Monthly Archives: June 2012

25 Weeks

How far along: 25 weeks, completed 6/26/2012. Only 15 to go!

Weight gain: I saw the midwives at Swedish Covenant on Monday, and I’ve gained 7 pounds since my last visit (about 5 weeks ago). That puts me at 144, for a total weight gain of 11 lbs. My midwife was . . . well, shocked. “Your overall gain is fine,” she said, “but I’m kind of surprised at the big jump in this past month. I’m not worried . . . but you can’t keep gaining at this rate.” I don’t ever remember being warned about my weight being a potential problem, so this was a new experience for me. And certainly an uncomfortable experience to boot!

I’m not sure what happened in this past month–a legitimate growth spurt from Alice? too many fries?–but I’m choosing not to worry. I don’t think I’m piling the pounds on anywhere except for the Alice-area, so I hereby push off the guilt that’s nipping at my heels! The end.

Also, I’m getting another ultrasound in a few weeks because they never got a clear shot of her spine during that first ultrasound. This isn’t a surprise–the ultrasonographer told us at the appointment this would probably be the case, since Alice wasn’t moving about very much and stubbornly stayed in profile. And I’m really looking forward to seeing her again! The not-so-thrilling part is the $498 bill from that first ultrasound that just arrived in the mail. After being told by BlueCrossBlueShield that all my prenatal care was covered excepting a co-pay on my first visit, they are now saying that ultrasounds are apparently not part of that–whaaaa??? So this lovely bill will now be repeated with ultrasound #2. Ouch. (And I’m thanking God that there is an out-of-pocket limit over which we will not have to go! If not I’d be slightly terrified.)

Clothes: I’ve been cycling through the same set of summer dresses for about 10 days now, and wondering if it’s time to expand (Salvation Army, anyone?). It’s too hot for pants! And little dresses are hands-down the most comfortable thing to wear these days. No pressure on the belly; no worrying about a shirt popping up a little too far; no worrying about pants popping down a little too far. The little summer dress is pregnancywear perfection as far as I’m concerned. Case in point: this little number from Rummage!

Purchases: I got another registry gift in the mail (some adorable and girly onesies) from my blogging friend Kim. What a sweetheart! Thanks, Kim. And my friend Megan from Delaware gave me some great advice on what to pull off or put into my registry, so I’m taking that second look at some of my decisions, especially in the area of the Boppy, the baby food cooker thingy, and a few other items. By the way, Megan has started a great series on baby carriers on her blog, which I’m avidly following.

And as for the Boppy, should I just nix it and go with the “Brestfriend” thingamaging instead that I’ve been hearing about? Any extra advice from out there, from Boppy lovers or Boppy haters?

Body: It’s getting even harder to go from prone to upright. I mentioned before that it was getting challenging to use my abs to lift my upper body–now it’s starting to feel actually impossible. When I have to get up to pee in the middle of the night, I’ve started executing a quite un-elegant roll under the body pillow and off the side of the bed.

Up until recently, as you know, I’d been feeling too small, and eager for my belly to really pop out. Well, I got my wish and now I have the belly. And I’m not looking back! Yippee!But now that I’ve heard that my rate of weight gain was so rapidly rapid, I have to share this little incident: at the grocery store on Saturday, a (very nice) lady that frequently checks us out exclaimed “Oh wow–you’re pregnant! I didn’t realize–wow, that happened fast! How far along are you?”

“About 5 1/2 months,” I said.

“Wow!” she exclaimed, her eyes growing wide, “that’s a biiiig baby you’ve got in there!”

I’d been warned that people, including strangers, would start feeling free to comment on my body and its appearance during pregnancy. But I’m still in disbelief about it. I definitely walked away from that encounter feeling self-conscious about my girth. I’m not offended–just kind of like, ‘umm . . . what just happened?’

Sleep: Great! Still rocking that body pillow.

