Friday, November 30, 2007

Photo Friday

30 Weeks, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Potato Lasagna

When I'm not finding a new way to cook beans, I'm usually finding a new way to cook potatoes. This is another tasty recipe I picked up from Real Simple - Potato Lasagna. The bacon adds a nice flavor and it's also nice because it works spinach into our diet. You do need to buy whole canned tomatoes and drain them or the lasagna will end up soupy (like ours did last night).

After six weeks of experimenting with biscuits and cookies in our Glorified Toaster Oven, this was the first real baking I attempted and I was thrilled when it turned out well. The general rule of thumb seems to be lower the normal cooking temperature by about 50 degrees and shorten the cooking time. And be sure to turn the broiler on 2-5 minutes before the end of the baking depending on what you're baking. And hover over the oven constantly. See? Simple. Now next time you are faced with cooking in a Glorified Toaster Oven, you'll know what to do.

Potato Lasagna
Real Simple
1/4 pound bacon (about 5 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 pounds Idaho potatoes (about 4 large potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices [I scrub but do not peel the potatoes and slice them using the cheese slicer on a standard cheese grater]
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
4 ounces Swiss, Cheddar, or mozzarella, shredded

Heat oven to 450° F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the bacon and onion. Cook until the onion is caramelized and golden brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, mix in the spinach, and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, salt, and oregano. Set aside.

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with vegetable spray. Arrange one layer of potatoes, overlapping slightly. Spread the tomatoes evenly on top of the potatoes. Pour 1/3 of the milk mixture over the tomatoes. Add another layer of potatoes and then the bacon-spinach mixture, spreading evenly. Top with another third of the milk mixture. Finish with the last layer of potatoes and sprinkle on the shredded cheese. Drizzle the remaining milk mixture over the dish.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back in Business!

At various times I've mourned the fact that I put my precious milk frother in storage when we moved here to Copenhagen. It was bothersome enough that I've mentioned it multiple times. Since arriving in Copenhagen I've had various moments where I've thought "And why didn't I bring [X] with us??" but I can usually chalk it up to (a) it weighed too much/was too large to fit in one of our five pieces of luggage, (b) I could do without it for 10 months and/or (c) I didn't need it in two different colors.

That milk frother though... I've thought about it longingly every other morning since we arrived and kicked myself for not bringing it. I mean what was I thinking? The one tool that can add so much to any hot drink and I didn't bring it with me to the land of the "varm drikke"?? No, I stuck it callously in a box with other random kitchen items.

My birthday was last weekend and that (combined with the fact that Michael recently discovered how much he loved chai lattes) added up to a very special birthday gift. Some girls want their diamonds. Other's want their milk frothers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Civilized Denmark

Sober-faced Danes queue at the bus stop in the rain, which they do not flinch at, and it dawns on you that a daylong rain is not unusual, this is a North Atlantic winter. The sun won't shine tomorrow, maybe not the next day. You have arrived in a land where Christmas means more than in, say, Barbados; it is the last outpost on the long grim trek toward spring. Dark gray sky at noon, dull brown brick all around, dead trees, broken glass in the gutter, and you, sorry you, your head like a sponge full of mud. At first you think it's jet lag, and then you realize that everyone else feels this way too. Welcome to the birthplace of existentialism.

Garrison Keillor, "Civilized Denmark," National Geographic, July 1998

Monday, November 26, 2007

une fois babe um yeah

I love clothes. One of the things I miss about working was the excuse to buy nice clothes. Especially now that Ann Taylor LOFT finally came out with a maternity line. And while this is the land of H&M and all great European fashion, I'm in the shape shifting phase of my reproductive existence which really makes it hard to justify spending an incredible amount of money for something I most likely won't be able to wear very long.

But somehow that logic doesn't apply to kids clothing. This weekend I had a few extra minutes following a midwife visit to stop by our local children's consignment store. I went in to price a used winter "snow bunny suit" and a carrycot for the Danish prince and walked out with this little ducky number. What is it about French words on kids clothes that makes it such that I just can't walk away? The previous weekend I bought a one-piece pajama suit for John that also had French wording elegantly gracing the front.

