Thursday, November 29, 2007

Actually Been Busy Lately

After weeks of passing my days with D.J. and Uncle Jesse, Lorelei and Rory, Steve Urkel, and the occasional Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I've actually sort of had a life that brings me into contact with other, 3-D people who can actually respond when I talk to them. (Rather than being irritated when Stephanie, for the umpteenth time, will not listen when I say, "Don't do it! You know Danny's going to find out!")

Last Tuesday, I departed for Texas. Spud very much enjoyed his/her first plane ride despite my fear that s/he would definitely not given the fact that I actually puked for the first pregnant time the morning of my flight. It was the first time since I was little that I actually ate my plane snacks. Anything to keep nausea at 33000 feet at bay. My airline journey was, thankfully, extremely uneventful. Of course, I did cry in the bathroom at SeaTac for a while for the following reasons:
  1. I'm an emotional pregnant girl and can't help it
  2. I found out I was losing Speck at the airport on June 1st over the phone as I was picking up my mom. I will FOREVER associate the baggage claim area there with my little Speck.
  3. The last time I was there, I was sobbing hideously in a desperate clutch with Bethany as she and Dan were saying goodbye to us in the security line at the genesis of their world-traveling new lifestyle. I miss them SO much.
I arrived in TX delighted to see my mom and dad as mom immediately started trying to see if I was showing yet. In clothes, I'm not. HOWEVER, when I first wake up and my stomach is empty I can see my little uterus pooch beginning to show. AND, it's not just my imagination because yesterday, at my appointment with Cindie, she said that I have an anterior uterus which means it's slightly poking forward, and she could feel from the outside that it is starting to pooch out. Thanks to my anterior uterus, we were also able to hear Spud's amazingly little, but strong, heart beating. Brendan was sure to mentally capture the exact beat and proceeded to tap on things at Spud's heartbeat's speed for the rest of the night. Gotta love an excited Dad. He also got compliments from Cindie for being my bathwater-temperature-monitor.

Alright, back to Texas.

The point of the trip, aside from celebrating Thanksgiving with the Meadors for the first time in 7 years, was for me to be a wedding prep assistant for my mom and sister. We made 320 invitations by hand, stuffed, and addressed them in about 12 hours. 10 of the hours were in one day. It was an amazing feat of organization and craftization. I was very impressed. Being with my family was wonderful. I miss them terribly, but circumstances prevent me from hoping that we'll ever live in the same place. Although, Whit and Dustin are planning to move to Portland for seminary in the next couple years. That would be great. I got to witness the aftermath for my parents of a child's departure since Whitney left to go back to school the day before I left. It was so sad! They were practically bereft for the whole day. I usually cry when I leave them; but, especially now that I have the first inklings of what parenthood is like, I know that it's all much worse for the mom and dad. The other great part of the trip was seeing my cousins brand new baby boy. I almost walked out the door with him. He is incredibly adorable and holding a sweet little baby feels like about the most natural, wonderful thing in the world to me. CAN'T WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON SPUD!!! But, I will wait. No early arrivals, please.

Upon my return, which included a $65 CAB RIDE!, I was blessed immensely by the fact that Brendan had deep cleaned the whole house, left me a nice note and flowers, and had wrapped two Christmas presents for me! He's been so wonderful of late... I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm carrying his child... but also, we've been really nice and lovey to each other thanks, I'm sure, to the fact that God has been answering our prayers and blessing us with a new closeness ever since the rough events of the summer. We went out for dinner that night, and it was SO good to be with him. I missed him more than ever when I was in Texas.

And now, the next 3 weeks will simply be a whirlwind of social, holiday events until the Ribera Juniors return to Texas for Christmas and the wedding.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Drama for the Mama

Pregnancy Post-Miscarriage = Pregnant Paranoia

On Thursday, the same day my problems began in my last pregnancy, I had a little spotting just like the kind that began my miscarriage. (Kind of can't believe I'm about to publish this on the internet... oh well, it's about time people start talking more about this sort of thing.) Needless to say, Brendan and I were both pretty nervous. My midwife said that we should get an ultrasound as that is the quickest way to see if the baby is ok. She made an appointment for us for the following day. I spent the rest of that day on my back drinking water, crying, praying, and watching WAY too much TV.

