May 17, 2012

Maternity Journal: The First Trimester (Part 2)

Now that I am safely into the second trimester, I am happy to reflect back on those first 13 weeks.  We found out very early on, both because I had a premonition the day I'm pretty sure it happened and was henceforth paying extra attention to my body.  And something was up.  Because I could just "tell" something was up, exactly 4 weeks after my LMP (last menstrual period, and pardon my TMI), we took the test and, sure enough, a plus sign!

So elation ensued!  And uncertainty and a little hysteria, but mostly elation and happy disbelief in the miracle of life.

Those first few weeks it was SO hard not to tell anyone.  But that didn't stop us because we are terrible secret keepers.  We ended up telling some friends, family and co-workers, because we couldn't keep this giant news to ourselves! 

But there were lots of implications job-wise and social-life-wise as well, which made us "have" to tell some folks.  Like was I still going to travel to Africa for work (another topic for another day)?  Like how was I going to try to pretend like I was still drinking?  (We generated some creative ways, but never used them because I am a terrible liar and faker, and I ended up just ordering water, which was a dead-giveaway for some).

It wasn't like we were shouting it from the rooftops, though, as for me it felt like I ended up telling people as an excuse.  Like why wasn't I drinking?  Why can't I go to Africa?  For me, I spent the first few times telling people using it as an apology of sorts, and trying to hide it, and ending up feeling a bit sheepish when I finally admitted it.

Everyone we told was elated, but I still felt guilty somewhat because this thing that was happening to me was causing others inconvenience or changing plans or pause.  I didn't realize how this effected me until I cried one day (big surprise), and it evolved into me feeling weird, detached and kind of sad about being pregnant.  Ry pointed out that I'd been living with this pregnancy as an apology, and with negative feelings, and that I needed to start thinking positively about it.  That realization was everything.

From then on, my perspective and my mood changed.  I relished moments when I got to tell people, and made a conscious effort to make sure I was announcing it and not apologizing for it.  We still waited to get out of the woods miscarriage-wise and tried to wait the standard 12 - 14 weeks for it to become public knowledge, which was tough.  That's why I didn't blog much - because how do I write about other things when there is literally only one thing on my mind?  And because I was tired, and kind of pukey.

I think the best thing that came out of that low point was Ry and I developed a nightly routine where we take 5 minutes, both put our hands on my belly, and talk to our baby.  Sending it positive thoughts, and building a connection.  Reiki for babies.

May 16, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

I love me some chicken pot pie.  But it has to be homemade...by me.  I guess I would try someone else's, but I've been skeptical about all other chicken pot pies.  I used to want to vomit at the idea of peas, carrots and cream of chicken soup in a tiny aluminum pie tin that you cook from a frozen state.  It was right up there with water chestnuts as "foods I hate."  I have no idea, then, why I took the leap to making my own chicken pot pie with the Joy of Cooking recipe.

But I'm sure glad I did. 

It's great comfort food.  It's great for tons of leftovers.  It's one of those dishes that's great for a rainy or cold Sunday of long cooking.  However, this Monday, I discovered it could be done on a weeknight...after working 1/2 hour later...and doing 'major marketing'.  *See below for tangent.

Usually when I make it, I roast a whole chicken (instead of poaching it, like Joy tells me to).  So, that's an hour at least right there.  But on Monday, I bought one of my new favorite tricks-of-the-trade, a rotisserie chicken.  Not just any rotisserie chicken - a rotisserie chicken that was reduced to sell, so it was only $3.00.  That's right, folks, the Manager Special saved me time AND money.

So then I went home, shredded the chicken, cut the veggies, made 'creamed chicken', sauteed said vegetables, combined, made biscuits (also Joy of Cooking recipe) and layered them on top.  We are still eating the leftovers for lunch today.

Some other substitutions I made to the recipe (which you can find in the Joy on page 103):
  • I added asparagus and rehydrated porcini mushrooms.
  • I used mostly milk and some light cream.
  • I went with the Basic Rolled biscuit recipe, and while I usually substitute some of the white flour for wheat, I went all white this time because I knew it would taste better.  No offense, wheat flour, but as healthy as you are, you're just not the same.  I also reduced the amount of baking powder to 1/2 tbl.
  • One time I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make the biscuits.  Extra love.
Sorry, no pictures. But here is a link to a blog called The Joy of The Joy of Cooking, which has a lovely post about this exact recipe, with lovely pictures.

***

*"Major Marketing" is the term my mother gave to epic grocery store trips.  Where you had literally nothing but mayonnaise in the fridge, and you knew it was going to be a full cart or two, and three digits on the bill before you left the store.  It was my favorite kind of grocery store trip.  A clean slate.  Lots of new stuff.  And because we already knew that a lot of money was going to be spent, it was a chance to get a few treats out of it.