I wonder what this actually says... Who knew someone so sweet... could smell so bad.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Photo Friday

Night Out in the Center City, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Just Thanksgiving

Even though today is not a holiday here in Denmark I somehow ended up waiting about 20 minutes in line at the grocery store buying something we needed for our dinner tonight. Ah... just like home.

An American friend from our church here in Copenhagen is coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm serving homemade guacamole with chips and vegetarian chili with cornmeal dumplings. Just like the Pilgrims.

Michael told me last week that the saddest thing about being here in Copenhagen for Thanksgiving was he would miss the annual Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboy football game for the first time since he was like four years old. But we have friends with cable television [score!] who emailed yesterday to let us know the Cowboy game was showing in Denmark [SCORE!] and invited us to watch it with them [SCORE!]. Just another thing to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Forecast: Darkness

John is napping and I think I just spent about an hour tooling mindlessly around the Internet. We're heading out to the American Embassy for Thanksgiving dinner in a little less than two hours, and I did everything within my power to make sure the munchkin would get the nap he needs so all three of us will have a good time tonight. The long walk where we saw many "tucks" [trucks] and "woof-woof"s [dogs], a hot starchy lunch, a warm bath that became necessary after John demonstrated his talent for balancing food on his head, lotion rub, clean clothes, brushed hair, milk and a mild sedative [kidding]. And we've almost reached the critical two hours mark.

Which gives me time to say a word about the weather. As long as it's not raining and the wind isn't blowing, it really isn't that cold. Copenhagen being coastal and all seems to keep the temperature hovering around the upper 30s and lower 40s both night and day. We do experience more winter as we're out in the elements getting from Point A to Point B on a bike or waiting at the bus stop. But it's hardly Antarctica.

The thing that I know will probably get to me come February is the darkness. Currently the sun rises around 8:00AM and sets around 3:50PM. When John bounces awake at 5:56AM or 6:21AM or [gift from heaven!] 6:48AM it always feels like 3:07AM, no matter what. This seems like the perfect place to hibernate for the winter. Wake up around 9:00AM, eat a danish, drink some coffee, watch a couple of old movies, eat some popcorn, drink a hot toddy and hit the sack at 4:00PM. Life is starting to feel very much like a Garrison Keillor "News from Lake Wobegon" radio episode. Slow and dry and sleepy and dark.

Ok, I think I just lost the will to type.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh, She's Crafty

One of things I've had more time to do now that I'm not working is finish our advent calendar. Two years ago for Christmas, just after we announced that we were expecting John, my Mom gave our family an advent calendar kit she had picked up a few years before. It's a bit unique from any other advent calendar I've ever seen because each ornament represents some Biblical story that prophecies or points to the birth of Christ at Christmas.

I am moderately competent with crafty things like sewing, embroidery, cross stitching, needle point and at one point I knew how to crochet things like potholders. I don't really pick up these projects just to do them. It's the end and not the medium I enjoy. I have to be inspired by a particular project in order to start and, hopefully, finish it, which I am with this advent calendar.

It has surprised me how much I suddenly wanted to work on this project. Part of it is I want to finish it before Christmas. Part of it is I want to finish it before our little Danish prince arrives and life gets a little more complicated. But the biggest thing is working on this is one of the precious few things I can point to at the end of the day and say, "I made this" and know that I won't have to do it again tomorrow or next week.

The makeup of my daily life has changed quite dramatically in the last four months; from one where I could measure the effectiveness of my day in things like completed photo shoots, publications and press releases to one filled with stories and songs, basic household chores, and finding tasty and inexpensive new ways to eat beans. It's refreshing to accomplish something that is a bit more tangible than saving $9 at the grocery or getting John to eat salmon.

This is really the prequel to a long overdue post on how I am handling the transition from working mom to stay-at-home mom. But for now, I need to get back to my embroidery needle and hot glue gun. Just nine more ornaments to go before December 1.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Photo Friday

Friday Afternoon Grocery Trip, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo

In an effort to combine Michael's love of fettuccine alfredo and our need for more green vegetables, I found this recipe for broccoli fettuccine alfredo on the Real Simple website. It is delicious and is a great 30-minute meal. I changed the recipe slightly by adding a little pesto to make the sauce a bit creamier and more flavorful, and doubled the red pepper to make it spicier. The three of us can polish off the whole thing in one sitting so you may want to double the recipe if you are cooking for a larger group.

