Friday, August 31, 2007

Meet the Parents

So how has our first week of parenthood been? Not easy if we're honest. Waking up every 2.5-3 hours throughout the day and night to feed Audrey is never going to be a walk in the park is it?

Combine that with LOTS of poo-ey nappies, crying at 3am (from all 3 of us!) and you get the idea....
Days and nights have just merged into one, very often we've no idea what time of day it is, nor what day it is!
On Monday Audrey was still really sleepy (a good thing for a baby you'd think?) but it did worry us. After a couple of consultations with the FANTASTIC midwife Maria though, we seem to have got Audrey's feeding cracked and things are a LOT better now.

Thanks to everyone who sent us good wishes last week - we haven't got round to replying to many of them, but it was really nice to read them in our waking hours!
And now the good news...Audrey is such a beautiful baby. We know we've got a really really long way to go, but she is a real little flame burning brightly in our lives. We feel so happy to have her. Maria told us that she believes babies choose their parents, and we hope that (despite our clumsiness and naive attempts at parenthood!) she's happy with what she's got!

Till next time.

Audrey's first ride in her fancy car seat

Audrey reacting to hearing daddy's joke for the fifth time..

Audrey on her rug!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Welcome to the World Audrey Grace Hickman

Audrey Grace Hickman born 24 August (10.35am) 3.28kg (7lb 2oz) 53cm

Little Audrey decided to come into the World on Friday!

Amy started having slight contractions on Thursday evening around 11pm. We went to bed, knowing that the next day was probably going to be the 'Big Day'. Sure enough, around 4am the contractions had got much stronger and closer together. We rang Maria (the midwife) at 5am (poor Maria) who suggested that Amy took a warm bath for an hour and then called her back (that way Maria got an extra hours sleep?).

When we called back Maria advised us to get to the hospital (the contractions were around 3-4 mins apart and VERY strong).

Pene and Mike had offered to drive us to the hospital, so they got a call sometime around 6.30am(!) and we headed off.

When we arrived at the hospital Amy was in quite a bit of pain, but there was still a fair amount of beuracratic paperwork to fill in - even though we had already 'pre-registered' a couple of weeks ago to try and avoid this (this is Poland after all).

Maria was incredible and helped both of us so much. Amy took the drugs on offer and we went into an orange (old gold?) birthing room. We won't go into the nitty gritty, but Audrey was born 3 hours later.

We were SO happy and surprised that things went so smoothly and quickly, as we had been fully anticipating a 27 hour labour (we'd been reading too many horror stories in baby books)...

The hospital was fantastic. We had our own private room and Amy had a great bed that zipped up and down into various angles. (Trevor was a bit more taken with this than Amy!). Trevor was able to spend the two nights we were there in the room on a comfy fold out bed. We spent 3 days in the hospital and were waited on by assorted nurses all of whom were fantastic.

We came home on Sunday night and are now getting used to the idea that we are parents and are responsible for our beautiful little girl :) :) :)

To look at some (more) pictures of Audrey click here

Thursday, August 23, 2007

To the hospital.....but no baby yet!

Well, baby Hickman, is now officially past her estimated due date (22 August) - she's late which means she must take after her father ;)

We went to the hospital today to have an ultrasound and to monitor her heartbeat to make sure everything is OK. All looking good and now we just have to be patient and wait for her to decide when to make her entry into the world.

We'll keep you posted....

In the meantime, we have been enjoying spending time together and exploring parts of Warsaw we haven't been to yet. Yesterday, we ventured outside the city to Kampinos Forest (about a 50 minute bus ride from the city centre). We had a picnic lunch and a walk/waddle around the outskirts of the forest. We'll have to go back and explore a bit more once the baby is born.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nic nowego - as they say in Poland

(translates as 'nothing new')....still no baby!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Still waiting.....

Sorry if you’re logging in expecting to hear news of our baby….nothing’s happened….

We’ve tried all the ‘recommended’ things – eating curry, riding a bike on bumpy pavements (!!) and chewing on pineapple, but it looks like she’s holding firm and is going to go the duration ;)

Despite this we enjoyed (probably) our last child free weekend in Warsaw. The National Museum in Warsaw had an exhibition of works by Stanisław Wyspiański, a famous Polish artist who in his 38 years of life managed to be Director of Arts at Krakow University, paint a number of masterpieces as well as staging 17 plays. Not bad really. We liked his work.

On Saturday night we caught up with Amy’s friend Drew, who had just arrived back in Warsaw from Melbourne. He brought with him a whole stash of Violet Crumble choc bars, so Amy was very happy to see him. We went for a curry and then on for a few drinks (Amy wants you all to know that she had lemonade).

We’ve just returned from the Botanical Gardens, a 20 minute bus ride outside of Warsaw. We’d not been before and as it was such a sunny day here we had a really nice time. During the summer they put on international piano concerts in the park (translated to ‘music in the flowers’) so it was nice to sit in the sun and listen to a bit of Chopin, Liszt etc before wandering/waddling around the beautiful grounds.

Dahlias in the Botanical Gardens

The 'musical florals' concert - the pianist is under the blue gazebo

Amy and Trevor by some sunflowers

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


We're still waiting....

