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Craving #1 – Grilled peanut butter, banana, and jelly with cream cheese

I’ve always liked sweets, chocolate, and baked goods, so craving these things while pregnant is really not unusual for me. However, at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago, Chloe and I stopped at PBJs (thanks to a mention from Charlotte) and tried their grilled “Cream of the Crop”: challah bread, strawberry jam, bananas, PBJ’s peanut butter and… cream cheese? It was SO yummy! A few days later I made myself one at home (and then another one…). Who knew cream cheese could elevate a PB&J to such heights?

Check out PBJs unique menu here.

Grilling Tip: Spread butter on the outsides of the bread (and not just in the skillet) before frying to get a nice even brown. And when making a grilled cheese, spread mayonnaise on the outside of the bread and turn the heat down a bit. The mayo imparts extra flavor and a beautiful golden crisp.


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37 weeks pregnant

I had my 37 week appointment a couple days ago. Only two-and-a-half weeks left! According to my midwife I am already 70% effaced and almost 3cm dialated. Whew. I guess all those braxton-hicks contractions have been making some progress after all. Not much more left on my preparation to-do list, except re-pack the hospital overnight bag.

Knowing this is our last baby, I’ve been wondering if I should do more in the next couple weeks to record what pregnancy has been like for me. I think I’ve said before that I’m not the kind of mother who relishes being pregnant, but I do appreciate how special and miraculous it is. Maybe I’ll want to look back someday and reminisce. Belly casts are not for me (where do women put these?), but I’m thinking a few more photos and journal entries might be in order.

If/when you were pregnant, did you do anything in particular to commemorate this special time? Was there anything you wish you had done before you gave birth?


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Unprepared

We had a little scare yesterday. Actually, it wasn’t really a “scare” just a little showing of blood that I was advised to get checked at the hospital. So I went around noon and took Chloe with me, thinking we’d be there maybe an hour or two at most, but one test led to another and there was concern about a possible placental abruption. Strangely, I was also having contractions that began to slowly increase throughout the afternoon, although I couldn’t feel them. I only knew because they could see it on the monitor. A cervical check found I was one centimeter dialated and 30% effaced. So they asked me to stay overnight.

Thankfully, David left work early to come get Chloe so I didn’t have to keep an eye on her in the busy triage room with two other patients. The ipad kept her occupied for some of the time, but it was a distracting place. She naturally wanted to keep peeking around the curtains at the other women, especially since one had two slightly older kids who where watching Dora the Explorer loudly on TV. David and Chloe came back later for a short visit, and to bring me an overnight bag. I couldn’t help but joke that if I had a labor & delivery bag already packed, none of this would have happened.

Fast forward to about 10:30pm. I was feeling bored, lonely, uncomfortable (two fetal monitors around the belly, a scratchy wrist band on the right and an IV starter on the left) , not to mention very disappointed in the night’s episode of House, MD, when the evening Perinatologist came in for a last check. Everything seemed to be stablizing and he agreed that if I wanted to, I could go home. Yes please! So he signed my release form and I was home by 11pm. The only downside was that Chloe had a record number of night wakings, plus I was getting up almost every hour due to all the water they had me drink. Maybe I would have been better off sleeping at the hospital… nah!

So, today I’m supposed to be taking it really easy – lots of water, sitting with my feet up, not lifting anything (yeah right, with a two-year-old running around?), and keeping an eye on my contractions. I can feel them today, like a deep tightening of my abdomen, but they still don’t seem to hurt, which is good right? Maybe they’re just practice. Hopefully. I know a baby born at 34 weeks would be fine, but I’d rather baby boy stay and bake a little bit longer, just in case.


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Mother’s Day 2011

Happy Mother’s Day! David had Chloe help him make a nice mother’s day breakfast, and at my request we followed it up with a couple hours at the zoo. It rained on and off, but Chloe had a really good time, which was the whole point. We hadn’t been for a while, mostly because I don’t have a lot of stamina these days to take her by myself.