And a John moment connected to this dish: John is old enough now that we pretty much offer him whatever we are eating for dinner as long as it doesn't have tomato sauce on it (a diaper rash trigger). Unfortunately last night when I made this I forgot to set aside some unseasoned pasta for him before coating it with the pepper. During our meal the pepper would irritate him and he would make it worse by rubbing it all over his face and fussing, but then would get upset if I tried to take the pasta away from him. Apparently he really liked it despite his discomfort. He spent about 10 minutes after dinner walking around with this tongue stuck out like a puppy and asking for his milk.

Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
Real Simple
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 1-pound box dry whole wheat fettuccine
4 cups (8 ounces) broccoli florets
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Place the salt in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook according to the package directions for al dente. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli. Drain in a colander, reserving 1 cup of the water; set aside. Place the butter in the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir until melted. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, then stir in pesto and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan. Add the fettuccine and broccoli and the cayenne and nutmeg; toss. Remove from heat and sprinkle with another 1/3 cup of the Parmesan and the pepper. Toss again, adding more pasta water if the fettuccine is too sticky. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You know! Santa Claus, and ho-ho-ho, and mistletoe... and presents for pretty girls...

Here in Denmark they don't have Thanksgiving or some type of harvest holiday that acts as a buffer between Halloween and Christmas so the holiday season legitimately starts November 1st. We've already had the release of the holiday beers and Tivoli opens for Christmas this weekend.

So I am unabashedly getting my Christmas on. And by that I mean Christmas music. I love Christmas music and it's nice to not have to be only secretly glad when I hear it before Thanksgiving - let alone play it on my computer. A little Tony Bennett, the score our church choir sang at our Christmas Cantata last December, and the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Goodness knows it's cold enough and dark enough for it to be Christmas. The earlier the Christmas celebrating starts, the better.

Monday, November 12, 2007

First Snow

We woke up to Copenhagen's first snow of the season. It was merely a thin, icy layer of white but it dressed up the city for the few hours it remained. John and I took an early morning walk through our local kierkgård (church yard) and snapped a few pictures. It really was lovely. Something about snow makes things seem quieter and more at peace.

Mondays always include a lot of housework and cooking though I tried a different approach today on the cooking end of things. John is always very curious about what I'm doing when I spend hours standing at the kitchen counter messing around with various gooey, infinitely interesting instruments so today I tried letting him stand in a chair next to me while I made tuna salad, curried tomato soup, cream of potato soup, cheddar garlic biscuits and pumpkin oatmeal cookies (with many thanks to my Stateside friend Nikki for the canned pumpkin!) He helped stir things, put the jangling measuring spoons into the measuring cup, and got to experience the best part of cooking - licking the beaters.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How Did I of all People Bring A Morning Person into this World?

One thing we were looking forward to when we moved to Copenhagen was the chance to "reset" John's internal clock to wake up sometime after 7:00AM. When I was working, I needed him to wake up around 6:00AM so I could nurse him before I left for the day but now that I'm home with him, that was no longer necessary.

We experimented with a number of different things: putting him to bed later, putting him to bed earlier. But this child apparently does not want to sleep past 6:00AM in any time zone.

It's Sunday morning and we don't have to be anywhere until 11:30AM:

John: Da? Da? Mama. Mama. Da? Da? Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama.
Michael: [groan]
Rebekah: [vainly wills herself to go back to sleep]
John: Da. Da. Da!
Michael: [stumbles out of bed in the early morning Copenhagen darkness to bring John a cup of milk]

John: Eegh. EEGH. Ba? Dab dab dab... mummummum... GAH. GAH. Da? DA. DA. DA. DA. DA. .... MAMA MAMA MAMA...
Rebekah: Sweet baby, it's still night time. If you aren't tired, why don't you look at this book while Mama and Daddy sleep a little more?
John: gah... bla bla bla... da da Da ... Mama... Mama... Da? DA. DA. DA. DA. DA. .... MAMA MAMA MAMA...

