I thought today maybe I'd give you a little of a backstory on our first pregnancy since we're already more than halfway through it! We found out about our little miracle only 3 weeks after arriving in New Zealand. It was early spring (in New Zealand, that is!) and we were temporarily living in an ancient, drafty student house in Dunedin because our house-sitting opportunity on the peninsula wasn't available until October 1 and it was currently only September at the time. It was a bit of a rough landing for us in this new country and we were mostly on our own. No car, no maps, no info on neighborhoods or landmarks. We didn't even know where a grocery store was at first! In the midst of trying to get our footing and adjust to the new culture and time zone, there was also this growing awareness that I might in fact, be pregnant also. I was already in the habit of taking my temperature every morning so we could look for a pattern that would indicate pregnancy. (This is a common practice in Natural Family Planning, sometimes also called The Fertility Awareness Method.) Sure enough, after 21 days of high morning temperatures, we were pretty sure about what was going on. We became more and more excited as the days continued to tick by. We thought it would be a good idea to take a test, even though we mostly already knew. After taking the test, I came back downstairs where Dan was waiting to hear. "Dan, you're a daddy!" I said with a big grin. "I am?! Really?!" We were both so completely happy! It was a feeling not unlike the moment Dan asked me to marry him- complete joy.
In the next few days, we began reading all about pregnancy and babies. I contacted a New Zealand friend's mother who is a doctor, who gave me advice about what to do- what to eat, what not to eat, activities to avoid, how to exercise, etc. She also put me in touch with a midwife, since using a midwife is free in this country, and hardly anyone goes to an obstetrician here. In New Zealand, the general thought is, "Pregnancy is a natural function, not a disease" so medical intervention seems to be minimal here. I've decided I like that approach to pregnancy, especially in low risk cases like mine, and that sentiment has informed my thoughts about how I'd like to go through these 9 months and how I think labor and delivery ought to be. More on that some other time.
At first we kept it a secret from our families because we had a brilliant idea on how to tell them the news. We bought a ball of yarn - 1 for Dan's parents and 1 for mine. We sent each to them in a plain mailing envelope without an explanation. When our parents received the packages, we made sure we were on the phone with them to listen to them open them up. At first, they were quite confused and said, "Dan and Julie, what's this yarn for?" Our answer was, "That's for you, Grandma, so you can start knitting baby booties!" Both sets of parents were overjoyed and I think I can speak for them when I say they are so tremendously excited to be grandparents for the first time!