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What I Am Doing Today

I am well aware that today is my real due date (of the two calculation methods we looked at for my initial appointment with the midwives, the farther one was chosen simply because it affords me more time to go into labor on my own before an induction is required.  The other date is more accurate- the one that says I’m due today.)  I feel like I must be the only woman who has previously given birth and yet still made it to (and in all likelihood, past) the due date.  Even my midwife told me to “visualize going into labor at about 39 weeks” because that is apparently how it happens with second-time-moms.  Except for me.

I have been woken up at about 3 AM with contractions every night for the past 4 nights.  They were regular and strong the first two nights.  What’s more frustrating than that?  They weren’t so regular or strong the last two nights.  More frustrating than that?  Any progress those contractions gave me is nowhere to be found today.  I won’t do much cervix talk… but I hate my cervix.

So what I am doing today is having a pity party.  I am considering studying twice as long for my trigonometry test because it is almost a sure thing that I will have uncomfortable contractions again tonight, wake up and not be able to get enough rest, and be distracted through the test.  I will almost surely learn later that said contractions have not given me any progress.

So today, I study for a trigonometry test.  I create documents and newsletter templates for my business.  I respond to e-mails and phone calls.  And then…

I take tylenol for the the back ache and the hip pain caused by the fetus lodging her head in my hip, despite my many attempts to move her.  I surrender to the feeling of disappointment in this persistently mal-positioned baby and wonder what c-section recovery is like.  I assess the extensive damage to my figure and begin to plan a recovery period which includes taking back my @#$#@!$! metabolism.  But for now, I eat carby, salty foods and forget about the eggplant parmesan.  Forget about the pineapple.  Forget about the spicy foods.  Forget about the water.  Forget about the evening primrose oil.  Forget about the red raspberry leaf.  Forget about hypnosis tracks.  Forget about the yoga ball.  Forget about acupressure.  Forget about the baby-turning exercises.  Forget about exercise at all.

Sentiment of the day is this: I have suffered through morning sickness.  Through discomfort at every stage.  Through a full-term pregnancy.  I will devote the rest of my life to the fetus and her sister.  So this day- this #%#$%#$ day- this is my day.  I will cry if I want to.

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Isaac!

We live in the New Orleans area.  This place is all in a tizzy over the coming storm… and I’m just a little bit excited.

As someone who never evacuated for these storms as a kid, I’m prepared for the annoyances with waiting for the electricity to get turned on again, for the schools to open again, for the traffic lights to work again.  But this time, I’m the mom!  I’m the one in charge of preparing our home for the storm and cuddling with the baby when the wind and thunder get scary.  I’m the one she’s going to look to for reassurance that it is all fine, and we’re going to go on this adventure together.

I know it’s not all fun and games, though.  I didn’t leave for Katrina, and dealt with no electricity or water for who knows how long.  I remember roads being blocked everywhere from downed trees, and holes in people’s homes.  I remember the reports of flooding all around.  I remember the aftermath, and going to work at the drug store while the National Guard kept us company and we snacked on MREs for meals.

I wouldn’t say we should stay if this storm was a Category 3 or above.  I would not have my little one and the belly in the middle of a disaster like that.  But at the rate it’s going, which will maybe have it at a Category 1 when it hits, this is just a rite of passage for us.

We are away from trees and on the second floor.  We have stocked up on water, batteries, matches, paper plates, toilet paper, non-refrigerated food that doesn’t need to be cooked.  I’m cooking all of our meat today, in case electricity goes out and the refrigerator doesn’t work.  Baking brownies to use some of the eggs, and boiling the rest.  We borrowed an air mattress for our nanny and her husband, who live on the bottom floor in a flood zone, so they’ll be over to keep us company (yay!).  We have board games ready and I’m doing all the dishes, laundry, and cleaning today.  Laptops and phones are staying on charge all day.

A massive amount of crispy cooked bacon- I would surely never let a pack of bacon rot in the de-powered refrigerator!

Bring it on, Isaac.  Let’s turn this home into a camp ground!

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Clover’s Story

Other than a few small acknowledgments to the womb-crawler, I haven’t said much about little expected one.

So here’s a baby story!

Gwenna’s father and I got married in October of last year.  At the wedding, Gwenna was walking and dancing around.  She was beginning to talk.  She was growing out of her baby face.  After the wedding, that made me sad.  Now our family had no baby.  Good thing I now had a husband, I thought.

We talked about another little one… our first was simply awesome, and since that was the case, we would be doing the world a huge injustice by not making more.  We weren’t financially solid, so that was a negative. I still needed to finish school, so that might get in the way.  We hadn’t bought a house yet… there were several things that could have held us back.

