My Secret Life
You may have noticed that I have been a bit quiet for the past few months. That’s because I have been living a lie. I have been carrying on a secret life…the secret life of a pregnant woman! That’s right. I am preggers, with child, in a family way, expecting, and knocked up. I have a bun in the oven and I am eating for two. However you say it – it’s true!
While this is very happy news for my family it has meant a lot of changes for me and Paul. First of all, we have had to move from our Peace Corps site on the coast to Quito, the capital, to be closer to the approved hospital and away from the risk of contracting Malaria.
Once we found out (about two months ago at this point) we had to immediately pack up our belongings and say farewell to our host family, counterparts, and friends. It was a very tearful adios and since I can’t take Malaria meds anymore, it really was good-bye for me. I won’t be returning to the coast, not even to visit, until I have given birth.
To answer a few common questions:
1. Yes, Peace Corps allows pregnant volunteers to continue to serve at least through the first trimester.
The Peace Corps pregnancy policies have changed over the years – from a very liberal policy in the early years to a very strict one up until recently. I have heard stories of female volunteers being “Medically Separated” (basically a technical term meaning you had to leave the Peace Corps for medical reasons beyond your control) immediately, no questions asked. Now, the policy is to make a determination about the volunteer’s service on a case by case basis. Volunteers can serve during the first trimester but beyond that it depends on the volunteer. This means asking the volunteer what they want to do, making sure that adequate medical care is available, and removing the volunteer from any site that might be harmful to her health or the health of the baby. Hence, our move.
For me, it is important that I can continue to serve even if some of the projects I am still working on are a 14 hour bus-ride away. I have a new counterpart in Quito (more on that in future posts) but Paul is going to travel once a month back to the coast to keep up with our work there.
2. No, I will not be delivering here in Ecuador.
Paul and I made the decision that we would like to deliver in Boston near our families. I have an excellent doctor there and it will be such a comfort to be close to our family and friends for the final trimester and delivery. I am due the first week in April, coincidentally the official date of our Close of Service so I will be able to fly back Stateside in early January.
Everyone at our Peace Corps office has been so accommodating and supportive of us and we couldn’t feel more fortunate for this. We have been granted an “Early Close of Service” so we can officially complete our Peace Corps Service and also leave early.
3. No, we are not going to find out the sex of the child.
Paul is excited about the idea of a surprise and as much as it will be challenging for me, I’d like to be able to give him this.
4. Yes, we have a few names picked out already but are open to suggestions.
No guarantees we’re going to like the suggestions but you’re welcome to share your favorite names!
5. I’m feeling great, thanks for asking!
While I was very nauseas in the beginning I am feeling a lot better now. Besides hating certain smells (keep that garlic and those olives away from me!) I am just a lot more tired. Paul read somewhere that being pregnant is like climbing Mt. Everest every day. Not sure if that’s exactly true but it sure feels like it sometimes!
6. After staying in a hostal for a few weeks we found a great apartment.
Any city apartment would feel luxurious compared to where we used to live but our new digs are actually amazing. Max not only has a yard to play in now but he also found a girlfriend in the neighbor’s dog. Good thing they are both fixed or we would have another pregnancy to deal with before we knew it!
It’s a 2 bedroom so there’s room for guests and for a project room that is getting a lot of use right now. We live close to a park that has concerts and a farmer’s market and we’re not far from the major bus lines. What could be better?
7. Yes, Paul is the father : )
So, that’s the big news. Now I can start sharing the projects I have been working on lately from hand-made baby accoutrements to the graphic design and communications work I am doing with my new counterpart. So, stay tuned for all that.
As Paul likes to say, we came to Ecuador as two people and we’re leaving as a family of four with Max and baby on the way.
So, from our growing family to yours – enjoy!