Thanks to Sarah Jane’s comment from the last post, I had David take a few photos of my burgeoning belly when we got back. It’s huge! And look at that belly button! I swear it used to be an innie. My weight has finally stabalized around 155lbs, but who knows how much heavier I’ll get in the next 6 weeks. I seem to be carrying a lot of weight in my face, too. Not an awesome feeling, and it just emphasizes that I could really use a haircut!

Although I rarely ask for anything for mother’s day, I did ask David to consider a thorough green cleaning of the house after we install our bamboo floor, and before the baby comes. I’ve contacted two local companies for an estimate, and EcoMaids replied that an initial service cleaning for our size home would be $175 (normally $225, but I have a $50 off coupon from our Chinook Book). What do you think? Would it be crazy to spend that much for a good cleaning? I just feel like the house is contaminated with all the dirt, dust, filth and drywall particles constantly floating around. On top of that, the heat pump installers dropped a large amount of blown-in insulation out of our attic space and into the house when they cut out the ceiling vents. Truly disgusting. And while they did try and vacuum up most of it (and I tried to wipe the floors) you can still see it settling in the corners and on the baseboards and such. Anyway. I know its not in our budget, but I would certainly feel better. I’m already a little afraid that our baby boy is going to be born with allergies, or Chloe is going to have future health issues. So we’ll see. And who knows? It might even be cheaper, since literally everything in both bathrooms will be brand-new, and there are very few furnishings yet in our newly added space.

P.S. That shirt is one of the few I’ve bought this pregnancy, and one of my favorites. It’s the Crossover Nursing T from Gap.


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Sand and water

A couple weekends ago we had Daddy all to ourselves. This particular day we joined him for a brief afternoon on the river, and then a few hours at Cannon beach. It had been a long time since we’d done something like this, and we had such a great time. Chloe loved playing in the water and especially the sand, despite the cold temperature.

I wish we could do this kind of thing more often, like we used to, but there are so many reasons we don’t – I’ve been so tired this pregnancy, or David has to work the weekend, or we need to take care of house-related errands or chores… And honestly, Chloe is becoming a handful. At two, she is naturally more independent and willful (and sometimes downright naughty!). There are days I can’t even bear to take her for groceries, and have put it off, if it just isn’t a good day. I wish it wasn’t that way.

I wish getting out of the house was easier… that everyday could be spent somewhere stimulating and fun. But now I’m okay if its just a few times a week, not counting her dance class or her morning at baby preschool. And when Baby Two comes along… well, I think its going to be tough for a while. David said something along the lines of wishing we could fast-forward through that first year, and though I see his point, this will be my only other baby. The last time I’ll get to experience the wonder of a newborn and all the sweetness that entails. And I want to share that with Chloe in a good way. I want them to love each other, to get along, to be friends. But I won’t be able to help them do that if I’m exhausted all the time, like I am now. So, when things just happen to work out, like it did on this special day, I am that much more grateful.


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Hooray for halfway!

20 weeks pregnant today and only 20 weeks to go! Check out that belly self-portrait taken last weekend (19wks). Pretty big, right? From the look (and feel) of it, you might even think I was further along, especially compared to this photo of my 20-week belly when I was pregnant with Chloe.

One thing my midwife noticed at my exam was that I’d gained a noticeable amount of weight since my previous appointment. Yep, it seems I am becoming all belly with a side of extra butt thrown in. And a little in the face, too, I think. She kindly explained it away as “likely to do with the holidays,” but I can’t say that is for sure. When I was pregnant with Chloe I gained a whopping 40lbs. I think it took me almost 6 months to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. This time I was hoping to gain only a healthy 30-35lbs. Perhaps with spring and summer coming, I’ll be able to keep to that goal.

