Happy No-Surgery Day to Me

Today I am 39 weeks.

Last Friday, I had a pretty intense bout of prodromal labor that didn’t have me calling my midwife yet or rushing to the hospital, but it did leave me thinking labor might be imminent in the days following.  Then Saturday it sort of puttered out, and it all eventually stopped.  Now I am back to being large and still pregnant and completely unable to get comfortable.  I’m also back to assuming she will follow big brother’s timing and arrive something like two weeks from now.  I think I must take a long time to cook a baby.

Do I love being pregnant?  No.  Especially at this stage.  But I realized last night as I was aimlessly cleaning the kitchen and thinking about what we were going to have for dinner that I would be feeling very differently if I wasn’t making the choice to let her come on her own.  Repeat cesareans used to be performed as early as 37 or 38 weeks, but since March of Dimes’ 39 Weeks Campaign has affected hospital regulations recently, most doctors choose to do the surgery at 39 weeks.

Which means, of course, I’d be on an operating table about now.  Or I’d be finally holding my newborn maybe after the hours of separation it takes to recover from surgery.

And while finally holding my newborn sounds really good right now, the idea of CHOICE is sounding pretty good right now, too.  I’m so grateful for the choice to deliver my baby in a way that is accepted by ACOG as safe.  I’m grateful for the research available to help me make that decision.  I’m grateful for the awesome provider I’ve found who supports my choices 100%.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to let my baby choose her own birthday.

Happy 39 Weeks to me!  Still pregnant.  And happy about that.


So we are officially full-term. 37 weeks still sounds so early to me, but it’s a signal that the end is near and a little sigh of relief that things would probably be okay from here on out. Big Brother is really excited as you can see.

37 Weeks

Another month or so of the waiting game….

Freezing Food for Newborn Days

Yesterday a friend of mine was asking how my husband was doing and if he was excited about the new baby.  I explained that I think he’s the one nesting lately, not me.   He’s cleaning and organizing and replacing things around here that needed to be replaced for a long time.  It’s probably in part because he remembers how hazy and busy that first month with a new baby can be, and he knows home improvement won’t happen for a long time.

I wish I could get the cleaning bug as part of my last month of pregnancy hormonal fluctuations.  I know for most people “nesting” is a phenomenon that has them rewashing baby clothes and organizing some long-forgotten bathroom cabinet or something.  So far, I cannot seem to get motivated in that regard.  In fact, I am ashamed to tell you that the nursery is not quite complete yet.  Close, but not done.  (Which is extra funny considering I think my son had clean sheets on his bed at 26 weeks gestation.)  I am 35 going on 36 weeks, and I need a push to finish these sorts of things.

But the one area where I think my nesting instincts are taking hold is my kitchen.  I’ve written before about the glory of freezer cooking and how it helps a busy weeknight come together or a sleepy morning go more smoothly.  I didn’t discover this until my son was about 9 months old, but it would have been so helpful in those early days.  This time I have another mouth to feed, of course.  And I know Jude’s world will feel really different no matter what I do, but I like the idea that he can still sit down at the same table with the same parents during the first few weeks of this transition.

I’ve mostly used Once a Month Mom as my resource for recipes and ideas, and I wanted to link them here as well.  I’m trying to do a good mix of dairy-free and regular recipes in light of a lot of newborn’s sensitivities to dairy in the early weeks.  I was lucky with my son that I could eat anything at all and he was never bothered, but you never know, so I wanted to be at least somewhat prepared for that possibility and not have a freezer full of food I couldn’t eat.  Once a Month Mom now has a dairy and gluten free menu every month, and while I don’t care to limit gluten, I used that menu to get some dairy-free ideas since 99% of my freezer recipes involve cheese, cream, or milk.   So far, I have managed to cook and freeze the following:

Breakfast: Chocolate-Strawberry Scones, Dairy-Free Carrot Raisin Muffins, and Sausage Balls.  Still on the agenda: Berry Baked French Toast and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Muffins.  We are big egg-eaters around here, so if I pair an egg with just one muffin or scone, that’s enough.  We should have breakfast taken care of for at least 3 weeks on my calculations, I think.

