner som vi tycker om att vara inne i när vi är i Sverige. Den stora dagen för oss kommer allt närmare så vi vill spendera denna sista tid tillsammans med familj och vänner innan vi ska åka och välkomna vårt barn. Den här gången skulle det handla om bubblor med en namngivningsceremoni,äff med Boris och ett underbart bröllop.

Back on Swedish soil and we realized that we were close to the most Southern point in Sweden – Smygehuk. Also, Ulrika is showing off her week 29 belly.
We visited Smygehuk in the early morning before we headed North, it was going to be a long day on the road for us.

We had lunch in Kalmar and decided to tick another thing off the bucket list. Ulrika has never seen Ölandsbron, the 6 kilometer long bridge that connects the island Öland to the mainland.

We came back to Sweden for Ulrika’s nephew Filip’s name giving ceremony, the secular version of baptism, and to spend time with our families before we need to focus on welcoming our girl to this world.

We celebrated Midsummer, the Swedish feast that is the closest to a national day Sweden has. Here we danced to classical Swedish ballads around a leaf- and flower-covered Phallus.

We got the opportunity to meet and speak with Boris, one half of the podcast “radio”. Here he is with Ulrika’s nephew Filip. We also bought a signed copy of his book ” Inte mitt krig” about the death of the Swedish leftist movement during the 70’s and how they instead infiltrated the institutions causing the Swedish state to swell into an enormous bureaucratic and socialist apparatus, which is the main reason why today’s Sweden is collapsing.

You can find the book here at Cultura Aetatis,  the publishing house under the umbrella.

We also got the opportunity to dress up to celebrate the union of our friends Martin and Sofia, the founders of project and radio Ulrika found a dress that she could wear at 30 weeks of pregnancy.

It was a lovely ceremony in Stockholm and Boris was the marriage officiant. Thank you Martin and Sofia for letting us be part of your special day.

the first dance as a married couple!

We headed back to Ulrika’s family to spend more time with them. Filip loves water so we took him to Högbosjön one day.

He didn’t hesitate to get in the water even though the water temperature was far from the indoor baby pool he is used to.

We also spent one day at Furuvik, an amusement park and zoo, near Gävle and we chose a nice day to be here, Sweden played against South Korea at the World Soccer Championship, so we were almost alone in the park.

We had a barbecue party with a few of Ulrika’s cousins.

and “det lilla livet” got her first pair of shoes from Linnéa, one of Ulrika’s cousins. Thank you Linnéa!

” Det lilla livet” has gotten a lot of things from both mormor (maternal grandmother), moster (maternal auntie) and friends, so it was time to organize our girl’s things.

It was time for our girl to get her own back pack and for us to gather all her things. It is only two month left before she will be here, so from now on her back pack will travel with us.

Technical Windecksattel and entering the third trimester

Windecksattel was our main goal before we left Austria for this time. Sandra and Markus had told us to leave this, more technical, hiking trail until the end of our stay, so the snow cover would have a chance to disappear before we hiked up to this part of the Alps.
 We felt that it was time to try it just before Pontus birthday  – the weather was a major factor and the weather forecast said that more unstable weather was to come during the following days. We packed food and water, which Pontus were responsible for carrying up the mountain and Ulrika, who just entered the third trimester, were responsible for carrying “det lilla livet” up the mountain. It was going to be a long day out in nature.

Windecksattel var vårt huvudsakliga mål innan vi lämnade Österrike för den här gången. Sandra och Markus hade berättat att vi skulle lämna den här, mer tekniska, vandringsleden till slutet av vår vistelse, så att snötäcket skulle ha en chans att försvinna innan vi vandrade upp till denna del av Alperna.
Vi kände att det var dags att försöka oss på denna led precis före Pontus födelsedag – vädret var en viktig faktor och väderprognosen hade sagt att mer ostabilt väder skulle rulla in under de kommande dagarna. Vi packade mat och vatten, vilket Pontus var ansvarig för att bära upp på berget och Ulrika, som just gick in i tredje trimestern, var ansvarig för att bära “det lilla livet” upp på berget. Det skulle bli en lång dag ute i naturen.