Earlier this week we also had our regular ultrasound. David got off work early, and he and Chloe were both there. Chloe is too young to really get what is going on, but I like that she participate. So far everything seems okay. We got another confirmation that it is a boy, and I’ve been feeling him move around in there for weeks now. Soon David and Chloe will be able to feel it, too.


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Home addition!

Big news – As of right now, we are currently moving forward with plans to add on to our house! Can you believe it? For years David and I have been discussing  ideas on how an addition would make our tiny home so much more liveable. And now I think it might finally happen!

How will it look? Well, basically our plan calls for a rectangular push out into the back yard. We’ll be losing our office space (boo!) to re-convert back to the garage, and losing our existing bathroom to make way for a hall. We’ll be putting both those rooms back within the new space, but what we’re really gaining is a large dining room (and possible small play space) and a second bathroom! What we are also not doing is making any changes to the kitchen, which is hard since it is so tiny, but it is serviceable, and we’ve decided it isn’t as high a priority to us as being able to sit at a real dining table.

That is one of the hardest parts about planning out our new space – figuring out what our priorities are. We plan on living here for a long time and raising two kids, plus we have a dog. It didn’t make sense to do just a part of it now, and hope that we’d add on again later. It is much more cost-effective to break up the house just this one time. And honestly, I’m nervous (and pregnant!). How will we cope with all the racket of construction as we continue to live in the house? How will Chloe nap (light sleeper that she is)? What about dirt, dry-wall dust and other airborne particles with a newborn baby around? Will there even be a working bathroom during my last trimester? So much to think about!

Lastly, all we can do right now is design on paper, but we all know that the way things look on paper and how they look (and feel) in real-life can be different. There are so many questions and choices. I can only hope we are making the right ones for us!

Just for the record, our humble shoe-box ranch looks nothing like Niek Geurts‘s modernist Lego house (above). While we love modern, our neighborhood association is strict about matching the current look of the structure. With my husband and daughter so into Legos right now, I thought it was a cool example of the possibilities.


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A little scare + Big news

I had a little scare earlier this week. The geneticist called to alert us that our risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome was higher than usual. I am not sure how they calculate the numbers, but I think it involves both maternal age and a blood test. She said my risk was 1 in 228, quite higher than the average risk for my age group, and suggested I have a special ultra-sound to perform something called a nuchal translucency screening.

After finding out I had finally hit our deductible, and that the test would only cost the co-pay, I decided to go for it. After all, what expectant mother can resist a tiny peek at her unborn baby? Normally, my only real ultrasound is at 18-20 weeks, but now I’d get two looks in there, plus I’d have time to prepare, if a less-than-ideal issue was present.

Fast forward to the screening – the equipment used by the perinatologist was so much more advanced than at my Doctor’s office. With Chloe, I saw static images that would switch periodically as a new scan was done. With this special screening, the look I got at the baby was like black and white video – I could see the tiny arms and legs pushing around in the amniotic fluid, and I was entranced! Seeing it like that really brought the reality of a baby in there to life, more than just my imagination and plain knowledge can. I really wish David had been there.

After the scan, a doctor looked at the results right away. My new numbers were infinitely better – 1 in 2116 for Down Syndrome, the same as an average risk for a 20 year old (although, not as good as when I had Chloe, where my risk was 1 in 12,000).

Of course, even though I knew it was too early, I couldn’t help but ask if the sonographer could see any gender evidence. She replied no, that it was way too early to tell. But then a few moments later, she asked if we were wanting to know and I said yes, definitely. Apparently she could see something, especially because the baby was in “perfect presentation,” and so we found out… we are having a boy!


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IntelliGender Results

Last week I won a blog giveaway on Droolicious for an IntelliGender Gender Prediction Test kit. According to the web site, you can take the test as soon as you’re 10 weeks pregnant. So, the question is, does it work? In my case, the answer is yes. After I inserted my first morning’s urine sample into the test container and waited the ten minutes, it did show a slightly orange tint, indicating that I’m having a girl (which I already knew from an ultrasound). A dark or smoky green color change would have indicated a boy.

