Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The CPJE: 27 Weeks

Here we are, the end of the second trimester is quickly approaching!

Baby Dojo has developed two types of movement: kicking/punching/twitching and summersaulting/pushing through my belly button. All of which are visible. The kicking/punching/twitching is nothing new, just getting ever so frequent and is visible through my clothing. In fact, he is punching/kicking/twitching so hard that it makes my hand jump if I'm holding my belly.

The summersaulting, however, is enough to make me stop in my tracks. I dont know exactly what he is doing, but he moves around in such a way that I sometimes get motion sickness just sitting still. When this feeling comes on, I know that if I look down I'll have Quasi Moto belly where a great part of him is sticking out in a weird way. And if I watch long enough, that lump will visibly move across my skin. It feels as though he's trying to push through the front/side of my belly. This week, he's riding low and heavy and I feel like I need to walk around holding my belly up. Oh the waddle.

And sleep? What's that? I'm getting weird back pain and just can't get comfortable. I toss and turn like a rotisserie chicken during the night, and am still waking up at 3-4 a.m. I have to stop several times a day and, bending at the waist, rest my arms and head on the counter or the bed or the back of the couch so that I can stretch my back. If I decide to get pregnant again, I think I should become a weight trainer so that I am strong enough to handle this ball on my belly. I'm not used to being this weak (no jokes, please). I really think I've had trouble gaining weight (according to the scales) because I'm actually losing all of my muscles. I'm going to be spaghetti limbs here in a little while, I swear.

Since strawberries have been on sale the last two weeks, I've probably eaten my weight in them. And grapes. And chicken salad. And potato chips with onion dip. And I discovered Sprout's Oat Bran bread - holy mama that stuff is goooood. I just wish they accepted WIC, because I'd do nearly all of my shopping there now. As it is, I have to go to three stores every week (Sprouts for their fruit, and now bread; the commissary for paper goods, OJ, and WIC stuff; and Trader Joe's for everything else! When did this get so complicated?!) But I digress...

Of course, I failed the 3-week-early glucose test and had to take the 3-hour test. Which meant I had to fast for 12 hours, go to the hospital, get my base blood drawn, then drink down a thick red goo and wait an hour. Get blood drawn again, wait an hour, draw blood, wait an hour, and draw blood a fourth time - all without eating. When all was said and done, it was 15 hours without food. I was light headed, nauseated and uncomfortable the whole time. I got through until about 10 minutes before my last blood draw and then had to run to the bathroom to get sick. I was terrified they'd make me reschedule and do it all over again, but since I was so close to the last draw they let me go ahead and finish it. Fingers crossed that I don't fail this one!

Overall, though, I'm feeling good and staying positive and trying to enjoy it all. I spend a lot of time every day just staring at my belly and watching Dojo move around. He's more active this week than he has been ever before.

The cabinetry in the guest room is almost done. I bought storage baskets for my crafts. Which means I am "that much" closer to start work in the nursery! It's going to be a busy weekend. Woot! And hubbs passed his weigh-in (with a few pounds to spare) so he is on top of the world and excited for the future!

The Crappiest Pregnancy Journal Ever: The First 26 Weeks in a Nutshell

I think about writing a lot, really I do. But that's usually at 4 a.m. when I've woken up uncomfortable and am trying desperately to go back to sleep. So here it is, the first installation of this mama's baby cookin' adventure - only about two-thirds of the way through....sigh...

A Recap:

As ya'll probably know, we were being treated for "unknown infertility" for a couple of years before we were given the opportunity to have an IUI. After a few weeks of hormones and drugs and hormones and belly injections and hormones and drugs, we had our first IUI (more on that weird experience later).

4/5 Weeks: We were extatic, relieved, surprised and bumbled to discover that the very first attempt was successful! We were in the shoe department at the NEX looking for sandals when the doctor called to confirm our positive pregnancy test result. I bawled right there next to the Nikes. He scheduled for us to have an ultrasound the following Monday to make sure it was a viable pregnancy, and so it was.

The following weekend, we broke the news to our immediate family. (more about that later, too)

6 Weeks: Oh, hello nausea. I was not looking forward to meeting you. Honestly, weeks 6-9 are pretty much a blur. I was so nauseous - but thankfully not throwing up - that all I could do was lay on the couch and whine. I began removing almost everything from my diet: sauces (which meant no pasta!), salsas (no Mexican food!), spices, tomatoes, bananas. Everything made my stomach upset. I felt like I had drank too much, and was hanging my head thinking "If only I could throw up, I'd feel so much better..." but knowing that throwing up would not make the nausea go away.