By Friday, my spotting had completely stopped, so I moved from being fearful about my appointment to being pretty excited. The spotting never stopped once it started the last time. At 2 o'clock I left to get batteries for the camera and a big bottle of water on my way to pick up Brendan from iLike. I was hoping to take pictures at the ultrasound after all it was the first time I'd ever see my little baby! The water was to make sure my bladder was full (lovely) for the ultrasound. Apparently they need it full to push everything else out of the way to see the uterus. I picked up Brendan in a pretty good mood, but as we got closer to the office I started feeling scared. What if it was about to happen again? I'm so glad that Brendan was there; he's the most calming person I know.

So, when we got there, to our HUGE disappointment there was a sign about how cameras are prohibited. Sad. But, that was actually alright because I was slightly worried about pulling the camera out (or Brendan pulling it out) only to learn that the baby was dead. (Sounds harsh, but if the heart's not beating... that's what it is.)

I got back there finally with our nice technician named Joanna who was very good at explaining everything and answering my myriad of questions. First, she did it "from the top" which means on my belly. Our fears were quickly allayed because she found the sac quickly, and I could already see the little flashing spot in what I assumed was my baby. I was right. She said, "looks like there is a little heartbeat." Unfortunately, we couldn't see things too well, and she then had to do the ultrasound in a less comfortable manner. It was worth it, though. I got to watch that little flashing heart for a long time, and it was amazing. Spud's heart is, to quote Beck, "coming to you [115] beats per minute!" That's a good rate for his/her age. S/he is about 7mm "tall," and the little "house," the sac, is 2cm.

So, it was dramatic. But, I'm so very thankful that I got to have the early ultrasound; I'd been really eager to take an early look because of never getting to see my little Speck.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spuds Favorite Foods: Part II

The fantastic cookbook that I wrote about in Part I has recipe variations for "feeling green." I would love to say that I've been trying them all and love them, but even cooking grosses me out right now! However, I'm noticing a pretty strong positive correlation between the amount of rest that I get and feeling better. Maybe with my new "one event per day" policy, I'll be rested enough to feel well enough to try cooking some more.

SIDE NOTE: "One Event per Day" is genius. This means, for people who work, that you can only do work each day. For me, it means teaching on Mondays, Babysitting one day, house cleaning one or two days, church on Sunday, social events... seriously limited! This policy may eventually suck my extroverted will to live, but we'll see. God has been so gracious to give me the opportunity to live this simply right now!

Anyway, here are some of Spud's favorite sickie-Mom foods:
  • Brown, whole grain, organic rice cooked in low-sodium V8 and chicken stock
    • good way to sneak in some "vegetables." If I'm up for it, I'll throw in some frozen broccoli or green beans. I even put cooked chicken in for a little protein the other day.
  • Gingerale
    • Sandy gave me the great tip to keep the lid off of it in the fridge so that the tummy-irritating carbonation goes out. Thankfully, I really like flat soda.
  • Frozen waffles
    • Every morning
  • Apples!
    • Don't know why, but I get the major jones for apples... sometimes with peanut butter
  • Yogurt
  • Plain baked chicken
  • Red juice
    • Cranberry, Pomegranate, Berry... you name it. It's red? Oh, I'll drink that.
  • Cheese sticks
  • Key Lime Pie
    • Can't explain it. I had a craving, I guess. It was $5. I consumed a quarter of it in one sitting... kind of made my tummy hurt... DUH!
So, to the vegetable loving me, this list is really sad. Everything is either a shade of beige or brown or pinkish red. OR, in the case of the key lime pie, lime green... thanks, food dye! Gross. Reading ahead in my library of pregnancy books a few weeks ago, I scoffed at the idea of being nauseated or turned off by vegetables. It's true, though! SO SAD! I'm going to try to get a salad down today. I feel like a simple carb-bloated mess. Complex carbs... I want complex carbs! And protein; thankfully, chicken doesn't make me sick.

Of course, I don't think the Spud is suffering nutritionally. I'm taking all my vitamins still: Cod Liver Oil, Iron, Folic Acid, and Calcium. Spud has a busy week! S/he is going to double in size! And, s/he sort of has a face now; it's still pretty weird looking... a face only a mother (and father!) could love ;). S/he's going to have little elbows by the end of the week! I'm so excited to see how s/he turns out!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ah, the Sickness

We had a wild weekend in which Spud attended his/her first concert (Cassius, Don't Come Home... Uncles Mark and Jordan's band... well, Josh Miller is the lead), first wild party (Ferka Gyftaki at Gypsy Manor ala Steve Hardin), and first dinner party (Bryan and Christy Smith's).