Before I had my 20 week ultrasound I was really curious as to the gender of my baby, but I don’t know if I would have paid the $35 for the test. However, for those who really want to know, and are willing to take the results with some skeptism (just in case), this might be a fun, early trimester activity.


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Self-Portrait, 28 weeks

Here’s what I’m looking like this week. ‘Whoa, Baby!’ comes to mind, doesn’t it?

Went in for my regular prenatal check-up this morning. Good to hear that baby seems to be growing normally. I’ve recently started to feel her kick out of both sides at once, instead of the simple, one-sided pokes. I didn’t mention it before (was more worried about the fetal heart at the time), but we found out during our perinatologist visit that I have what is called a velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord. We’ve been told that it shouldn’t cause much of a complication as long as the ob/midwife doesn’t use any traction on the cord to aid the delivery of the placenta. So much to remember, which is why I’ve started to write out our birth plan to share with our doula and the other delivery staff.

Other hightlights so far this week – we attended our first child-birth education class last night. Lots of good information to be learned during the next five classes. Also, yesterday, we were surprised by a special delivery, our very first baby shower gift! Some lovely outfits and supplies to add to our growing nest.


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27 Weeks

I am now 27 weeks pregnant. So much has changed in the past 7 weeks since my 20 week post, almost all of it having to do with my body. Sometimes I forget how big my belly has grown. Then I’ll see a reflection in a store front window, or a shadow on the ground, and I’m like HOLY COW! And then there are the times I graze my belly on the counter top, or bang it against the dinner table before I sit down. Right. Silly me.

Other times, I’m very aware. Like when I was grocery shopping a couple days ago by myself. I noticed several strangers surreptitiously glance at my very noticeable waistline, then look quickly away. Fortunately, I have yet to receive any untoward comments, and never has a stranger tried to touch my belly, which I’m very thankful. Although, I guess anything can happen in the next thirteen weeks.

Beyond watching my belly grow, there is the anxiety I feel when seeing the numbers increase every time I step on the scale. I know it is normal and healthy to gain weight. I know the pounds are not just the baby herself, but also the fluid and placenta and blood all working to nourish and protect this tiny new life. But still, I’m nervous. Am I gaining too much, too fast? Not according to my mid-wife. Will I be able to lose it after the birth? Please, please, I hope so. How much more will I gain before the end…? My brain struggles to comprehend the changes, while my body struggles to support two lives. And I try not to get too frustrated by the accompanying aches and awkwardness.

On the flip side, our little girl is only a few months away. She is healthy as far as we know, except for her heart arrhythmia, which we don’t worry too much about. She moves around more often now, and sometimes when I look down I can see my belly jumping from her squiggles and kicks. I’m on hiatus from reading pregnancy books, but I’m sure I’ll start up again soon. Instead, I’ve been researching or making baby crafts, and starting to purchase a few necessities as I find them on craigslist or yard sales. Plus, our childbirth education classes start up in a couple weeks. I’m looking forward to attending them, especially with David, an important thing we can do together to prepare for our little girl’s arrival.


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Baby Heart: Update

Thank you to everyone who sent prayers and healing thoughts our way yesterday. Our visit to the perinatologist showed that there are no malformations or impaired function of the heart that she can see, and that hopefully, once our little one is born, the arrhythmia might resolve on its own. This ultrasound was a bit longer than the previous one, but we were also able to confirm that she is indeed a girl. We even got a partial 3D pic of her little face, which I’d post except it’s sort of creepy looking since the image is incomplete and unformed in some areas due to the angle at which she was laying.

Here’s to hoping for another 15 weeks of normal pregnancy, leading to a happy and healthy baby girl!


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One Hot Weekend


A kid on the pier holding a crab

Holy cow it has been SO HOT these past few days. I have never liked really hot weather, and that goes double for pregnant me. Thank goodness it is finally cooling off.

