On Saturday, I had my hair cut in the oddest salon I've ever been in. I've gotten used to weird storefront combinations--the coffee shop that is set in a shoe shop, for example, or a housewares store that also sells baked goods. The hair salon where I booked my appointment (using a coupon I found online) was in a vintage clothing store. When you walked in, racks of vintage coats and dresses were mixed in with gothic mirrors and salon chairs. The waiting area was in a second room, fitted with fainting couches mixed in with vintage jewelry and turn-of-the-century nude paintings. Just beyond that was another room with more salon chairs, and a room for bikini waxing, and another for nails. So, you basically could buy your outfit and get your accessories and head to toe grooming all in one spot. All of the people doing cuts and color were pseudo-punk types who were talking endlessly about being drunk. Despite the odd setting and the frank discussion of substance abuse, I got a very good and much needed cut. I was mulling over long bangs, and after messing with my hair for a while, the stylist concluded that he wasn't sure how they would fall, and didn't think I should do it. Instead, he wanted me to do full bangs. I just couldn't commit to it. I haven't had full bangs since I was in middle school, at least. I did get a lot of long layers, which I'm not so sure about. It looked really fabulous when he dried it, but I won't spend that kind of time drying it, and it's curly if I don't blow it straight. I've only washed it and thrown it in a pony the last few days, so I still don't know how I'll make out when I actually try to do something with it.
I also got a prenatal massage on Saturday. I can't seem to find a true day spa experience in this city. I want something nice and relaxing, and which also feels good. Instead, there is always an ambiance problem, or a technique problem. I want to send the spa technicians to the U.S. for training. This place looked so promising, too, but alas, it was not to be. Even though I told the woman my lower back was bothering me, she spent all of her time on my upper back, and kept doing weird things alongside my spine and in my shoulder blades with her fingers that really, really hurt. Then at the end, she just left without saying anything, and didn't come back. After I paid, the receptionist didn't even say thank you, or come back again, or anything at all! It was just really odd. The silver lining is that even though parts of my upper back are sore and she didn't spend much time on my lower back at all, for whatever reason, my lower back is feeling MUCH better. I was able to walk around to my appointments today without pain, which was a nice change of pace. I never used to like massages, but I am such a believer that they can help. Now I just need to find a good place.
We had our 32 week doctor's appointment today. I had some regular contractions on Friday night, which went away after I drank a pile of water and laid down for a bit, and I've had some stabbing cervical pains, so I was a bit worried about preterm labor. The contractions didn't hurt, but they were every five minutes or so, which had never happened before. My doctor said that I can expect my uterus to be "a bit more irritable" with this pregnancy, and told me to rest if it happens again, and to call if it goes on for more than an hour. She did a quick ultrasound to make sure everything is okay, and indeed the cervix looks perfect, so that was reassuring. The bad news is that I've become a lot more uncomfortable overall in the last few days, which made me think the baby had once again turned from head down to sideways. Indeed, she is once again transverse. I'm a little bummed, as I was hoping she'd move and stay head down, both for the sake of my comfort and for my peace of mind that she was in the right position. The doctor assured me that she still has plenty of time. I'm hoping she's right. I also had blood drawn to check my blood levels (mainly, anemia), and to check for gestational diabetes. My doctor does a blood test, rather than the glucose challenge test. She says the blood test is just as accurate, which I thought was interesting. I also learned that they do not routinely screen for Strep B here, which surprised me. I was negative last time, but do want to be tested again, just in case. They gave me the option, so I'll go ahead and have it done at my next appointment. I gained about 5 pounds this month, which was a relief after only gaining two last month, and my blood pressure is pretty much exactly where it was last month.
Pregnant women are not seen by their doctors or midwives as often here as they are in the U.S.. I think for first pregnancies, women are seen half as often as women are seen in the U.S., and for second pregnancies, they see the doctor even less often. Because I have private healthcare, I am seen more frequently, but I'm still not seen quite as often as in the U.S. At this point in my first pregnancy, I was seen every two weeks. My next appointment isn't for three weeks. My doctor will then see me two weeks after that, and then weekly. From 32-36 weeks in the U.S., I was seen every two weeks, and then I was seen once a week. It's not a huge difference, but I find it interesting nonetheless.
My sister watched Miss M while we were at our appointments, so we grabbed breakfast and had a mini date while we were out. We also did a bit of car shopping, as we discovered a car dealership right near the doctor's office. I wanted to check out some things in person, although we'll be buying an American car obviously, and not a local one. There are just some things you can't do over the internet. It was nice to have a little bit of time that was just the two of us, since we hardly ever do that any more. I've almost forgotten what it was like to just go do something spontaneous (not that car shopping was the most exciting thing to do). It was really nice.