9 Weeks: I discovered Sea Bands. I don't know why I waited so long to buy them. We were travelling two hours to Long Beach for Mama Chela's 90th birthday and I just couldn't be sick. A few days before hand, I bought the bands and for the first time felt like I could get off the couch! I didn't feel great, but at least I could leave the house.

We made it through the party, and made our announcement to Mama Chela and my husband's father's side of the family who were in attendance. I spent nearly all night under the heater (it was an outdoor party) but was thankful that there was plenty of plain beans and rice and tortilla chips to eat :)

During this time, just about all I could eat was plain bean and cheese burritos. And cereal. And ginger ale.

Still pretty nauseous!
11 Weeks: Lots of my family and hubb's parents came for Christmas. We had a house full, but decided to host a pajama party for Christmas dinner, so it was nice and comfy :) It was probably one of the best Christmases I've ever had, and everyone else seemed to think so, too.

Around this time, we prepared our announcements and included them in our Christmas cards. Just after Christmas we posted our announcement photo online. I supposed I started to show a little bit, a very little bit. Really, I just looked (and felt) like I had overeaten.

Starting to feel better!
13-15 Weeks: I really started to feel better. The nausea was waning and my appetite started to slowly come back. I started back to school and had quite a bit to keep myself busy.

16 Weeks: My first trip to the hospital, my first ride in a hospital bed and wheelchair, my first MRI, and some ultrasounds. (more about that later) The baby was flippin around and doing great, and we got an adorable ultrasound picture of our little thumbsucker!

17 Weeks: I felt baby move for the first time! It was just a flutter, but once I recognized it, I felt it all the time. Such a weird, exhilarating feeling.
Baby's moving!

18 Weeks: Hubbs felt baby move for the first time! I read somewheres on the interwebs that if I could feel the baby move, chances are he could, too. So every night I made him hold his hand on my belly while we watched TV until he could feel it. I admit, his reaction was a little less than I had hoped for: he looked at me in utter surprise and excitement for just a brief moment, then was distracted by the ending of the episode of Dexter he was watching. Turd.

At the end of the week, I had my first cystoscopy to follow up on the bladder abnormality they found during my trip to the hospital two weeks prior. Bladder mass was confirmed, and stumped the doctors, so I was put on hold for a few days until they could decide what to do.

19-20 Weeks: By this time, I was feeling GREAT. I woke up feeling wonderful every day. I was excited to dress my little belly and get out of the house. My appetite was coming back and I was able to eat some of the foods I had given up earlier on. The doctors decided that the unknown mass in my bladder could be quite a problem and it had to go as soon as possible. They scheduled me for surgery.

While we patiently waited for the impending surgery (and I thought hubbs would go all-gray), we had an ultrasound to find out the sex of our little one. We swore every day that it didn't matter either way. Knowing all of the trouble we had gone through to get pregnant in the first place, we were just happy to be having a little one at all. But... as soon as the tech let out that three letter word, b-o-y, hubbs let out a viking growl unlike any I had heard before. I got a great laugh out of his reaction, and just teared up a tiny little bit.

We met with our midwife a few days later and she told us baby boy was in the 49th percentile and looked perfectly healthy!

21 Weeks: Surgery. It knocked me off my feet more than I expected, to be honest. The spinal anesthesia, I was told, was stronger than an epidural but not quite as strong as what you'd get for a C-section. It was such a weird feeling not being able to walk. Or pee. Overall, it went well and we were able to go home that afternoon. I slept it off for a couple of days and felt generally fine, but it really set me back a couple of weeks. I had been feeling SO good before the surgery, but really had to take it easy afterward and didnt do much outside of the house or school. I had a few crappy days followed by a few good days, then a week of "Whoa, I'm not all better yet" days. Baby was safe and happy and moving as he should, so that's what really mattered.

23 Weeks: Biopsy results came back as "low malignant potential", which means I do not have cancer now, but I need to go back after the baby is born to have it looked at again. Additionally, I ate a whole pan of brownies in two days. I even took it in the car with me so I could eat while driving... Naps don't seem as necessary as they used to, but I still like them :)

25 Weeks: Um, where'd this belly come from?! It popped out overnight, I swear! One day I was just a little bloated and then suddenly there was a baby bump. And it moves. That's the weird part! Seeing a lump in my belly where his bum is poking out is quite the experience.