On Friday, David and I drove to Hood River for a summer party with the company he’s working for. We were SO excited because we’d be getting our choice of windsurfing or kiteboarding lessons, which we’ve always wanted to do. Turns out it was so freakin’ hot that there was zero wind (which is what Hood River and the Columbia Gorge are famous for), so we couldn’t have lessons. Very disappointing. Otherwise, it was a nice time, although in the thick of the day I had to leave the riverside to spend a couple hours in the nearby air-conditioned library.

On Saturday, to beat the heat, we headed for the coast (along with a mass exodus of other Portlanders). After a short stop along the Wilson River for David and Alex to do some fly fishing, we continued on to the pier at Garibaldi to throw in crab rings. It was so blissfully cool there on the ocean. We caught some good sized crabs, but none quite big enough to keep. It was fun though. We saw sea lions and pelicans, and David and Alex caught little ocean fish off the pier while I did some reading.

In baby news, I went in last week for a regular check-up with the mid-wife. She listened to baby’s heart for a while before suggesting that I come back later in the day for a fetal non-stress test. Turns out baby has fetal heart arrhythmia. I’ve read that 1%-2% of all pregnant women have babies with this problem, and that it can often resolve itself, although it may also indicate health complications. Tomorrow we’re scheduled to see a perinatologist, who will hopefully be able to tell us more about our particular situation. Of course I’m hoping that it is really nothing to worry about, although I’d appreciate any prayers and health-giving thoughts our way.


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At the Halfway Mark


Self-portrait – at the halfway mark

I feel like it has been ages since I last posted and I was thinking about why that might be. Am I simply unmotivated to write? Not exactly. Am I out of tidbits and thoughts to share? No, that can’t be it either. So what is it? And then I realized. I think it is because I’m pregnant. I mean, I think about being pregnant and baby things quite a lot now, and I am secretly afraid that it will be all I’ll write about, or even want to write about. And would that be so boring? The same topic over and over? And then I thought, well, this is my blog. And I am pregnant. And it is not like I force anyone to read my entries at gunpoint or anything. As a matter of fact, I am always surprised to find that happens at all.

So. I guess, this will be a turning point for this blog, at least for now, to include some babyness (probably a lot). And hopefully, now that we know the gender of our little one, then some appropriate crafts will also make their way back into my agenda. Meanwhile, I think I’ll post about some baby things, just to get them out of my system.

P.S. Turns out our little peanut is a girl :-).


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Plain & Simple Maternity Swimwear

Okay, finding a swimsuit is hard, but finding a maternity swimsuit is ridiculously difficult. And it doesn’t help that I am as picky as they come on this topic. As a matter of fact, my favorite pre-pregnancy two-peice is a red halter-style bikini top with boy short bottoms. It is a few years old now, but back then I drove to three different Targets in order to finally find my size. So you can see, during the rare times that I find one I like, I am willing to go the distance.

After doing a fair amount of internet searching and perusing the racks at a couple nearby stores, I saw a lot of ugly maternity suits. I really wanted PLAIN – no polkadots, animal prints, plaids, ruffles or hardware. It is bad enough that my stomach is becoming an ornament in itself. I don’t want to be baring it to the world either, so I’ll just take a one-piece (or a two-peice with respectable belly coverage), thank you very much.

So. I finally found three acceptable options. Each one simple (some would say boring) and no frills. Budget-wise they can be described as:

The extra fancy pro: gorgeous, con: expensive
Middle of the road
pro: somewhat more affordable, con: two-piece
The big cheapster
pro: cheap, con: not a very good fit

I deliberated for quite a while, but knew with the summer months ahead and a pregnancy swim class starting soon, that I had to make a decision. I’m kind of embarrassed to even admit which one I prefer, but it might just end up being my one big splurge. Am I just being crazy?

The extra fancy

Middle of the road

The big cheapster
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