This was also the weekend that the sickness kicked in. I can't call it morning sickness because it's more like 24/7 sickness. All my well-laid plans about food have been tossed out the window for the sake of eating whatever doesn't make me want to puke. The new menu will make for an exciting Spud's Favorite Foods: Part II.

I'll also post some fun pictures from the festivities.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Spud's Favorite Foods: Part I

I've always been into nutrition to some extent, mostly a result of being a dancer. Being pregnant is a great time to really start being interested in earnest. (No, not Ernest movies, but those are fine too.)

Thankfully, I kicked my Jack-in-the-Box habit a couple of years ago. Until I got pregnant, I'd maybe go once every 3 months or so (rather than once every 3 days like in the old days). Now, of course, fast food is WAY off the list. The other habit I finally whipped was my Coke consupmtion... Coca-Cola that is. When I was dancing, I'd get to the studio every day and go right for the vending machines to purchase my Cherry Coke and Snickers Bar breakfast to eat while I stretched before class. Crazy. I don't know how I ever gained any strength or endurance. I must've been eating good lunches and dinners. I also have found a way to curb any Coke craving that may come along. Blue Sky Organic Cola Nut Soda. So good. So not bad for me... well, sugar.

So, I've pretty much filled the places of Coke and junk food with whole foods, especially vegetables. I can't get enough of the veggie tray at any party... and I usually bring it, so it will have weird stuff that only I like anyway like mushrooms, radishes, green beans, etc. I'm also a lover of beets and brusselsprouts which have sadly been given a bad rap for so many years. I think they're awesome, and beets have lots of folate, naturally occuring folic acid... critical in pregnancy. According to my wonderful pregnancy cookbook, The Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook by Karen Gurwitz, beets can also help prevent anemia... something I'm dealing with now. Don't eat canned beets! They taste gross, so it's no wonder so many people think they don't like them. On that note, don't eat any canned vegetables... it's just as easy and MUCH better for you to eat fresh veggies.

The other vegetable about which I'll wax rhapsodic: Kale. Another revelation from the magic cookbook, Kale is a wonder vegetable for pregnancy it's full of vitamins C and A and calcium. I don't like milk, so kale is great for me. One serving has as much calcium as half a glass of milk, and the calcium is thought to be in a form more easily absorbed be the body, according to Gurwitz. I put kale in everything now. I was having some frustrating cramping at the start of the pregnancy, and Cindie ( said that increasing my calcium intake could help. I started eating kale everyday and taking a calcium supplement at night, and my cramps are totally gone. Might be a coincidence, but whatever. I'm just glad to feel better.

Here are some ways to incorporate kale into meals:
  • Add to soup, even just canned soup, for lunch
    • I put a handful of kale in the pot during the last 4-5 minutes of heating the soup and put the lid on. This steams the kale into the soup.
  • Saute with eggs for breakfast
    • This is especially good with a little chopped onion and some cherry tomato halves
  • Steam or Saute as a bed for a chicken or beef entree.
    • Brendan did this for me last night as a side for our seared tenderloin with balsamic mushroom sauce
Kale is sort of a pain to prepare initially because you have to wash it thoroughly and devein it. So, I buy a bunch of it, come home, float it in water, rinse it, remove the stems and thick veins, chop into bite size pieces, and store in a large ziplock bag with paper towel. It'll keep well for 2 weeks. Then, it's easy to add to anything.

Kale is not only good for pregnancy, it's good for all women! At 25, a woman's "bone bank" closes. This bank can accept deposits of calcium until age 25, but from then on, it's withdrawals only. It follows that poor calcium intake as a young woman requires increased calcium intake and supplement as an older woman trying to prevent osteoporosis.

The last thing I'll go on about is cottage cheese. It's a great replacement for sour cream. The taste effect is similar, so it's great in soup, on potatoes, in anything that needs sour cream. I even put it in my fajitas the other day, and it was great. It has some protein in addition to, of course, the calcium.

One afternoon a week is Soup Cooking Time. This week, I made curried butternut squash soup (pureed it in the blender and everything... kind of a pain. I need to buy an immersion blender.). It is especially good with cottage cheese.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stupid Layout!

Sorry, the pictures got all screwed up. Woops!

Crafty C. McCrafterson

Now that I have lots of time on my hands (due to quitting of jobs and slowing of others), I'm super excited to start doing more crafty stuff! As I'm sure most can imagine, the majority of my crafts are centered on a certain new, little someone.