Best moment(s) of the week: I really enjoyed our 2nd Bradley class this week. A nutritionist spoke for the first half, and though I’m not implementing everything she said or recommended (yeah, $80/month for vitamins is a little . . . stretch), I’m definitely going to follow her suggestion to cut out any cow milk products during the last month of pregnancy. Apparently babies are born with their digestive systems still developing, and breast milk helps finish that process up within the first 3 weeks or so. However, babies’ stomachs when they are first born can’t handle cow milk, so if the mama is consuming cow milk products (which take a number of weeks to leave the system), it can really upset the baby and cause colic. Sold! ‘Cause I want to stay away from colic at all costs. I’m on board, Mme. Nutritioniste.

The second half of the class really solidified my commitment to this whole natural birth thing. We watched part of a PBS documentary highlighting the difference between the medical model and the women-centered model of birthing. One thing that really stuck with me is a quote from a doctor who said something like, “I’ve delivered thousands of babies, but I’ve never actually seen the labor process from start to finish.” I find that . . . surprising. Shocking, really. That a doctor in charge of helping women with their labor would never have witnessed a full labor? Doesn’t that seem like a huge gaping hole in his education and training? Anyway, as I watched women birthing in more traditional hospital settings, I was struck by how much the doctors, nurses, families, and even the women themselves, appeared to be simply watching blips on a screen. I was struck by how often time was talked about (you’re not progressing fast enough . . . you’re dilating too slowly . . . it’s been 2 hours . . . it’s been another 2 hours . . .), as if the women had a problem because their internal delivery clockwork wasn’t matching the ‘industry average.’ And on the flip-side, I was struck by how much more personal and warm the environment seemed in the birthing centers and midwife-assisted labors, where the focus was on the actual woman giving birth, and not the machines and monitors and tubes, or the ticking clock.

I mean, if I feel pressured to hurry things up, I just know that will stress me out. Which will cause me to tense up, and that tension will slow down my delivery. That sounds like a downward spiral–know what I’m saying? Denyse, our Bradley class instructor, equipped us with two all-important questions to keep in mind when medical providers are giving us options during labor that we’re not certain about wanting: “Am I okay?” and “Is the baby okay?” That cuts to the heart of what’s really important. I feel empowered just knowing that if the answer to both those questions is ‘yes,’ I can–in good faith–turn down any suggested drugs or interventions (such as pitocin). If the answer is ‘no,’ then I would of course jump at agreeing to whatever was necessary.

I am so grateful to be giving birth in a facility that doesn’t hook me up to an IV just because I’ve been admitted, encourages me to walk around and move about (which helps labor progress much more efficiently–lying back on a bed with your legs up apparently stymies progress), allows me to wear whatever I want (no hospital gown pour moi, thank you!), will allow my body to take its time, and has a tub, birthing stool and squat bar in every room so that I have different options for more comfortable laboring.

And just in case I’m inflaming any emotions here, I just want to state very clearly that I’m not against hospitals, or doctors. Who knows–I may need an emergency intervention, and I’m grateful that can happen quickly if needed, and be done by experts. And I may end up choosing an epidural, because I simply don’t know how I’m going to handle and manage the pain. So theh’s mah disclaimah. In fact, please re-read the entire disclaimah in a thick Southaaahn accent.

Movement: We have seen the craziest thing this week–little limbs pushing out on my belly! I can hardly believe how insane and awesome this is. When Alice starts doing this, I just lie there and watch my belly until she’s settled back down–it’s too fascinating to look away!

Food cravings/aversions: Nothing!

Symptoms: Peeing a lot . . . overheating during hot days . . . that’s the bulk of it.

Emotions: I’ve been feeling really emotional about . . . well, the aloneness of this all. It may sound strange, but it’s just hitting me that the ones having this baby are my husband and me. Just us. Not my parents or his parents or our extended family or close friends–we have to be the ones to walk through all this. I will be the one giving birth–no one else. We will be the ones taking her home.

I guess I had this subconscious idea of the whole ‘having a baby’ thing as being a big family event: people fluttering around me–large groups of women I love all present during all the important moments (yes, all of them)–everyone feeling the baby kick constantly–everyone gathered around to admire how cute her first little dress looks–you get the idea. But with a sister in Alaska who’s due a few weeks before me, a sister moving to Arizona in August, my closest friend in Chicago about to move away, other close girlfriends scattered in Delaware, Texas, Virginia, etc.–there will not be a scenario in which every single one of these women will be right next to me, oohing and aahing over the exciting stuff and holding my hand during the hard stuff. It’s just not going to happen that way.