The three of us are sharing the bedroom in our apartment and John's crib is about two feet from the foot of our bed. At 6:04AM though it feels like he is three inches away from our heads.

I like how many things I can get done when I'm up early in the morning, but I'm still an unwilling participant in these crack of dawn risings 15.5 months after my little morning person entered the world. At 6:30AM I actually think it's reasonable and farsighted to teach John how to make my morning coffee.

"And you pour the water up to the 4-mark. This is a filter. Can you say "filter"? Now we smell the coffee. Ahh... doesn't that smell good?...."

Surely by Christmas he'll be making my coffee for me.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Photo Friday

Gingerbread Latte! :(, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

No, they don't have Starbucks here in Denmark except at the CPH airport. My sister's and I had something of a ritual of buying one of the holiday lattes the first weekend they came out for the season. Oh my, I love me some gingerbread latte. So I felt a little sad this morning when I opened this email.

Copenhagen has a number of sweet little coffee houses here but generally their prices make Starbucks look like Coffee Big Lots. A small latte - nothing fancy added - costs the American equivalent of $5.

I am really kicking myself for not bringing my milk frotherwith me to Denmark. I can make a mean homemade latte.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mushroom Soup

I learned from an ex-pat friend that since the Danes don’t fortify their milk with vitamin D, you are supposed to give your kids vitamin D drops to make sure they are receiving enough of this nutrient (and don't end up with some awful disease like rickets). So each morning, John has a cup of milk laced with five drops of vitamin D.

Since they say it’s better to actually eat foods that contain vitamins rather than merely relying on supplements, I started browsing around looking for natural sources of vitamin D. My good friend Wikipedia, via the National Institutes of Health, tells me that I can find vitamin D in things like salmon, tuna, mushrooms and eggs. John loves mushrooms so I went hunting for a good soup with mushrooms and other chunky bits of vegetables that he can eat for lunch.

Surprisingly, I found the recipe below on the website of one my old town’s great local restaurants when I googled "mushroom soup." It is delicious, easy to make and is perfect for a cold November day. And it’s great for both John and I who have been suffering from the sniffles for the past few days.

Mushroom Soup
Natasha's Café
2 quarts water
5 cups mushrooms divided (about one pound)
¼ stick of butter
2 large carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion
4 large potatoes
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch green onions
1 teaspoon basil
dash thyme
dash oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Bring two quarts of water to a boil and cook 3 cups mushrooms with 1/4 stick of butter until tender. Clean and slice mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes and cook in mushroom stock until tender. Add parsley, green onions, basil, thyme and oregano. Cook a few more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Also makes good noodle soup. Just add 1 cup of egg noodles with parsley and green onions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose

I remember being in Denmark last September mourning the fact that John had already stopped looking like a newborn and listening to the song "Sweet Baby James" and, rather than thinking of the sweet baby I was holding, I was thinking about my second sweet baby. We'd decided long ago to name our second son James.

We found out this morning that we’re expecting a boy. :)

I’ve seen my fair share of baby ultrasound pictures and have to say – without bias of course - that he is one of the cutest ultrasound babies I’ve ever seen. This doesn’t really do him justice.

Michael and John were both there with me for the ultrasound. It turned out to be a very good thing because our ultrasound technician was Belarusian and barely spoke any English. So she spoke to Michael in Danish and he translated for me.

Baby James is healthy as can be though his head is still measuring a little larger than normal. To me that just underscores the fact that I’m gestating the product of both Michael’s and my genetic material. Both the ultrasound tech and her supervisor were satisfied everything looked good so that should be our last ultrasound of this pregnancy.

I must say I’ve been very pleased so far with the Danish medical system. The attitude is "if you need it, we give it to you" and not "Well, your insurance will only pay for one ultrasound." Especially in my case I thought there was plenty of room for them to decide that the first ultrasound measurements were close enough within range that a follow up ultrasound was unnecessary. The biggest complaint I usually hear about socialized medical systems is they don’t provide adequate care in favor of saving the state money, but so far that hasn’t been my experience here.

Seriously. He’s so cute.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hello, Internets. I am tired.