Lunch: Dairy Free BBQ Beef Sandwiches and Whole Wheat Rolls, Pita Pizzas.  Still on the agenda: Dairy-Free Chicken Taquitos, and “Tacos in a Sleeping Bag.”  (My kid LOVES those!)

Dinner: Dairy-Free Cajun Chicken ready for the grill, Tex-Mex Ravioli Casserole.  Still on the agenda: Chicken Divan, Baked Ziti, Dairy-Free Slow Cooker Greek Chicken, Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Artichokes, Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushrooms

A few extras like mashed potatoes for a quick side dish and a couple of rounds of pizza dough should help, too.  I also hit up the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe’s for a few favorites, which for us means Crispy Orange Chicken, Fried Rice, Chicken Tacos, and Croissants.

We have a small chest freezer in the basement, so most of it is stored down there – mainly so I won’t be tempted to dive in to it before the baby arrives.   I just used old paper grocery bags and labeled them for various meals to make things more simple.


Most of the dinner entrees really won’t fit in the dinner bag, so they will be stacked beside it instead.  Still though, walking downstairs to get food and throwing it in the microwave, the oven, or the Crockpot is ten times easier than making something from scratch, and I’m excited to reap the rewards next month.  On the whole, it’s taken far less time than one would think since I typically just double something we are eating tonight and freeze a portion.  I’ve used Jude’s nap time to cook and freeze as well which is always helpful with an hour or two alone.

I am a little lost on the dairy-free menu, so any suggestions on things of that variety that freeze well would be greatly appreciated.  Send them my way!

the art of doing nothing. or something.

I feel like it’s definitely overkill to open yet another post with “where does the time go?” It feels like a confessional booth in too many ways lately – forgive me it’s been fourteen days since my last post.  I’m asking myself for forgiveness on this issue though because I’ve wanted so badly to savor this pregnancy – not knowing if or when I’ll do this again.  I wanted to take it slowly and enjoy a last few months as a family of three and a mother of only one.

And I have no idea what is getting in the way of writing in this space.  Jude gets up early now, so I don’t have the early morning solo time I did when he was a baby.  Plus I have been very good (patting myself on the back) about exercising regularly this pregnancy.  I’m on the treadmill four or five days a week.  And the only way that happens is that as soon as I get him down for an afternoon nap, I head to the treadmill as a first priority, and then by the time I get off of it, I’ve got phone calls to make and housework to do and yada yada before he wakes up.  So I haven’t been doing what I am doing right this second – which is skipping my treadmill routine for the day to write or reflect.  But today started with chasing him around a large playground for an hour or so, and it’s approaching 80 degrees here in Georgia (in March?!) so this 32-week pregnant belly said no to my treadmill today.  And yes to a little writing again.

I turned 31 years old last week, or I guess it was almost two weeks ago.  I had every intention to write a birthday post of some kind – commemorating 31 things I love right now or 31 reasons I’m grateful or 31 things I’ve done this year.  But it didn’t happen.  I did a lot though, I realize as I look back.  I went to Costa Rica, spent time in Vancouver, saw Paris with my little family.  I welcomed another pregnancy and thus have gained a few pounds, but with good reason, I suppose.

I started milling my own grains and baking my own bread, which clearly makes me sound like a crazylady, but I love that I eat things I wouldn’t have eaten a year ago and pay more attention to what goes in my body than I ever have in years past.  I finished a ton of craft projects and wrote a lot here, until the past few months when I haven’t.

I’ve done a lot when I really look back and think about it.  But it feels like you’ve done nothing if you don’t stop and think, no?  And that’s why I miss this space so much.  We do little things all the time that seem so much bigger when I take the time to write them down or take a photo.


Lots of lunches outside lately.

Some Lego building.

Finishing some little projects for the nursery.

Becoming reacquainted with porch sittin’ after a winter of hibernating.