However, my mother and her mother had both had all their children before their late twenties, due to reproductive issues.  I’d been diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17 (one reason our darling Gwenna was such a nice surprise) and had always been concerned about how long I could reasonably take advantage of my fertility.  At some point before Gwenna, I pulled out a special diet, started charting and taking my basal body temperature every morning, and found that I was probably not ovulating.  A few months of that, and it seemed I’d regulated- so I went back on birth control.  I somehow got pregnant in that (serious, long-term) relationship, and it quickly terminated on its own.  The nurse told me I shouldn’t expect to get pregnant on my own and keep it with the condition I was diagnosed with.

WELL!  We showed her.  Gwenna not only stuck around, but she stuck around for 41 weeks.  And even then, she didn’t want to come out!  That’s a different story all together, though.

Concerns about fertility coupled with the fact that I was suffering from some serious baby fever, Zack gave in, and we decided we would start trying in March, for a possible December baby.  That was still up in the air, though, as I had a nanny job that I wanted to remain committed to for as long as I was needed.

In January, I went off of birth control so I could start charting and see where my body was- if I was ovulating, or what.  I started loosely observing my cycle and following natural family planning, or the Rhythm Method.  I wasn’t sure yet if I was ovulating, but I noticed when I could possibly be ovulating.  I will spare you the details, here, but I do want to say that our experience with the Rhythm Method was not a failure- I knew when I was ovulating.

Fast forward to the first week of February.  My period isn’t due for another week, probably, but Zack keeps making jokes that I’m pregnant.  I tell him there’s no way I’d be exhibiting symptoms so early, even if I was, and I wasn’t.  We were watching How I Met Your Mother, one of the episodes about Lily having a baby, when I decided that geeze, the world sure does seem to insisting I’m pregnant.  I quietly excused myself to the bathroom and pulled out a pee-stick.

I proceeded to watch the second pink line appear.

I guess I wasn’t having any fertility issues.  And yes, I remember that I said our Rhythm Method experience was not a failure- it wasn’t.  There is a huge book on charting and the Rhythm Method, and you should read it if you want to understand more.  Basically, there are requirements for using it effectively, and you have to do ALL of them.  We understood this, but thought it didn’t apply to us for a few reasons.  Oh well!

So I spent the first half of the pregnancy vomiting/being ill.  We were pretty sure little lady was a boy (well, Zack was).  We surprised our family at a gender reveal party (we did the gender reveal for ourselves with Gwenna, and this time we found out at the ultrasound and made the surprise more for our family).

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I’ve been teaching Zumba 1-3 times per week, walking like crazy, watching calorie intake.  I’m up about 10 pounds in week 29.  That may jump up a bit more since it’s August and hot as Hades outside- no park walking for us for a while.  I’m trying to keep up with the Hypnobabies program, have a student doula, see my midwives regularly.  We’re planning another hospital birth, but this time we will hopefully be able to avoid interventions and use the tub we’ve reserved.

If someone asks me if I’m excited, heck yes I am.  However, I try not to think about it much.  I try to keep myself preoccupied with activities for Gwenna, work, house stuff, cooking… I don’t want that insane anxiety at 37 weeks that insists on eating your soul with the teeth of anticipation.  Seriously, no one warns you about how uncomfortable and crazy-making those last couple of weeks are.  You start to lose your ability to reason that waiting maybe one more week is surely better than a labor with interventions and high risks.

So I’m telling myself I have way too long to go, even though this pregnancy has flown by and I know that the fall, with all the work, school, and football I will have to enjoy will fly by as well.  Just humor me- I have 3 more years to go.

That is the story of sweet Clover Jean thus far.  I will now go back to ignoring my huge belly.

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Blueberry Pecan Pie

I don’t have a picture for this one.  It’s not a healthy recipe.  It’s not even something I like very much.

But someone else does… and I am tired, tired, tired, and this is short.

Ingredients:

Pre-made graham cracker crust

2 pints fresh blueberries

Heavy whipping cream

2 eggs

1 and 1/2 cup of sugar, separated

1 stick of butter

Pecans

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2.  Cook blueberries down in a pan with 1 c sugar and 1 c heavy whipping cream.

3.  Add whipped eggs into berry filling and pour into crust.

4.  Put pie in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.

5.  Bring butter and 1/2 c sugar to a boil for 30 seconds, then turn heat down to low, continually stirring.

6.  Take pie out of oven.  Arrange pecans on top of pie.  Brush or drizzle sugar topping over the pecans.

7.  Bake for about 15 minutes longer.

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My Version: Semolina Cheeseburger Pasta

Two posts in one day!  I made one of my husband’s favorite dishes tonight for dinner, and I really felt the need to share.  Warning- this isn’t one of those super healthy recipes I like to post!  It is lighter than the restaurant version, but it’s still a pretty hefty meal.  This is how I do cheeseburger pasta.

