January 13, 2016


Baby update first:

We had our first regular ob/gyn appointment yesterday now that we've officially been released from the IVF world, and everything looked great. The fetus was measuring exactly 9w2d, which was precisely how old it should be, and we finally got to hear the heartbeat this time instead of just peering uncertainly at a grainy flicker on the screen. The doctor assured us that our risk of miscarriage at this point is down to about 3%, since the fetus is measuring appropriately with a strong heartbeat. This would be slightly more reassuring if it weren't also the super-low, never-gonna-happen probability I was going to get OHSS ;-) But still, I'll take it! Even though I'm 35 and thus technically of "advanced maternal age" in fertility-land, our doctor has decreed me low risk. On the one hand this is good, since it means everything looks exceedingly normal to him, and that I'm in good health, etc. On the other hand, it means I'm down to monthly appointments and won't get another reassuring peek into what's going on in there for FOUR MORE WEEKS!! Considering I was going every other day for a good stretch there, this is going to be an awfully long month.

On to Europe!

Iceland was positively enchanting. Freezing cold, but enchanting. I'm not sure I'd do another January trip in the near future, but I absolutely would go back, in a heartbeat. We sadly didn't catch the lights while we were there, but partly because after an unsuccessful first attempt, I was far too exhausted the second night to try again. My warm bed was just too tempting for a nauseated, nap-needing pregnant lady.

And Ireland... man. A heretofore dormant part of my somewhat dubious Irish heritage apparently clawed its way out of the depths of my psyche while we toured around the Western countryside, because I found myself thinking preposterous thoughts like, "I could totally see us settling down in a thatch-roofed cottage and owning sheep! This just feels... right!" Note to self: you would hate that. But Irish alter-ego made a pretty good case for becoming sheep-herding country folk, at the time.

I, of course, took roughly 40 billion photos, so rather than vomiting them all into one post I think I'll go slow and steady over the next week, focusing on one thing at a time. For starters: Reykjavik!

Look at the light!

We arrived at something ungodly like 5:20am, but by the time we got through customs, got our bags, and were transported nearly an hour from the airport in KeflavĂ­k to downtown, it was after 7am. Most hotels in downtown Reykjevik seem to be apartment style (or B&Bs), meaning it's a bunch of dorm-style rooms, often with with mini kitchens, but no front desk. So upon arrival we called the number at the door to have the landlord / owner come let us in. It ended up being quite a to-do (despite emailing multiple times, and then calling and confirming that arriving so early would be OK, whoever I talked to apparently never passed that message on to the owner, who was in quite the kerfuffled state at our arrival time) but the owner came careening up the street in his ancient, tiny, Mexican-made car that seemed altogether unsuitable for 6" of freshly fallen unplowed snow, and ushered us into the vehicle rather than into the building, since he had another hotel/apartment where we'd be able to sleep until noon instead of 10:30, and where he also had to start making breakfast for other guests in approximately 5 minutes. So off we careened down the dark snowy streets, in a complete stranger's car, hoping for the best.

Our first view of Reykjavik upon waking up: dang that's a lot of snow

It of course was fine, and he deposited us into a bare-bones but workable room in his second location, where we promptly passed out for 3 glorious hours, awakening to the view above. Light! And goodness.. that's a lot of snow! Those snow boots I panic-ordered 3 days before the trip were an immediate and welcome payoff!

Our intent was to head to the main downtown area for lunch, stopping by what I had read was the best bakery in Reykjavik on the way, but as we started our trek I was catching glimpses of the harbor through the cross streets, with this amazing pink light reflecting off the water, the snowy cliffs, and sky. I was like a moth to a flame: I had to go down to the water.

We started walking downtown, but I caught a glimpse of the harbor and couldn't stay away from this view.

Since the sun is only up for about 5 hours a day at this time of year, it also never actually gets very far up in the sky. So for the entire duration of daylight, the quality of light is this magical almost-sunset glow.

The Sun Voyager, a large scale sculpture commemorating the 200th anniversary of Reykjavik.

I couldn't get enough of it. I'm not sure these pictures are even doing it justice. I was basically just wandering around the path at the edge of the water with a dopey heart-eye-emoji expression permanently plastered to my face.

And then, within seconds... it was snowing. Heavily.

...And in literally the space of 2 minutes, it was snowing heavily (!?)

Sure, whatever Reykjavik. You do you.

But that building up there? That's the Harpa, a nearly-brand-new concert hall that I had read was really cool on the inside and worth a poke around, so we popped in to take a look (and get a break from the cold!)

Inside the Harpa, the odd-looking glass building from that last picture.

::cue me standing immobile, jaw hanging open::

The building is amazing. It's a new concert hall built in 2011. The interior seems to have no right angles, with mirrored honeycomb panels covering the ceiling and multi-dimensional cube panelled windows.

I mean. Would you take a look at this place.

Couldn't get enough of this place.

It is GORGEOUS. I don't think there's a single right angle in the place. The ceiling is entirely made up of layered mirrored plates, and the walls are these three dimensional honeycomb-like plates that diffuse the light in the most amazing way.

Looking out the honeycombed glass walls


Anyway! After that we did actually make it to the main downtown area, where neither the streets nor the sidewalks were plowed or cleared in any way whatsoever, nor did anyone seem to think that odd.

Typical downtown street. Not particularly plowed. No one seemed bothered in the least.

After a lunch stop (a giant bowl of lobster tails for Chris; fish and chips for me) we headed out on what ended up being a highly non-viable trip to what was supposed to be the hip new area of town, but was more like wandering around one of those sprawling big box Costco complexes on foot (eg, not ideal. Everything is really far away from everything else and all other visitors were in cars. Also there was even less snow trampling there than around the rest of the city due to the lack of pedestrians, so we were tromping through a good foot of snow at that point). While the initial goal was not realized, we did end up at another sea wall with more amazing views.

Walking the sea wall on the far side of the old harbor

Looking across (I think) at Seltjarnarnes

So, totally worth it.

OK! That's a good start.. I'm almost done editing the 18263517243 photos from our Golden Circle tour, so hopefully those to come soon.


  1. Your photos are AMAZING! Wow. I can't wait to see more.

    Also psyched about the baby news. Of course waiting until the next sighting will be hard, but so great to be low-risk.

  2. YAY for a great OB visit. The month long wait is super hard- like you I had a complication with my daughter (SCH) and got to see her weekly on ultrasounds until about 12 weeks. This has been harder as there is much more time inbetween visits.

    Love your pictures so far! Can't wait to see the rest of them. :-)

  3. This is awesome! And yay baby! Waiting a month is always tough... and also I remember distinctly telling myself that once the baby started kicking, THEN I wouldn't mind the wait, except that when the baby starts kicking it's VERY sporadic, so you feel a couple kicks and then nothing for days and you panic that the baby has died and then you feel another kick and feel reassured for like five minutes and then start the cycle again. Just a heads up! But yay baby!

  4. Wow these photos are amazing. And yay for baby news!!!

  5. have been dying to hear from you! So glad you had a fun trip, and happy about the baby news! 2016 is showing off!

  6. Yay! Great baby news!
    LOVE the pictures! They are gorgeous.

  7. Oh. My. Goodness!! Those photos are glorious. I have had a "Visit Iceland!" brochure for almost 10 years...I need to just bite the bullet and go. Now.


  8. I hope the good baby news keeps on coming!

    I'm a little sad you guys didn't bring back one of the ponies though. I mean they were damn cute.

  9. Okay, the light there (both on the water and in that building? AWESOME. I, too, would have been walking around with "a dopey heart-eye-emoji expression permanently plastered to my face."
    And your baby news is seriously exciting!
    The fact you travel while preggers? Makes you pretty bad@$$ in my book.