Maria the midwife rang today to see if everything was ok. It was good to hear from her, and everything appears to be going fine. She told us that if the baby hasn't arrived by the 22nd or 23rd she'll book Amy to have another scan. Everything is fine though. The baby is really active and Amy regularly gets prodded by arms or legs - it must be getting tight in there!

Today was a public holiday so we went to the Praga district. It's an eastern suburb, which was off-limits to Western visitors as it had a reputation for crime and strange sights and sounds!! It is still not somewhere to visit at the dead of night, but today was lovely and sunny so we travelled over by tram for a quick look around. There is a huge Othordox Church and also a large Russian War memorial - Varsarvians' least favourite monument! A lot of scenes from the Pianist (a great film) were shot in Praga as it was not as damaged during WWII as other parts of Warsaw.

We came back via the old town as we were both in need of ice cream!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Quiet Weekend

We enjoyed a quiet weekend this weekend (probably one of our last for a while!). On Saturday night we went to a dinner party at Sarah's house (from the British Embassy). She laid on some lovely food and we had a great time. Another guest, Emma (also from the British Embassy) is also pregnant, so her and Amy sat on the sofa like bookends :)

On Sunday we went to a really nice park near our apartment which has just re-opened after closing for renovations. The afternoon was really sunny, but around 4pm there was a huge storm which seems to have blown down a few trees throughout Warsaw.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Concrete Legacy and Wedding!

Today we went to see an exhibition that had recently opened at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Warsaw called 'Concrete Legacy'.

The exhibition looked at the huge expansion of concrete estates that sprung up throughout Poland both after the second World War and throughout Communist Times. It was incredible to see videos of 'fabryczny domow' (housing factories) which literally built ready made walls - complete with windows and doors!

The exhibition was really extensive and we really enjoyed it. Unfortunately not all of it was translated into English (there were interviews with architects asking them how they felt about their 'work' now for example) but we got the idea.

In the afternoon we went to the wedding of Kinga and Tomek (a couple from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs) who Amy knows. The wedding was at 5pm and the church was packed to the rafters. We managed to miss the start of the wedding in traditional manner (the taxi didn't show up!) but fortunately being a long Catholic wedding we didn't miss too much!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Polonia Warszawa v LKS Lomza

Going to a Polish football game when 9 months pregnant would probably not come high on the list of recommendations from any doctor. Especially when the game is in the Polish 2nd division and the match tickets cost 15 zloty (about 3 quid or 6 bucks).

Last night though we went to watch Polonia play Lomza. Fortunately it was quite a nice atmosphere, and we sat two seats away from a similarly pregnant lady (no doubt dragged there by an equally persistent husband!)

The game started with VERY polite applause amongst the 1,500 crowd and I was a bit worried that the atmosphere was going to be a bit serene, but on kick-off people were standing, singing, shouting, waving scarves etc and things livened up a fair bit.

Polonia went behind to a shock early goal, but then dominated throughout much of the match. They were still 1-0 down at half time, but got an equaliser early in the second half and then (despite a very fussy referee) scored the winner in the 77th minute. We were rapt!

Polonia are now 2nd in the league (after 3 games played). It was a nice way to spend a warm summer's evening. Not sure whether we'll be so keen (or able!) on a rainy November night!

To see a few more pics of the evening. Click here.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wilanow Poster Museum

We took a trip this afternoon (after the doctors) to the poster museum in Wilanow every couple of years they have a big exhibition of all of the latests works by Polish designers. Some of the posters were fantastic (some were just a bit odd) but we really enjoyed the wide variety and clever designs.

Wilanow (where the museum is situated) is a beautiful part of Warsaw. It was previously the Royal country residence. It has long since joined up with the rest of the Warsaw conurbation, but it's still a really nice relaxing spot.

Amy at 38 weeks!

As promised here is a nice snap of Amy on our balcony. As you can see her tum has expanded since last month! All we have to do now I wait! :)

We had another trip to the doctors this morning (our usual doctor is on her hols). All appears to be fine and Amy is enjoying her first day off work!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Tomasz Stańko

As part of the 63rd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, Tomasz Stańko (a famous Polish Jazz trumpeter) performed a free concert on Saturday evening in the Old Town Square.

We went along to watch (complete with camping stools!) and had a really nice evening. The square was really packed and even though we didn't get to see much of the stage it was nice to listen to ( Jazz on a warm summer evening.

Amy is beginning to feel the weight of our baby now. Fortunately Friday was her last day at work, so we're both a bit hopeful that she'll get a bit of rest before the baby arrives - I'll take another shot of her tummy in the next day or so, which I'm sure you'll be far more interested in....than reading about Tomasz Stańko!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising

Today was the anniversary of the Warsaw uprising. It was the blackest moment in Warsaw's history, which was fought over 63 days during 1944. Throughout the uprising around 200,000 Polish civilians were killed mostly from mass murders by retreating German troops. The uprising was only planned to last for a few days until the Soviet forces arrived. But instead the Poles were left to fight with little outside assistance until both they and their city were destroyed.

Warsaw (and now the whole of Poland) commemorates the uprising on 1 August at 5pm (W - hour) which signified the start of the battle.

There is a rather eerie horn sounded throughout the city and absolutely everybody stops in silence to remember. People leave flowers, wreaths and candles on the numerous monuments throughout the city. I was at the Little Insurgent, just outside of Warsaw's medieval walls.