There is a lot to love about springtime, especially with such a potent reminder in our house right now that new life is headed this way in something like eight weeks.  Eight weeks?  How is that possible?  Soon I hope I’m moving past the panic mode and in to the feathering-my-nest mode.  When I think about the first few weeks with my firstborn, all I really needed was diapers, boobs, and a few clothes and blankets, right?  All that is taken care of, so I hope to enjoy these last two months looking on to the fun stuff.  And writing more here, I hope.  I love that feeling of looking back at life when it was so different, right before a new change occurs.  And I want to have some things to look back on to assure me that I actually did something in the spring of 2012.  Park time and ice cream and outside dining as a family of three counts as something very special these days.  Changes coming soon, my friends!

hello, third trimester

This past week began my third trimester.  I don’t want to imply that I see the light at the end of the tunnel yet because three months (or longer?) can be a long time.  But as the calendar flips to March this week and we welcome springtime soon, I feel it’s at least getting closer to this warm-weather baby.


28 weeks

We’re starting to realize there’s really a baby making her appearance soon, and things with her name on them are arriving little by little.

I left the midwives office today feeling grateful again for my choice of provider. I feel valued and empowered and like a real partner in all these steps and decisions along the way. I can have conversations and ask honest questions in a way I never could with my last go-around.  It feels so good to be respected.

separation anxiety. pubic bone pain. and other fun stuff.

A few times in the past weeks I’ve had a number of ideas swirling in my head and wanted to write here.  My days are lacking bigger blocks of time lately it seems.  So I haven’t followed through on these plans.  I hate letting too much time pass without a word here, though.  It seems far less like a journal when I do that.

So the furniture is delivered, and Norah’s room is painted.  Hopefully we can get the crib assembled this weekend, and then I’m going to measure and attempt to sew the curtains and crib skirt myself.  We’ll see how that goes.  Also on the pregnancy front, I have developed some SPD, and it hurts in a way that makes me nervous for the next 13 or more weeks.  I mean if I felt that pain when I was two weeks shy of my due date, I wouldn’t mind, but I just hope it doesn’t get much worse.  Getting out of the car or out of my bed makes me wince.  I found an awesome chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy though, so I’m really hoping it’s something she can help with. I’ve been really consistent with exercise this go-around, but I took a couple of days off this week because thirty minutes on the treadmill sounds like torture when I end up holding my crotch and hobbling every evening anyhow.  This might be my pay-back for a first pregnancy that included little to no discomfort at all.  But you know what?  If a totally different pregnancy means a totally different delivery, I am completely okay with it.

In addition to a shape that changes daily and various new wonders (ha) of pregnancy that show up as these weeks pass, I have a boy who reminds me on a daily basis how much he is growing and changing. We got rid of the beloved pacifier a few weeks ago.  A trip to Build-a-Bear so he could put the paci in a stuffed animal seemed like a good idea.

The first nap sans paci was rough, but he came around and loves on his bunny or special blanket when he’s sleepy now.  Or his mama, which is a whole other post in the realm of separation-anxiety-getting-out-of-control these days.  I’m hoping that this completely normal and expected phase will pass in the months ahead.

We also spent yesterday morning touring a little preschool he’s probably going to attend next year.  They have an “early threes” class that meets only two mornings a week and sounds perfect.  As much as I love learning with him here at home, I understand how different life will be come May.  No more mornings to focus only on Jude the way we are used to it now.

It was so sweet seeing their little backpacks lined up on named pegs and the tiny little classrooms where everything is toddler-height.  There was a music class going on when we were there, and the teacher asked if he’d like to join in.  He obliged her and found himself dancing and playing along with he others for a few minutes.  I felt simultaneously proud and sad watching him.  Ah, motherhood.  We are always being pulled in different directions, it seems.

His emerging independence and capabilities are cause for both joy and heartache.  But that’s the way it goes with most of the good stuff in life, I think.

Hope you are surviving the February doldrums with some fun things in store.  We made Valentine cookies this week, and I froze half the batch of dough.  I’m thinking I’ll probably save it for a dreary day in the coming weeks and we can make them for no reason at all.  After a busy week, my only plan tonight is a huge pot of soup.  Happy weekend!

24 weeks

I think I need to get my head in the game here.  In roughly 4 months, I’ll have another baby living at my house.  My baby.  Needing a lot of attention and diapers and clothes and boobs and all of the things that newborns are so good at demanding. I might be the only one, or maybe this is the way it is for everyone, but I find that this pregnancy is going so fast that I cannot keep up.  I thought it felt weird  to flip the calendar to second trimester, and in a few weeks, I will welcome the third one. WHAT IS HAPPENING?  Time is this weird concept that is not realistically evolving for me lately.  Today I turn 24 weeks, and last night, we took this photo.

24 weeks

Isn’t he a good helper? Jude is getting used to the idea of a baby around, and he talks about her independently without my asking or urging which is so fun.  Still though, I feel like there is a lot to do.  I got together with some friends over the weekend, and we only see each other every few months, so I received a couple of little gifts for Norah.  There are tiny pink things!  And monogrammed things!  In my house!  And where to put them, I don’t know.

I know we have time to get the nursery done, but I also want it finished before I am in my last month because I am a control freak and want to help out with all of it and get things set up on my own before I am too large or incapacitated to do it all. This means I have something like 12 or so weeks to get it done which is tons of time until I think about the mountains of things that reside in the closet of the guest bedroom that will soon be a nursery.  And the furniture in there.  And the white walls that will leave soon.  And the furniture we need to purchase.  And everything else there is to do.  I thought nesting didn’t start until late in the game, but my cleaning and purging urges are out of control lately.  At 7:58am this past Monday, I was cleaning out my freezer and pantry.

And then there is the realization that this baby does have to come out.  Preferably from my vagina.  And I am 100% certain in my convictions, but old fears from the last round are creeping up this week, and it’s scary.

[Side note: it might be my faulty memory, but I am fairly sure at this point in my first pregnancy I was in prenatal yoga and reading lots of parenting books and looking at a crib that already stood assembled in my house and feeling serene and confident in my ability to birth and completely ready for a new arrival.  My, how time changes things.]

This post seems worthless and sort of a rant, but it feels good to write things down, no?  Now off to get busy.  I’ve got some cleaning to do.

Big day!

There are so many fun and exciting things happening here lately, and I am not always taking the time to post like I should.  We took a break from the shopping and baking and wrapping and playing to check in with my doctor for the big 20-week anatomy scan.  I’m really at 19 weeks, but they scheduled me a week early since the official 20 week mark falls in the busy holiday week.  We were not surprised at all to hear the ultrasound technician say, “It’s a girl!” But that didn’t make it any less exciting.

Blog Edit - cropped name

It’s probably just the timing since this ultrasound is about nine-ish days before mine was in my first pregnancy, but her little profile really does look so different than Jude’s did.  This baby wasted no time at all showing us what she was because probably 20 seconds after we started looking in, she did this.
It's a girl!! - BLOG EDIT

There was lots of other movement, and except for a moment when I had to roll over a bit to make her show us the back of her head and top of her spine, she was really cooperative.  I do find myself asking, “Are they sure it’s a girl?” in a way I didn’t with my son.  Maybe that’s because you are sort of looking at the absence of something, and not the presence.  But she jumped around A LOT during the ultrasound, so I’m feeling pretty sure we have a correct guess here. That first shot was also clear enough, even for my layman eyes, that I think I might have been a bit disappointed if I didn’t want to know the sex of the baby.  Her froggy legs jumped around a good bit in that position, and I was thinking I didn’t see anything in between them before the ultrasound tech told us the “official” word.

And all those old wives’ tales about pregnancy?  They’ve all been true for me.  Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I’ve felt so incredibly different with this pregnancy.  My nausea first trimester was much more pronounced.  My fatigue lasted longer.  My face broke out like an adolescent for three straight months which never happened with my son.  My boobs ached so intensely from the very beginning that they convinced me to take a pregnancy test a full week before my period was even due.  With my last pregnancy, I needed to shop for larger bras about one month before I delivered, most likely just from general water weight.  But with this one?  New bras by week eight. It’s like anything hormonal is on overdrive with this pregnancy, and though I spent years assuming I’d have two boys for some reason, I’ve been expecting this girl news since about month two.  I’ve heard the saying that girls steal their mother’s beauty during pregnancy, and friends, I am here to tell you that’s true.  I look at photos of myself during Jude’s pregnancy, and I was glowing – best skin and hair ever.  This go-around, I feel tired and frumpy rather than beautiful. Oh well, small price to pay for a new little life.

In spite of our assurance for months that we were having a girl, there has been much discussion on boy names in this house – primarily just because we absolutely could not settle on one.  I had a favorite, and Scott did too, but we didn’t see eye-to-eye.  We finally found a common ground with another name we both liked and couldn’t find a middle name that worked with it.  A girl name though?  I think we’ve been settled since before I even took the home pregnancy test.  Funny how that works.
19 weeks

So this is real, folks!  I’m having a baby, and she looks healthy, and I’m having a GIRL which will be so different in many ways, but also just the same.  I’ve got a million other thoughts swirling in my mind about having a daughter, and I hope to write on those in the coming weeks.  For now though, just soaking up the good news and being grateful for a healthy baby kicking in my belly.  So much love and anticipation makes for a really great holiday season.

Much love to you and your families as well.   I’m off to finish up a few crafty Christmas gifts and cook a little in the next few days.  And maybe buy something tiny and pink.  Have a happy Christmas!

Holiday Recipes

I’m guilty of using this blog to chronicle some things for myself, namely recipes.  Just a few nights ago, I typed “cabbage rolls” in to the search bar to find this post because I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere, and I knew I remembered linking here at some point.  Although from time to time, I also hear from some of you that you tried something I mentioned here, and that always makes me feel like a much more accomplished cook than what I really am.

So here are a couple of recipes we enjoyed last week that I want to keep up with for my own sake, but I also wanted to pass on to you……

A delicious Cranberry Pie

Cranberry Pie

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe that she details with a ton of photographs here, but the basic idea is simple: mix two cups of cranberries and 1/2 a cup of chopped pecans, dump it in a buttered pie plate and sprinkle 2/3 cup of sugar on it.  Now mix one cup of flour, one cup of sugar, one stick of melted butter, 2 eggs, a pinch of salt, and one teaspoon of almond extract.  Pour that over the berries.  Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 oven, and sprinkle sugar on top in the last 5 minutes of baking.  It’s really the pie that nobody can mess up.  I’ve made it with fresh cranberries, with frozen ones, without almond extract when I didn’t realize I was out of it, with a little less sugar when I wanted it tart….. all sorts of ways and really it can’t go wrong.  It’s delicious and a perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

Hoping to make up for all that butter, I also made a kale salad.

Kale Salad

I know the idea of raw kale is enough to scare anyone, but it’s really good, I swear!  I do a variation on this recipe.  Chop one bunch of Lacinto kale, sometimes called black kale.  (It’s really important that you get that type because the greener variety can taste rubbery and too strong.)  Mince 1-2 cloves of garlic, add the juice of one lemon, three tablespoons of olive oil, a dash of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of kosher salt.  To that, I add about 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and pour it over the kale. Toss and let it marinate for an hour or so.  The greens hold up really well under the oil, and I even put leftovers in the fridge to eat over the next few days without getting a soggy salad.

There are a million other yummy-looking recipes I’ve spotted on a table or in a magazine or online in the past few weeks.  With so many reasons to look forward to this time of year, food is no exception.  I’m attending Jenna’s fun cookie swap next weekend, and I can’t wait to walk away with a ton of new recipes from that as well.  So much to cook, so little time.. or so little room in the waistline for most of us.

I know I’ve been getting plenty to eat because I’ve watched myself grow from this one month ago.

12 weeks

… to this right now.

16 weeks
Yep, folks.  The belly popped.  It’s such a fun time of year to be looking on to bright and new things.  Happy Wednesday, reader, and as of tomorrow, happy December! Hope you are holiday-ing and baking and reminiscing and doing all the things that December calls for.