We toured the birthing center this week and really like it. Now we just have to cross all fingers and toes and hope that our insurance will allow us to go. I met with an OB/GYN doctor as she was curious to do a check-up after my surgery (I'd never seen this woman before, only the midwives). She was a little patronizing (she kept calling me "kiddo") and tried to explain to me that water births aren't safe because they're not sanitary and lead to infections, "you know, like when you get a pedicure."    ...Right. Because the rise of infectious pedicure deaths is a big concern these days...  She made me get a vaccination (which I don't like to do) and take the glucose test 3 weeks early. I wasn't prepared to take it that, I had Jack-in-the-Box on the way to the hopsital for gawds sake. Ugh. I felt like I was being held hostage by the hospital and our insurance. It was not a great day, so please send us good juju so that we can be allowed to go to the birthing center!

26 Weeks: I got a semi-surprise trip from the girls (I expected one, but the second was a surprise!). We had a great girls weekend, complete with mani-pedis, The Melting Pot, and lots and lots of baby shopping :) Baby Dojo has quite the monster wardrobe now! He's moving so much, and poking out in weird places. I'm waddling a lot, too. Oh, and sleeping has become quite difficult. I am waking up at about 3-4 am and lying in bed for hours until I can fall asleep again.

Which brings us to the present: And that's a wrap!

Let's do this again real soon, okay? ;)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Homemade Yogurt

I had three different things to tell you about that would lead to why I decided to make yogurt. But they all failed to illustrate my brain properly. So I'm just going to tell you that I decided to make yogurt. There. Done.

I found several recipes for homemade yogurt and mashed a few of them together, but you can read them individually here and here. The ingredients are the same, the processes vary only slightly, and while the idea of using my crock pot was intriguing, as suggested somewhere else,  I decided to skip that process altogether for the first try.

What you'll need: 

  • A large pot with a lid and spoon or spatula
  • Milk
  • Yogurt starter (a couple of tablespoons of store-bought yogurt is fine)
  • Honey (optional)
  • Thermometer
  • A couple of towels
  • A warm oven or a heating pad
  • Sink and cold water
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filters and a bowl for straining (optional)
  • Jars for storing

I heated the milk (about a quarter of a gallon of organic milk) directly on the stove, stirring gently and constantly until it reached ~185 degrees F. I stirred in a few glops of honey (I didn't measure). Then I plopped the pot into a water bath in my kitchen sink. Note: My sink has only a three inch divider in it, so I had to use a wash tub with cold water for this step. If you have a "normal" sink, you should be able just to plug it and fill it 1/3-1/2 of the way with cold water. You don't want it too full or your pot may float and tip over.

When the milk had cooled to ~115 degrees F, I put in the yogurt starter (a few tablespoons leftover from Trader Joe's Greek Honey yogurt). When that was all mixed in, I covered the pot, set it on a heating pad on medium heat (on top of a wooden cutting board) and wrapped it up in towels.

And then I waited....and waited... and waited. 7 hours.

When I shimmied the pot, it still looked like liquid. I removed the lid and poked it with my spatula.. Yup, liquid. After a frantic Googling to find out why my yogurt hadn't set, I figured it was one of two things: 1. Because my heating pad has an auto shut-off feature, it could have been incubated too inconsistently  2. Medium heat could have been too warm.

Uncle Google suggested that I should add a bit more starter and let sit for another 8 hours. I heated the oven to 170 degrees (the lowest setting on my digital oven), then turned it off. I had to take out the top rack to fit the pot in, but did so wrapped with towels. I left the light on, as suggested in many other blogs to help keep the oven warm, and left it over night.

When I woke up the next morning, the yogurt was set and smelled divine! I gave it a good stir and divided it between three mason jars. I covered them tightly and put them in the back of my frig (the coldest area). After a couple of days, I finally got around to straining it a bit to achieve a thicker "Greek" consistency. Note: Save the whey that you drain from your yogurt! You can use it in place of water in many recipes, like pancakes, muffins, and this whey bread!

You'll end up with less yogurt than you started with, after you drain out the whey, but it will be thick and creamy. If you prefer regular, non-Greek style yogurt then you can skip this step altogether and just eat away!

Serve with some (more) honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you're in for a treat. Just don't eat it ALL! You'll need to save a couple of tablespoons to use as starter for your next batch. Once you get the hang of this, you'll never need to buy yogurt again! The best part is, you control the ingredients. You can use organic or not, whole milk, low fat milk, honey, spices, fruit - the options are endless. You can also put a few tablespoons of your favorite fruit butter or preserve on the bottom of the jar for a "fruit-on-the-bottom" effect. Go wild and enjoy!