Another benefit of going to the market with mom, whether it was major marketing or not, was we got to eat one packet of "fun fruits," our term for those gummy fruit snacks that come in shapes like sharks, or my personal favorite, deer terds.  We got to eat one IN. THE. STORE.  Such rebels, we were.  That one packet was in addition to our "one packet per day" rule, so we got to double our sugar intake if we went marketing with her.

May 8, 2012

Maternity Journal: The First Trimester Part 1

Now that I'm out of the first trimester, it's fun to look back and laugh at all the things that were happening to my body.  None of them were very funny at the time.  Although I do think Ry wanted to laugh, but he knew better.  We kept a few lists.

Things that Made Me Cry (and wow, did I cry!)

  • the concept of bridesmaids
  • Taco scratching me, and I got sad and wanted to give him up for adoption
  • My child not liking me...
  • ...and vise versa
  • Money
  • Needing a new car
  • Morgan Freeman at the Oscars
  • Forrest Gump (when they showed part of it during a montage at the Oscars)
  • the Prince of Monaco talking about the 30th anniversary of his mother, Grace Kelly's, death (again, at the Oscars - that was a rough night)
  • the Top Chef Finale
  • finding a piece of paper from 2009 when Ry and I were courting and he used to keep tally of all my sneezes
  • because "Taco doesn't have any friends"
  • Ry teaching our kid to fish
  • Ry being a dad
  • My dad being a grandfather
  • Ry and I being a co-leading team forever (ok, those last three, you'd have to be made of stone not to cry)
  • the song Starlight by Muse (I think I want it on some sort of Birthing Mix)
  • well, lots of songs really
Those were the only ones we wrote down, but believe you me, there were lots of others.  I am so glad Ry had the foresight to right those all down, in the moment, as I was crying in the corner...

May 5, 2012

Garden 2012

This year is the third year we'll be living in this house.  It's also our third anniversary of us as a couple.  And it's the third year of our garden.

Vermont has had a great Spring for gardening, especially compared to last year.  Warm weather early, enough rain, but not too much, some sunny days.  In this series of pictures, it's late March.  We kept notes from last year, and on the exact same weekend, there was a foot of snow.  The mud pit didn't leave our garden until June!  This year we were able to work the tiller through the soil like it was a hot knife through butter.

This first weekend of gardening was perfect.  The soil, the weather, the tiller were all cooperating.  We spread a yard of compost.  And it was the first year we didn't have to dig up sod - ugh.  We put up trellises, and we planted 200 peas - so we can make baby food!  And tons of carrots and beets.  

Best of all, though, we worked together flawlessly.  It was as if we, just like the soil, needed 2 years of practice and love and trial and error to figure out how best to grow vegetables together. 

* * *

These first two are from our first year gardening.  You can see how much sod we needed to move.  Who needs a tiller when you have muscles and a hazel hoe? 


Notice Ry's long hair.

That was then, this is now...well, this is after the Spring thaw.





I even dug up some potatoes and parsnips - what a delicious and gratifying surprise.

We didn't harvest any potatoes last year - we assumed they all died, but apparently not.
Parsnips! Potatoes! Garden Kitty!

Proud.





Tilling, and garlic.


Spreading compost.


8 weeks pregnant!





Garlic.  It's our first time.

Peas, for our little sweet pea.





Taco, Garden Kitty.

Then, on Sunday, we built a raised bed out of 100% repurposed materials - an old bookcase, burlap coffee sacks, barn boards and windows!  Equally as gratifying to do such a project and not need to buy anything.
My handyman.

May 3, 2012

Announcement!

We can't hide it anymore - we're having a baby!


This is our ultrasound from 6 1/2 weeks. The big dark area is the uterus, and the tiny little doo-hickey is the yolk sac.

We've kept this secret from friends, family and the social media world for so long. That was one of the toughest things we've done - a blog post in itself.  But we're now 16 weeks along, my belly is slightly bigger (but is that baby or my organs being pushed up?).

Today I got to see it MOVE in an ultrasound.  It was an absolute miracle that I did not expect to be as powerful as it was.  He (or she) was flipping all around, fluttering this way and that, and flailing about.  I could not believe all that movement was happening inside me and I couldn't feel it.

So, I'd recommend you re-read all my blog posts from the past three months, keeping in mind that all I want to say is - I am pregnant! I feel nauseous! I want pickles! I think chicken is gross! I am bloated! Commercials make me cry! I am so tired! Instead I had to post sporadically about such nonsense as weekly menus...when all I wanted was take-out.

Mark your calendars, blogfriends, for October 17th (well, as I found out today, it might actually be October 16th because it's a Leap Year...so we don't actually know our due date!)  Much more to come.