Here are some of the ideas I have:
  • A Painting/Lettering Project based on the words from Philippians 4:
    • true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy
    • will be supercute on baby's walls... not to mention instructive
  • A Knit Baby Blanket
    • solid colored: something cheerful and bright like orange or yellow
    • checkered: alternating squares of knit and purl
    • requires purchase of new knitting needles! Mine are all over the city thanks to my teaching so many people to knit three winters ago :)
  • Tye Dyed or Painted (no, NOT puffy paint) Onesies
    • Kind of want to wait on this until I find out if Spud is a boy or a girl
  • Sewing Maternity tops
    • Barbara's letting me have her sewing machine for a while!
  • Knit Hats and Booties
    • Cliche, but easy and fun!

I made this little Spud hat to get warmed up! Of course, then I realized... Baby's due July 7! Oh well, for air conditioning protection... because there is so much air conditioning in Seattle. Yeah.

Another daily craft of sorts is planning my meals. It's like composing an art project. A meal has to have all the right elements to say to my body what I need it to say. Calcium says, "don't cramp." Vitamin C says, "stay well." Iron says, "perk up!" I'll have to do a post one of these days about all my fun new ways of adding great nutrition to each meal. Super fun... and delicious. There's a reason its called culinary... art.

Alright, one last thing...

Spud has a Sporty-Spice Daddy!

Soccer Dad! They were in first place for a while... until last night, actually. Their team was a little short on regular players, so that probably hurt them a bit.

Biker Dad!
w/ cool spandex, warm clothes and a new helmet!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Having a Baby Makes Me Feel Like a Baby

I'm so sensitive! I feel like some delicate thing that could be broken by the slightest inconvenience. That's probably, to some extent, because I'm an American. I'm so paranoid about eating when I need food, what food I eat, taking naps, not overexerting myself, etc. Of course, a lot of that is because I'm nervous because of last time even though I know I didn't lose Speck because I did something wrong. However, I think a lot of my babying of myself is a little over the top.

Does that mean I'm going to start eating McDonald's, staying up until all hours, and dancing like a banshee every chance I get? Even, *gasp*, eating something that was not organically grown? No. (Although, I do like banshee dancing...) I think I'm just ready to be able to relax a little.

Still, though, it really is harder for me to do things these days. I'm dreading the next day and a half because tonight I have to teach ballet for 4 hours, 2 of which are with the 6/7 year olds who are CRAZY, and then I have to get up at the crack of dawn to go babysit for 4 hours tomorrow morning. I'm sure I'll be fine, but I'll be super tired, (hopefully not too) crabby, and a little sick.

Now I understand why people always add "in your/her condition" to what they believe pregnant women should or shouldn't be doing. It really is a condition.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Here We Go Again!

I'm pregnant! I don't think I've ever been so thankful for anything in my whole life! When the test finally pronounced "pregnant," I actually fell to the bathroom floor and with raised hands, hyperventilating lungs, and tearing eyes, I praised God.

We've told almost everyone we know. I had to: I told God over and over again that I would praise him and ask everyone else to do the same when he chose to give us another baby. Not to mention the fact that given what happened last time and the lessons I've learned about prayer as a result, I want everyone to be praying for Spud.

Yes, we're calling it Spud... in utero, at least. The last baby was called Speck because it was just that size. We've committed to an "SP" name for all unborn babies. However, no, we will not being doing matchy-matchy real names for all our kids once they're out here.

I really can't believe that God has given me another little one. The summer was such a roller coaster, and I'm relieved to feel like it's finally coasting to a stop. Of course, I realize that I just stepped onto another one. Who knows how this one will feel. So far, I've made it past hurdle #1. Last pregnancy, I started having bleeding problems 5 days after I found out I was pregnant. That day was yesterday, and I'm feeling fine!!!!

I did just start thyroid support meds today because my thyroid function is low. I also need to pick up an iron supplement. My progesterone looked normal on my blood work, and I'm extremely thankful for that. Last time, the progesterone was looking sort of low. But, we didn't know if that was causal in terms of the miscarriage or just an effect. At any rate, it was fine, so I'm on Cloud 9.

I'm going to try be good about updating now. I know people would like to read about how Spud is doing. When I start looking pregnant, pictures will be fun!

Here is one of me the day I found out about Spud, at the start of week 5: