Friday, February 28, 2014

Still Here: 39 Weeks

Just wanted to reassure everyone that I'm still here, still pregnant. Today marks 39 weeks and I have a midwife appointment this afternoon. I do plan on asking for an internal exam today. While I would love to hear that I'm starting to dilate, I'm not holding out a lot of hope on that. However, from inserting the evening primrose oil every night, I do feel that we will hear that I've begun effacing.

I am planning on asking the midwife to strip my membranes today. The theory is that the release of the amniotic sac from the cervix encourages release of the hormones that stimulate contractions, which would show up within 48 hours. I had that done twice when I was pregnant with Little K and it was not uncomfortable for me. We'll see if she can get in there...

We are wrapping things up here. The house and food is ready. I'm going to the bank on the way to the appointment to deposit the funds for my maternity leave. I purchased our plane tickets to Florida for June this morning. My work is set enough that I can begin my leave RIGHT NOW and they will survive. R has his work on standby and will be taking one week off when Aaron arrives. I have a full tank of gas and my mom is here for 10 more days. COME ON, BABY!

In other news, Little K had a presentation this morning at school that my mom and I were able to attend. All of the second graders were assigned different African American people to research for Black History Month. Little K was assigned Oprah Winfrey and had a great time with her project! And she looks great as a brunette. :-)

I used this tutorial to dye a blonde synthetic wig brunette.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Closer: 38.5 Weeks

My mom is arriving in less than two hours! Woooooooo!!!

This day has been the big countdown around here. Once mom arrives, we can have a baby! I mean, obviously we will have the baby whenever he decides to come, but it is SO much easier to do this while mom is in town. She will be here through the afternoon of March 10th. Come on, Aaron! We are ready to meet you!

I couldn't sleep last night. Well, that's not exactly true. I slept until about 3:30 AM. Then I tossed and turned until 4:00. Then went on Facebook and Tumblr and just screwed around online. Finally got out of bed at 6:00 and took a shower.

Impossibly, Aaron has dropped even lower since yesterday. His bottom is two to three inches lower than usual today. It's so low, in fact, that I'm a little concerned that he has turned sideways. Which would be strange considering that he's been head down since January. Trying not to stress about the possibility too much and instead tell myself that it just means he is making his way into position for birth.

With my insomnia last night came a little burst of energy this morning. I've done everything around the house already the past few weeks, so now I'm focused on work. I got a ton done on several of my big projects yesterday and hope to wrap up another today. That should, fingers crossed, only leave one left. Woohoo!

Counting down the days and praying that Aaron David decides to arrive this week.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Welcome ICLW!

Wow, I haven't been a part of ICLW in ages. Before you read any further, I am currently 38 weeks pregnant after Donor Sperm IUI. I completely understand if you prefer to walk away. Take care of you!

Here we are, in the final weeks. I'm headed to a midwife appointment this morning and am still debating whether to ask for an internal exam. As a rule, this practice doesn't check you until you go over 40 weeks unless you specifically ask for an exam. I know it's early but I would love to hear that I've begun to efface and possibly to have started dilating. That would be a wonderful encouragement!

I've had three contractions this week, all while doing our two mile walk in the afternoon. The first two were on the same day about ten minutes apart. Once we got home and I had a tumbler of water, nothing. The other was on Thursday about 2/3 of the way through our walk; just one and then nothing else. Hoping to start seeing/feeling some signs that things are happening soon.

I've started pumping colostrum in case we need to supplement. After a three days, I'm up to half an ounce and moved it to the freezer. Although it isn't much, I feel really good about my pumping progress! My lactation consultant warned me that colostrum is very hard to express and you don't get much of a yield, so my .5oz makes me feel like a champion pumper! I'll keep at it, pumping one to two times a day until my birthing time. Unfortunately, pumping has NOT caused any contractions. Boooo.

R and Little K are getting excited in their own ways. Ever the (wonderful) husband, R has a minor freak out every time I have a contraction and reminds me that we have to hold off until my mom arrives on Tuesday. Little K still hugs momma's belly each night and kisses her little brother goodnight. I just love it!

As for me, I'm hanging in there. I've managed to come up with an ear infection over the past few days and am hoping that my midwife can write me a prescription to deal with that before it gets worse. My body is holding up well with no more than the standard end of pregnancy aches and pains. I'm sleeping okay and have a good appetite. Been off dairy for a week now and only miss it when I see the billboard for Shamrock Shakes. *sigh* Next year.

Overall, things are looking great. I'll try to update after the doctor today.

In the mean time, what is your favorite seasonal treat?

Obviously, mine is that beautiful mint green dairy bomb...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Non-Dairy Lemon Curd

I had a bag of Meyer lemons about to go bad over here and that would just be a crime. Originally I had planned to make Smitten Kitchen's Whole Lemon Tart, which I adore, but I waited too long and neither the filling nor the crust are dairy free. *sigh* What is a girl to do? I mean, when life gives you lemons...

You make lemon curd, obviously. The curd I usually make has butter in it and, although I have vegan butter substitute, I didn't feel like making the change. Instead, I took to Google and found this amazing, wonderful, delicious, silky Non-Dairy Lemon Curd which completely blew my mind. I love it more than any other lemon curd I've ever had. Not sure if that's because of the lack of dairy or the Meyer lemons or both. Ah, sweet mysteries of life.

Always, always, always make this. And then an angel food cake. And then slice up some strawberries. So that you can put sliced strawberries on your cake and drizzle lemon curd over all. And then put it in your mouth and thank me.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ready: 37.5 Weeks

Hospital Bags are packed. House is set up. Nursery is done. Thirteen meals in the freezer. Lactation bars are cooling on the counter. Gone dairy free. We have two and a half weeks until Aaron's due date but I'm ready. I'm ready for him to come. I'm ready to meet him.

I'm also ready to not be pregnant. My torso feels fine but my poor hips and feet are so sore. It takes so much effort to take a single step today because my feet are just so terribly sore. I know this is (most likely) my last pregnancy and I have been conscious to not wish it away. I know how lucky I am to be pregnant in the first place and to have such easy pregnancies.

I remember getting to this point with Little K, too. My feet finally gave out on me two weeks before she was born. With her, it was the marathon Christmas cookie baking in the apartment without shoes on. This time, I tried so hard to be smart about it! I wore very supportive shoes, I was only on my feet in the kitchen for about three hours total. But still. I hurt today.

One week until my mom gets here and then, hopefully, only a few days until this little man enters our life and changes everything forever.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Etsy Day: Maternity and Birth

One last(?) hurrah for Etsy Day before Aaron arrives: Maternity and Birth! Here are just a few things that caught my eye. Too bad I didn't think of this sooner!

maternity shirt

Full Term

Birthing Dress

Birthing Robe

gray floral robe

Maternity Robe


Okay, I really do need this:

Babywearing Coat

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snowmageddon, Day 3: 37 Weeks

The midwife office is closed due to the weather, so no 37 week check up for me. The roads are super icy but, with sun and temps over 32* beginning at 9:00 AM this morning, we should be able to get out soon.

No real contractions over here, thank goodness! I have felt some shocks on my cervix several times a day for the past couple of weeks, so things are slowly starting to happen. Tonight starts evening primrose oil and daily pumping. I'm continuing to spend 1-2 hours on my hands and knees at the end of each day turning him. He always turns during that time and then always turns back to posterior once I get up. *sigh* Stubborn little guy.

We're almost ready over here. Just waiting on my super sexy Amazon order to be delivered, which was delayed due to the weather. My mom is arriving the morning of February 25th: once she's here, we are ready to rock.

Little K had a meltdown yesterday afternoon, which was really tough on her. And on me. The end was the worst, when she said that, with Aaron being born soon, she has to get used to being alone. Heartbroken. We spent a long time talking about Aaron's arrival, my intention to still do things one-on-one with her, my desire to make sure she still felt special and noticed, and my need for her to tell me if she's feeling ignored or lonely so that I can help. She has a counseling appointment tomorrow morning and I'll most likely bring this up with the doctor. I'm so thankful that my mom will be here to help Little K through this time. We finished up the day with a long bath and cuddling on the couch watching a movie together.

I hope that everyone has a safe Valentines Day. Stay off the roads if you can!

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowmageddon, Day 2

Well, we survived day 1 of Snowmageddon! We got about 6 inches of snow which was then covered and slightly melted by freezing rain. Looking out the windows this morning, the road, driveway, and our little stream are thick sheets of gray ice. We are expecting more snow this afternoon. No thank you! Luckily, tomorrow is forecasting sunshine. Yay!

We lost power six times last night. How do I know? Because our super smart refrigerator has a little alarm that goes off every time the power would come back on. I got up for the first two and R handled the rest. Neither of us got a whole lot of sleep with all the beeping. The last outage lasted 35 minutes around 4:30 AM. I'll admit I started to get worried at that point and was SO thankful when it came back on! I realize we were very lucky to wake up to heat and internet this morning.

Happy to report that I'm still gestating over here. R and I are both very thankful that Aaron has decided to stay in during this storm! I did skip my nightly pumping last night, just in case. I think I may be having some Braxon Hicks contractions. Not because I feel anything but because my abdomen gets very hard several times a day. I keep spending 1 to 2 hours every evening on my hands and knees, trying to get our little guy to turn. We'll see at my appointment tomorrow if it's making any difference, providing that the roads are safe.

Today will be spent working from home, as always, and enjoying some extra time with Little K before Aaron comes. She and I have a special day planned on Saturday! It starts with counseling in the morning, lunch at our favorite restaurant, a matinee at the theater downtown - LES MISERABLES has come to town!!!, then Build-A-Bear and home. Yay!!! I'm so thankful to be able to shower her with one on one attention so soon before Aaron is born. I'm hoping this time together becomes a special memory for her.

Hope everyone else is surviving Snowmageddon!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (Bump Pic Warning)

Little K is getting her mini braces on this morning. Prayers are appreciated!

Little K and Roger for the Father-Daughter Dance

Almost done! Just have some art to hang.

Finished quilt and crib skirt!

Blurry 36 Week Bump

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I'm So Hot: Postpartum Care

Just placed the least sexy Amazon order ever: Depends (in two absorbancy levels), giant postpartum pads, and disposable waterproof mats, like the kind you put out for puppies. I'm so hot, it's disgusting.

The good news is, I also ordered the essential oils I need to combine with witch hazel to make my own bottom spray and homemade tucks. Oh yeah, you love it. *sigh* I remember pregnancy feeling much more glamorous the first time around... Ah, the joy of naivety.

Natural Postpartum Recovery: Soothing Compresses

Natural Postpartum Recovery: Perineum Spray

Postpartum Blues-Banishing Air Freshener

Homemade Natural Postpartum Care Kit


New Baby Links

I had an "Ah-Ha Moment" this morning: I remember very little of the first day after Little K was born. Not to say I don't have any memories of that time. It's just awash with family visitors and the time I woke up to her crying in the middle of the night and not being able to find my glasses in a dark, unfamiliar room.

Anyway, I thought it would be smart to read up on those first 24 hours. I know my experience will, hopefully, be different than these mothers since I'll be home instead of at a hospital. But still, it seems like a good idea to be prepared.

Below are links to the articles I've read. If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them!

There Will Be Blood (aka Postpartum Recovery)

The First Week After The Birth

The First 48 Hours After Birth

Your Post-Delivery Body: What Happens in the First 24 Hours After Giving Birth

What no one tells you about after the birth

The 24 Hours After Giving Birth

How you'll feel in the first 24 hours of being a mum

First 24 hours at home with your baby

Friday, February 7, 2014

36 Weeks

We are officially 4 weeks from Aaron's due date and I'm feeling pretty brain dead over here. Please forgive the need for bullets:

  • Lactation Consultant: Met with LC, got a lot of great answers and we have a plan for how to deal with delayed lactation if it becomes a problem again
  • Related: Ordered a small amount of hypoallergenic formula in case we need to supplement again. I feel much better having this on hand than having supplementing come as a surprise as it did with Little K.
  • Midwife Appointment: Confirmed that Aaron is head down (YAY!) and posterior (BOO!!!). Been working a minimum of 2 hours a day to turn him and seeing results. Praying he turns anterior and stays that way!
  • Related: Ordered Evening Primrose Oil and a lactation supplement. Will begin taking both at 37 weeks.
  • Placenta Encapsulation: Completed all paperwork for placenta encapsulation. Very excited about this possible PPD prevention!
  • Work: Still have a TON to get done. Confirmed maternity leave with employer and notified my clients.
  • Non-Dairy: So far, so good. Still planning on one last splurge with a cheese plate and chocolate on Valentine's Day.
  • Related: Created an amazing non-dairy smoothie that tastes like a pina colada yet is very low in fat. SO HAPPY!
  • HypnoBabies: Completed Week 5 and am beginning maintenance routine. Feeling very confident about birth. Still need to write Week 3-5 Review.
  • Redeeming Childbirth: Loving this book! Over halfway through and taken a ton of notes. So thankful for a Christian birthing resource!
  • Baby Gear: Placed final order for all of the baby things ever OMG. Relieved they are on the way. Not looking forward to seeing the bill. UGH. Should be fine.
  • Counseling: Had a great appointment with the new counselor. Little K really likes her. We are going in weekly for now and will probably switch to 2/month in March.
  • Orthodontist: We have completed Phase 1 of Little K's orthodontia and are moving on to Phase 2 - Mini Braces. Getting those on Wednesday next week. Praying for my girl. She is excited right now, thankfully.

I will say this as a narrative: I'm feeling really good physically. Aaron is really low and I'm able to breathe easily. My appetite is fine. Walking feels good. I was waddling a bit last week but that seems to have gone away. My digestive track is a little off, which is expected this late in the game. Sleeping better now than I was in January.

I'm SO excited to meet our little man!

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's the Final Countdown!

Anyone else picturing Gob Bluth dancing right now?

Since learning Aaron's due date of March 7th, I've had a feeling he will be born on March 1st. Which is just 25 days away! WHOA!

We are feeling surprisingly ready over here. Sure, I still have two major work projects to get done before then, but the basics are done. We have the funds set aside for my maternity leave. There's a mini crib and changing table set up in the master bedroom. Breastfeeding pillow and nursing pads. Newborn size diapers and wipes. Newborn size clothes have been washed and put away. Appointment with the lactation consultant is tomorrow morning. Car seat installed. Really, there's not too much else to be done.

Not to say that there is nothing left to do. Still on the to-do list are finish Hypnobabies and Redeeming Childbirth. Also, prep Little K a little more on what to expect at the birth center and those first couple of weeks. And, of course, those two big work projects.

I've planned four non-dairy freezer meal, which I still need to make, and need to plan/make at least six more. Have to sell our guest bedroom mattress and box spring, which is a shame because it is wonderfully comfortable. Considering whether to purchase a can of non-dairy formula, just in case. Oh, and pack my bag for the birth center.

We have a ton of medical appointments this week, including a counseling appointment for Little K this afternoon. Would sure appreciate your prayers on that one!

My mom should be arriving in 21 days and, hopefully, Aaron will show up shortly after that. I can't believe we're here already!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vegan Cream of Anything Soup and Three Recipes

I wanted to share with you the recipe I used to make my non-dairy Cream of Chicken and Cream of Celery soup bases.

The recipe comes from The Southern Organic Mommy. As I'm not trying for vegan with this endeavor, I skipped the ck'n bullion and just used boxed chicken stock for the Cream of Chicken soup base. I used boxed vegetable stock for the Cream of Celery. Both batches turned out rather mild in flavor but, since the add-in's for the casseroles I'm making carry the majority of the punch in the final dish, I'm okay with the final product.