Last hike for us in Riezlern and it was going to be an epic one – incredible landscape and Ulrika entering the last trimester (28 weeks pregnant). We chose to head up to Windecksattel and crossing the border to Germany .

This time we would have this view over RIezlern. It was going to be a 750 meter ascent with more or less trail to to follow. Our total distance hiked would be 15 km.

First part was through a fir forest, but we would soon leave the conifers and the easy hiking trail behind us.

Parts of the trail were more technical than others, but it was no problem to hike the trail while being pregnant.

We soon found a sign that should be followed, especially during the winter months when snow hides the terrain.

There are an extensive cave system underneath the mountains in the valley and one of the entry points can be found on this trail. It is a 90 meter deep hole and you don’t want to fall down there while skiing down the trail.

First mission was to reach Mahdtal and eat lunch there before taking on the last part up to Windecksattel.

We did a pregnancy photo shoot in Mahdtal, capturing Ulrika during week 28 on her way to reach her goal at the Windecksattel.

Mahdtal during spring.

Just south of Windecksattel is the Torkopf peak (1930 meters). It is a reachable peak, but we felt that it was better to save this adventure for another time when Ulrika is not pregnant.

We reached the part of the trail where snow still was present. We saw a mountain goat coming down the mountain to lay down on the snow, probably to cool down.

More snow was present the higher up we went and we had to walk over snow covers during the last part of the trail. It became quite steep as well.

We finally reached Windecksattel and got a nice view of the landscape on the other side of the mountain.

Our original plan was to follow the trail through Obere Gottesackerwände, but it was to much snow left on the ground. We decided to turn back here, but we were still impressed with ourselves, hiking 7.5 km and ascending 750 meters. In the end, we kept a pace of 18:04 min per kilometer and maximum altitude was 1840 meters.

We celebrated Pontus 36th birthday while we were in Riezlern. We had a few days of unstable weather before we left this place, so it was a quiet and peaceful celebration this year. After the birthday we had to leave Austria for another central European country – the Czech Republic.

Trying altitudes – Schöntal and above

Our next goal was to see how Ulrika’s pregnant body handled altitudes so Schöntal was our option when we wanted to hike an easy trail and reach higher altitudes. Schöntal is a peak that we have seen from Sandra and Markus place every time we’ve visited them, so we felt it was time see how the valley looked from that part of the Alps. Ulrika was in week 27 so we were also curious how she could handle the ascent and the long trail – it was going to be a 18 km hike in the end of the day.

Vårt nästa mål var att se hur Ulrikas gravida kropp hanterade höjder så Schöntal var vårt alternativ när vi ville ha en lättare vandringsväg, samt nå högre höjder. Schöntal är ett ställe som vi har sett från Sandra och Markus plats varje gång vi har besökt dem, så vi kände att det var dags att se hur dalen såg ut från den delen av Alperna. Ulrika var i vecka 27 så vi var också nyfiken på hur hon kunde hantera stigningen och den långa leden – det skulle bli en 18 km vandring i slutet av dagen.

Pontus and the meadow. We started easy and we have to say that coming here during late spring is wonderful. The flowers fills the valley and the weather is great.

The first part of our 18 km hike was through the valley and not so much increasing in altitudes. Our mission was the green peak right in front of us.

We took a few breaks, because we knew that we had a long hike to manage, and waterfalls are always a reason to stop for.

Soon there were altitudes to climb and it went quite well.

We reached Schöntal and Ulrika still felt good to go so we continued and soon we had a nice view over Riezlern.

Finally, we reached a satisfying altitude at 1500 meter above sea level, a 500 meter ascent compared to our starting level at 1000 meters. The total ascent during the hike was 1000 meter.

Ulrika was very proud of herself. The pace during the whole 18 km trail was 14:50 min/km – it was not the best, but it didn’t matter. 27 weeks pregnant and still going strong! “Det lilla livet”  seems to like being carried up on mountain tops.

The view was incredible and we could see the snow still on Hoher Ifen, a peak/plateau we reached last year with Sandra and Markus.

Our adventure on Ifen!

Our way back was on trafficked roads, it was in case Ulrika should start having pains or cramps, so our back up option was to jump on a bus back to our place.

But the landscape was still absolutely stunning.

The roads around Schöntal are steep and narrow.

Ulrika still felt awesome so we abandoned the trafficked roads for more nature walk for the last part of our hike.

Soon back home, we just had a small ascent left.

Our last waterfall on our hike, so we had to capture it on camera. After this successful hike we decided it was time to try a more technical trail.

Road trip to Riezlern and hiking while being pregnant

Riezlern, we have been here before to visit Sandra and Markus, friends to us who have taken us on adventures on mountain bikes, hiking, climbing Aggenstein and doing klettersteig on mountain ridges.
This time around Ulrika was going to be a bit bigger and be less fit, so we had to find a pace comfortable for her. Ulrika has noticed that her walking pace slowly has declined from around 8.5-9 min/km to around 11-11.5 min/km on a flat surface, near sea level, and now we would be on 1000 meters above sea level and higher, hiking up on mountain tops. Pregnant in week 26 and fortunately enough Ulrika hasn’t experienced any negative pregnancy symptoms during the second trimester that would keep her away from being active.

Vi har varit i Riezlern förut för att besöka Sandra och Markus, våra vänner som har tagit oss på äventyr på  bl.a. moutainbikes, vandring, klättra Aggenstein och klettersteig på bergskam. Den här gången skulle Ulrika vara lite större och ha mindre kondition, så vi var tvungna att hitta en takt som var bekväm för henne. Ulrika har märkt att hennes gånghastighet sakta har minskat från ca 8,5-9 min/km till omkring 11-11,5 min/km på plan yta, nära havsnivå, och nu skulle vi vara på 1000 meter över havet och högre för att vandra upp på bergstoppar. Graviditetsvecka 26 och lyckligtvis har hon ännu inte upplevt några negativa graviditetssymptom under andra trimestern som kunde hålla henne borta från att vara aktiv.


After some intensive weeks, we were really longing for nature and mountains, so we hit the road down to Austria to once again have this view at the door step.

On our way south, we took the opportunity to pass Bamberg and visit our friend Michi! We had time to eat franconian food and catch up on each other’s lifes.

Finally in Riezlern and our friends Markus and Sandra have gotten a ping pong table. Pontus and Markus played well into the dark and had to use headlamps.

Sandra and Markus are going on their own adventures, so we said goodbye to them and we will do our best to keep their plants alive and the squirrels away from the bird feeding table.

Ulrika loves the overflow of non-alcoholic beer in southern Germany. Weissbeer, pils, lager etc can be found in a non-alcoholic variant and many of them actually tastes like beer. We stocked up and then returned to Riezlern.

There are so many hiking tracks to explore in Kleinwalsertal where Riezlern is situated, and we wanted to be out in nature and relax after a couple of busy weeks.

First we took borrowed bikes and biked through the center of Riezlern.

The main road through the town that continues further in to the valley.

Riezlern, a tiny Alp village, even has their own casino.

We were soon in between villages and the view is magnificent.

Ulrika’s stamina is not what it is used to be, but we managed to go for a 15 km bike ride in our new “Ulrika is pregnant”-pace.

The thunder and lightning are often rolling in during the evenings and nights, creating an amazing light show. This picture was taken one of the nights here and it felt like watching the”war of the worlds”. We wouldn’t be surprised if a silhouette of a tripod fighting machine would show up on the horizon.

The breakfast view is a favorite.

We didn’t want to go out to strong, because we didn’t know how Ulrika’s body would respond to longer and more technical hiking trails. Therefore, our first mission was to hike through the valley and reach Oberwäldele. It is a nice and easy trail through the Kleinwalsertal landscape and it was no problem for Ulrika to handle.

Spring is one of the best periods of the year to come here for hiking. The flowers bloom and most of the snow is gone.

We found a glade covered in freshly bloomed cow parsley.

The houses in the area look like traditional Alp houses and they are often nicely decorated.

The trail takes you through open landscapes and forests. There are a few waterfalls hiding in the forest, so we took a few breaks along the way.

The trail was easy and Ulrika had no problem hiking 10 km, so  next up was to try to hike up on one of the mountain tops surrounding the valley. This adventure will be covered in our next blog post.

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