It's 5:00PM here in Copenhagen and already pitch dark. It feels more like 8:30PM. Michael asked if I wanted him to turn on the Glorified Toaster Oven to bake our dinner biscuits and it sounded like a reasonable idea until I realized it was 4:45PM. It seems like we should celebrate the big 3-0 before we take up the eating habits of Florida's senior citizen population.

Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment so I packed in a bunch of housekeeping into one day. Two loads of laundry, one mushroom stew, one golden cream of potato soup, one vacuumed apartment, two separate shopping trips, one teething toddler and the washing of approximately 72 dirty dishes later and I'm ready to call it a night.

I have been trying a number of new recipes lately. One of my very favorites is this great recipe for vegetarian chili that my graduate school/church friend Elizabeth posted recently on her blog. I didn't have any chili powder so I substituted with various things including two red hot chili peppers and a teaspoon of ground red pepper. Needless to say it had enough heat to keep us warm despite temperatures being in the windy mid-40s.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I am Jack's IKEA Nesting Instinct

I lost my IKEA virginity today. It was probably inevitable given that IKEA seems a lot like the Danish version of Target. I met a friend this afternoon to check out a Christmas bazaar put on by a local American women's group only to discover we had the weekends mixed up. She mentioned that we were only a train stop and a short bus ride from IKEA so off we went.

Ever since I saw Fight Club with the great scene where they pan across the room as it becomes the living IKEA catalog I've always felt a little weird about IKEA. Of course I've never lived closer than five hours from an IKEA store in my life so it wasn't so much that I was avoiding IKEA than I never made a special trip to Chicago to go to IKEA. Now that I've visited the supposed monument to kitsch consumerism, I can honestly say that my current Danish living room could easily be in that Fight Club IKEA catalog scene. Seriously. Everything down to the really cool lamp in the living room and the three not-so-cool hot pink flower light sconces in the bedroom.

I did more than browse at IKEA. I bought four glasses that are large enough that I can stop drinking out of a measuring cup. And I also bought this sugar/creamer set because it seems you can't be a good hostess here in Denmark without it. (And I love it. Just a little bit.)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Photo Friday & Maternity Forms

Super Home Health Nurse!, originally uploaded by TilleyShots.

Isn’t this great? It’s a postcard I received at my first midwife visit. If you want to meet your home health nurse who will be providing all of your in-home well-baby visits before your baby is born, you fill out the back and mail it in. The graphic cracks me up every time.

This is one piece of a fairly significant amount of literature I received from my midwife yesterday. At my first OB visit in the States back when I was pregnant with John I received a little booklet on pregnancy that looked like it had been written in 1984. Lot’s of big, permed hair and so forth.

The Danish counterpart is another small booklet filled with colored pictures of ultrasounds, in utero pictures of babies at different stages of gestation, fitness instructions and side shots of the same very naked woman as her belly grew throughout her pregnancy. The Danes, shall we say, are a little less modest than Americans and a bit freer with their bodies. And that was certainly reflected in the rest of the pamphlets I was given.

A short review:

  • A basic black and white piece about the different places you can choose to birth your baby described here.
  • A short piece on homebirth.
  • A pamphlet for the breastfeeding mother with a picture of a tiny newborn fast asleep on her mother’s very exposed nipple.
  • A pamphlet on breastfeeding for fathers.
  • A pamphlet on breastfeeding for grandparents.
  • A pamphlet on breastfeeding for families.
  • A full color pamphlet on chemicals you should avoid while pregnant, like paint fumes.
  • A piece of paper with the hospital’s visiting hours for non-immediate family members. They are quite limited by American standards (4:00PM-5:00PM, and 7:00PM – 8:00PM) and the midwife explained that they strive to keep that time protected for the family as they learn to nurse and generally bond with their new baby.
  • A full color pamphlet titled “When 2 Become 3” which tells you what to expect your sex life to be like during and after pregnancy. It had this great graphic of a egg and sperm uniting. It definitely made me realize that there is part of me that still hasn't advanced beyond a 13-year-old maturity level given the time I spent giggling over that piece.
  • A full color pamphlet on exercise, diet and weight gain during pregnancy.