I will be using these as the sauce base for three dishes:

Mom's Chicken Curry Casserole
Serves 4
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup or 10oz Non-Dairy Cream of Chicken Soup Base
  • 2 to 3 tsp Curry Powder*
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup Light Mayonaise or Veganaise
  • Salt to taste
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1 pound Chicken Breast, cubed
  • 1 can green beans, drained, or 1 bag frozen green beans
  • Cheddar Cheese, shredded (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Season chicken breast with garlic powder and brown in pan with EVOO. As chicken is browning, mix together first six ingredients (Cream of Chicken through Salt). Take a moment to taste your sauce and add more curry or lemon juice as needed.

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray and layer in this order: chicken, green beans, sauce, cheese, if using. Bake covered for 30 minutes. If you are using cheese, remove cover in last 10 minutes to get a toasty-top.

Serve over white or brown rice. Topping options include soy sauce, coconut, raisins, pineapple... Take your pick!

You can put it all together in an aluminum pan and freeze it prior to the baking step. Pull it out of the freezer the night before you want to serve and let it thaw in the fridge. Pop it in at 350 once thawed and enjoy!

*A note on the curry: I use three different curry powders - McCormick Curry Powder, Archer Farms Maharajah Curry, and Medium Yellow Curry. Although I grew up using the straight McCormick, R prefers a more complex flavor.

Grandma Pat's Healthy Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4
  • 1 can Cream of Celery or 10oz Non-Dairy Cream of Celery Base
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can sweet peas, drained, or 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained, or 1 cup frozen corn
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cheddar cheese, optional
  • Lighter Mashed Potatoes (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350. Sweat onion and celery in a large pot with EVOO and a pinch of salt. Once the onion becomes translucent, add ground turkey with a little more salt and brown. Once turkey is cooked through, dump in peas, corn, cream of celery and mix thoroughly. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray and pour it all in. Cover with mashed potatoes and top with cheese, if using. Bake covered for 30 minutes. If using cheese, uncover in last 10 minutes of cooking time.

You can put it all together in an aluminum pan and freeze it prior to the baking step. Pull it out of the freezer the night before you want to serve and let it thaw in the fridge. Pop it in at 350 once thawed and enjoy!

Lighter Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 medium white potato with skin, washed and cubed
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • Butter or vegan substitute
  • Milk or vegan substitute
  • Special equipment: food processor and Ziplock Steamer Bag

Place raw cubed potato in sauce pot with water to cover and a heavy pinch of salt. Let come to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While potato is cooking, roughly chop cauliflower and send it for a spin in your food processor. Then place cauliflower in steamer bag and microwave for 3-6 minutes.

While cauliflower is steaming, put cannelini beans in food processor (with or without liquid) and process until smooth. Set aside.

Once potato is done cooking, drain and return to sauce pot. Mash the potato with 2 T butter. Add steamed cauliflower, cannelini beans, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Add milk as needed for texture and salt/pepper to taste.

The texture of the final product isn't perfect on it's own but it GREAT as a casserole topper!

Chicken and Rice
Serves 4

I can't remember where I found this recipe online but it has quickly become a favorite for R and I! Note that it takes a LONG time to cook. Definitely a weekend dinner. I've tried it a few times in the crockpot but haven't gotten it right yet.
  • 1 can Cream of Celery or 10oz Non-Dairy Cream of Celery Base
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 package Italian Herb Dressing Mix
  • 1 pound chicken breast cubed
  • Garlic powder
  • Cheddar cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 300. Combine cream of celery, water, brown rice, and dressing mix in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray and dump in the rice mixture. Bake, covered, for at least 4 hours. Take a nibble at 4 hours and see if the rice is tender yet. If not, give it another hour in the oven.

While rice is cooking, season chicken breast with garlic powder and brown in EVOO.

Once rice dish is tender, remove from oven and set oven for 350. Spread browned chicken over rice, top with cheese (if using), cover, and return to oven for an additional 30 minutes. If you like a crunchy top, remove cover in last 10 minutes of cooking time.

Serve with a lightly dressed salad.

I would expect that, fully cooked, this would freeze well but we've never had leftovers!