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Ingredients:

  • Ground turkey
  • Sour cream
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Diced yellow onion
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Dill pickle slices
  • Potato sticks

Directions:

1.  Brown the turkey in a pan and start boiling water for the pasta.

2.  In a saucepan, stir together about a 1/2 a cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce.  If you prefer more barbecue taste, add more of that; or if you prefer less, add more sour cream- get the taste right for you.  Add the diced onions and cook them down in the mixture.

3.  Add the pasta to boiling water, cook for about 12 minutes.  Drain turkey and return to pan.  Stir your sauce into the turkey, coating it lightly.

4.  Drain pasta and add a bit of butter to prevent sticking.  Olive oil might not be good to use with the heat.

5.  Plate your dish: drop about a cooking spoon full of pasta onto a plate and make a hole in the middle, serve the meat in the center of the pasta.  Add your shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheddar on top of the meat.  Place three pickle chips on the very top.  Sprinkle with potato sticks.

6.  Take a picture!  You’ve created a restaurant dish!

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Healthy(?) Baking

First and foremost, I’m dedicating this post of delicious brownies and muffins to the victims of the Colorado shooting.  I can’t imagine bringing a sleepy newborn with me to an exciting midnight showing (which I would DEFINITELY do, considering my daughter slept through just about anything except a nursing session, which I wouldn’t want to miss, and HONESTLY think it would be irresponsible of me to do so at such an early stage) and looking down at that infant, shot.  Words can’t express the grief, I’m sure.  Know that I’d definitely be shipping some goodies off if I had addresses, and I certainly send my sympathies.

So… these recipes are adapted (sources cited below) to be more nutritious.  I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as healthy baking, considering there’s still a good bit of sugar involved, but these recipes certainly have more nutritious value- I’ve swapped coconut oil for butter, dark chocolate for milk chocolate, whole grain flour for baking flour, added flax and walnuts… check ’em out.

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Brownies

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(Adapted from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/healthy-brownies)

  • 1 teaspoon(s) instant coffee powder or granules
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup(s) whole wheat flour
  • 3 TBSP flax meal
  • 1/2  cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 cup(s) unpacked brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup(s) coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup dark chocolate mini chunks
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Cinnamon flavored agave
  • Flax seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 8″ by 8″ metal baking pan. In cup, dissolve coffee in vanilla extract.
  2. On waxed paper, combine flour, cocoa, flax meal, baking powder, 3/4 cup dark chocolate mini chunks, and salt.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk sugar, coconut oil, eggs, and coffee mixture until well mixed; then blend in flour mixture. Spread in prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Brownies will be VERY moist.
  5. Topping is the rest of the chocolate chunks and the walnuts; drizzle agave over everything and set the pan back in the oven for a few minutes.  Sprinkle some flax seeds after baking.
  6. Allow brownies to cool before attempting to cut.

Whole Grain Muffins with Bananas, Dark Chocolate, and Flax

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2 large eggs
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unprocessed flax bran
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup oatmeal flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate mini chunks
1/3 cup walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare 12 muffin cups.
  2. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, flax bran, oil and vanilla.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, oatmeal flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full). Sprinkle with walnuts.
  4. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

These recipes are really delicious, and a great way to get husbands and children whining for sweets to stuff their mouths with something a little more healthy.  Enjoy!

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Hey there!

My name is Kristen, and I really needed a mommy-blog: you know, those blogs that are probably incredibly boring to anyone who isn’t already a mother or expecting to be one soon? I’m planning on boring some random non-parent readers to tears.

Since my beloved husband will be home soon, I’ll just make a quick post about dinner. This is a nice “recipe” (I put quotes because I don’t measure very often, so good luck figuring out portions!) for those days when you really need to cook something balanced, but have next to no energy (oh yeah, I’m also 6 months pregnant.)

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Ranch Turkey and Rice with Veggies

Ground turkey (you can substitute any type of ground meat)
Brown rice
Veggies (I used yellow squash and onions tonight, but some good additions might be peas, corn, carrots, chopped green beans… you get the idea)
Ranch dressing
Olive oil

So, all you do is brown the ground meat in a skillet, and put the rest of the ingredients, except the ranch dressing, in a rice cooker. I always make sure to peel the veggies like squash if they are for some reason not organic (happens more often than I’d like). Make sure you don’t forget the olive oil in the rice cooker, because that helps keep the rice from sticking or just melting together in that gross overcooked way.

After you brown the ground meat and stick the rest of the stuff in the rice cooker, you can just neglect the crap out of it. When you’re ready to eat, mix everything together in the skillet and drizzle some ranch dressing over all of it, and mix some more.

Gwenna is my daughter, 22 months old, and she kind of loves it.