Wednesday, August 31, 2011

University of Waterloo Reflections

Entering the UW Student Life Center

On my Dads 58th birthday we decided to tour the University of Waterloo campus, which is where both my dad and I went to University. I know it may not seem like a big deal to most of you but walking those pathways with my father,  husband and two close university friends really brought a peace to my heart. It was like we were all in our own world of thoughts the past the present and the future.

The general walk though campus was interesting but my emotions hit me when I walked into the Environmental Studies building. As we walked passed old professor’s doors I thought of times when I thought I could never finish a course, assignment or quiz. I thought of the tears I shed as if it was the end of the world. Holly and I stood outside of our advisors door and saw ghost figures of ourselves sitting on the floor waiting for our professors comments and reviews for our thesis. And felt that chilling feeling of “ the never ending thesis.”  But here we were both two grown ladies with husbands a career and the anticipation of starting a family. Wow it just amazed me how life moves on.

If we were feeling these emotions and reflections and we only made it to the masters level, I could only imagine what my father was feeling 30 years after completing his PHD.  It was like he was taking a moment of appreciation of his “birth place.”  A moment o thought for that time before the full blown career, before the wife and children and adventures of adult hood. I couldn’t even fathom what it would feel like 30 years later and walking these corridors with Siam. You really begin to think about the decisions you have made to be where you are today.

The real privilege of being enrolled in such an institution can sometimes hit people later on in life.  Dad said something so interesting “The students here have everything at their finger tips, all they need to do is study and apply.” It seemed so simple but yet I knew when I was there it was not so simple. Gosh thinking about it now makes me realise how we take it all for granted. At times our young hearts and mind get absorbed in things that don’t last. Do the students there know what they have? Do they really know the value of education?  Are they investing in relationships that last or are they holding on to broken ones? 

I remembered the good relationships I made and still have today. It was like this campus created an environment for investment in friendships that would blossom. I think of Guillermo who could hardly speak English when I met him but we somehow managed to communicate. I used to tell him that I was going to Africa to start a family coz I want 10 children. Ironic how the next time he sees me I am almost 8 months pregnant. Then there is Holly who stood by my side through out my masters…..would we have been friends if we hadn’t been in the deep end together? Only God knows. 

Although there were moments of connection I also felt a sense of disconnectedness. There were so many new buildings that looked so IT like. It looked like an episode of transformers in 3D. These buildings didn’t know me…..I used to walk right across the grounds they were built on. It was like going to that home you grew up in all your life and seeing what people have done to the house… nice as the changes are there is still a strong part of you that wishes things would have just stayed the same.

Chilling in front of the Environmental Studies Green Wall. Holly, dad, Avon, Me and Guillermo

It really amazes me how life just goes on, people move on and even buildings move on, but deep down some of us just wish it were all so simple just like how we remembered it. Maybe I am an old fashion University of Waterloo Alumni.  or maybe I just grew up. Thank you UW :)!

The Rhythm of My Pregnancy: Traveling During 3rd Trimester

One of the hardest decisions I had to make this year was the decision to fly 18plus hours for my brothers wedding or stay and play it safe. Although we prayed about the whole situation, I personally thought this prayer request was a no-go because of the risk and the huge financial implication. But just like most of the God ordain miracles, He pulls through in the biggest of ways at the most opportune moments…..which is what someone once told me is called “Gods Just Becauses” …God does it…just because He can.

The reality of this miracle hit me while I was sorting out one of my bedside draws and came across a crumpled, triple folded piece of paper. I curiously unfolded it and discovered it was my Fasting Contract which I had filled in at the beginning of the year. As I read through the list I began to cry because at that particular moment God had answered three of the biggest things we were praying for. I had fallen pregnant and we had booked our tickets to Canada. At the time when I had written these requests I don’t think I was fully confident about the out come. I thought God would answer one not both of the requests. But now as I type this blog I realise that I am a testimony to myself. ……Wow God is Good.

Although I was trusting in God to protect SIAM and I during our travels to Canada, I wasn’t going to be stupid about it. Its like driving without a seat belt and saying God will protect me. …..brrrr. So I read up on all the precautions and risks and here is my summary list of things you need to consider when flying while pregnant.
  1. Firstly check with your Gynecologist for the true go-ahead. If you have no complications and are less than 36 weeks pregnant you should be safe…..but get that letter which states you are healthy to fly. If you look obviously pregnant you may be asked to show this proof of your status and health.
  2. Read up on the airline pregnancy policy. Lufthansa and Air Canada restrict women flying past 36 weeks of pregnancy. Smaller air crafts actually restrict women at less South African Airways is 35 weeks for international flights. 
  3. Wear comfortable cloths (not tight) and get flying stockings. I don’t think you necessarily have to get measured for the stockings just make sure they are tight (not unbearable though)
  4. Get a prescription for blood thinning injections especially if you have a history of deep vein thrombosis. I was put on something called Clexane which I had to inject 3 times through out my travel (every 24 hours). Thank goodness I was travelling with mom (ex-nurse). My sisters were also excellent at giving me the injection….and well Avon finally got the guts to inject me on the last injection and also did well.  
  5. Don’t rush to get on the plane…it is a waste of time and energy. Sit down or walk around before boarding the aircraft. Take deep breaths and chat to your baby.
  6. Book seats with plenty of space. Avon and I found that the seats at the far back of the plane had plenty of space and were also close to the bathroom. But if you don’t like turbulence then try sit close to the centre of the plan. Note – pregnant ladies can’t sit at the emergency exit L. …..but you can sit in the front rows where most families sit with their kids. However there is a increased chance that you may sit next to a crying baby.
  7. During flight – don’t sit down for more than 2 hours with-out walking. Try keep as calm as possible especially during the turbulence. Your baby can sense if you get stressed so try your best to keep that heart rate normal. Increased stress levels are never good for a pregnant lady. Trust me it is super hard to stay calm when all you can think about is “ARE WE GOING TO MAKE IT!!”. ….I just hummed songs and that calmed me. 
  8. Drink plenty of water and you are guaranteed to never sit for too long… our bladders can only handle so much.
  9. Carry a stash of food with you, things such as dried fruit, biltong, gummy bears, granola bars, cookies (you name it), especially if it is a long flight and stop over. Although most flights feed you, it tends to be at strange times and there is nothing worse than pregnancy hunger pains on a flight.
Okay those are the tips for today…….at 34 weeks I flew to Canada and back (18hours) with a 10 hour stop over in Germany and Siam is still healthy and kicking.