In addition to my four pamphlets on breastfeeding, I was also given a sheet to fill out that my postnatal hospital nurses will be looking for regarding my breastfeeding plans. It asks questions like, “Do you plan to breastfeed?,” “Does your spouse/boyfriend support your plans to breastfeed?,” “Did you have any problems nursing any previous children?” "What questions about breastfeeding do you hope to have answered?" etc. I had heard that the Danes promote breastfeeding quite a bit but am still surprised by how much thought and support seemingly go into it. I was trying to find some recent, comparative breastfeeding data between Denmark and the United States and the best I could find were two studies from 1993-1994 that found that after three months 60 percent of Danish mothers were still exclusively breastfeeding their children while only 27 percent of American mothers were doing the same [WHO]. I know breastfeeding is much more culturally accepted here - as in you won't get kicked out of the Danish version of Applebees for nursing your baby - but wow.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Earth Mother

This morning I had my first appointment with my Danish midwife, which in Danish literally translates into "Earth Mother." I was surprised when I received my letter to find my midwife appointment was in my neighborhood. I though for sure I'd have to take a 45 minute bus ride to Hvidovre Hospital where I'll be giving birth. I learned that while all the midwives work out of the hospital and do birth ward shift work, they also have one day a week where they come out to their satellite clinic to meet with patients for their prenatal work. Thus, all my midwife appointments from here on out will be on Thursdays at a small office about a half mile from my apartment. Very convenient and a nice walk.

I arrived early and had a cup of tea while I waited. (Incidentally I've noticed that just about everywhere you go in Denmark you'll find some type of warm drink waiting for you.) My midwife's name is Camilla, she was trained in Great Britain, and has been working as a midwife since 2003. Today she was working with a student midwife who took a more thorough medical history, took my blood pressure, measured my fundal height and listened to the baby's heart beat. She did a check of the old uterus and woke the baby up in the process. S/he began kicked in what I swear felt like annoyance. It was so naptime.

Since this was my first visit, midwife and student took some time to go over some of the basics of giving birth in Denmark. There are three different places you can give birth: the fødegang (more like a typical American hospital setting), the fødeklinik (more like an American birth clinic), or hjemmefødsel (at home). The hospital-like setting and the birth clinic are both in the same wing of the hospital and situated close to one another. In the hospital setting is where you birth if you want an epidural, or need a c-sections or other forms of treatment that may require closer physician supervision. It's not as private as the birth clinic version and you don't have access to a private room afterward unless you had a particularly traumatic birth.

In the birth clinic you are given a private birthing room [a 360 picture is here; scroll down a bit and look for "360"]. I am uncertain whether or not the hospital side patients have private birthing room. My midwife did mention that you can at least hear the other birthing women there and that can be a distracting. The birthing center room doesn't look that much different than my birthing room back in the States with two exceptions: the infant warming bed is right next to the birthing bed instead of far across the room and there is a big labor tub.

Since 2002 Danish mother's have had the option to birth at home. My midwife couldn't tell me how many Danes choose this option though the midwife student joked that all the students gave birth at home. (Perhaps because they didn't want to give birth at work?) The benefits here are you are able to have a baby in the comfort of your own home and the midwife who does all your prenatal visits attends your birth. With the hospital or the birthing center options, you are assigned whichever midwife is working in the pool the day you give birth and it is likely that it won't be the midwife you've gotten to know during your prenatal visits.

I honestly toyed with the homebirthing option a little just because I thought it would be really interesting to experience something that is functionally illegal in the United States (the mother cannot go to jail for having a baby at home, but her birth attendants can depending on how a particular state's laws are written). I have had one successful fairly uncomplicated birth which would make me a good candidate for homebirth. But I can't quite pull the trigger on this one. To be quite honest, I tend to be a pretty vocal laboring woman and I know it would really bother me psychologically knowing that I was probably disturbing our neighbors or scaring John. And we're renting our apartment from a private individual and I would constantly be on edge that something would stain the couch or mess up the wooden floors. I'm also really interested in experiencing the Danish version of managed childbirth in a setting that is more familiar to the American system. And there is always that big labor tub...

There are some other interesting things to mention too, but I'm going to save that for a special Friday post as this is already long enough.

Congratulations to my friend Rochelle who I just found out is expecting her fourth child!