I know they will all be there for me as much as possible via phone or email if I need it–but until someone invents that thingy in Star Trek that transports you instantly, they simply can’t all physically be there at every moment.

(anyone out there working on the Star Trek thingy, while we’re on the topic? Anyone?)

The irony of my tears over this is that I don’t even know if I want a lot of people around me! In fact, I’m pretty certain that I don’t. I want only my husband around during delivery, so that I can really focus on laboring without distraction. I want at least a week alone with him and Alice right after she’s born. In fact, if my emotional vision of multitudes of females hovering around me and Alice were to come true, I’d probably feel stressed out, overcrowded and claustrophobic.

But my emotions are going crazy no matter what instructions my logical mind sends heart-wards.

It feels like a sobering let-down to realize that this is just us.

We have to go through this, to a certain extent, alone.

Thank God for, well, God.

Hopes and dreams: After seeing babies pop out of women during our birthing class DVD viewings, I have started getting really excited about that first glimpse of Alice. That first moment of holding her slimy, wriggly little body in my arms. Every time I see the initial baby/mama contact in the videos, I start crying–it’s completely precious. And it’s going to happen to me!

What I miss: My jeans! I really liked a lot of them, dontcha know.

What I’m looking forward to: So much! Our next Bradley class, in which we’re jumping into labor prep–relaxation techniques, how our coaches should be helping us through our pain, and all that good meaty stuff. And the baby shower my friends are throwing!! July 14th is right around the corner, and the theme (which I LOVE) is “Sugar and Spice.”

Husband update: He’s really liking the Bradley class, for which I’m so grateful. It gives me the reassurance that, even though it was my idea, this really is something we’re doing together, not something I’m dragging him to. I want him to come out of this class empowered to be in charge during labor–in charge of helping me, protecting me, anticipating my needs–and confident in his knowledge of what to do.

I’d love to hear from any of you who are mothers about how your husbands/partners/birth coaches helped you during labor. What did you need from them the most during delivery?


Cauliflower Tagine

This healthy little dish is just that–healthy! Good for you! And wonderfully light on the stomach. It’s tasty and satisfying, and though it won’t blow the gourmet world away (no vapors of crawfish or fumes of foie-gras here), I would totally make it again, especially if I’m feeling heavy and bloated and need something that isn’t going to weigh me down. You feel good just looking at it, and with its lightly spiced tomato broth, topped with fresh cilantro and crunchy almonds, it’s a winner. Your taste buds may not dance the tango, but they will at least bust a couple decent moves, like the sprinkler. Or the shopping cart.

Originally from this recipe, here it is with my humble modifications:


(Serves 4)

2 TBS olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 slices lemon
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
2 14 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 head cauliflower
3 carrots
1 15 oz can chickpeas
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cinnamon stick
2 medium to large zucchini
Slivered almonds, to garnish
Fresh minced cilantro to garnish
Cooked couscous, quinoa, or rice to serve

Slice the onion and heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the onion . . .

. . . and sauté for 6-8 minutes, until starting to brown. Toss in the lemon slices.

Mince the garlic, and add it to the onions along with the cumin, ginger, bay leaves, salt and pepper.


Stir everything for a minute or two, then pour in the vegetable broth and tomatoes.

Break up or chop the cauliflower into florets, and chop the carrot into 3-inch lengths. Add the cauliflower, carrots, chickpeas (rinsed! Get that grody bean juice outta there!), raisins and cinnamon stick to the pot.

Bring it all to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cut the zucchini into thick rounds, and add it to the pot. Continue to simmer (covered) for 10 more minutes.

And it’s done!

Isn’t it so beautifully colorful?

Toss the cinnamon stick into the garbage (pronounced gah-baaaaj by the way), and serve over rice, couscous, or quinoa, garnished with cilantro and almonds.

It tastes . . . simple. In a good way. Unpretentious, light, straightforward.

It’s not devoid of flavor, but lets the vegetables shine through in all their vegetable naturalness instead of covering them up with heavy doses of spice.

This tagine has no hidden agenda.

Make it! Or something.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Cauliflower Tagine