Tuesday, September 16, 2014

34 Weeks

Yesterday's Workout:
40 min prenatal yoga workout + 10 mins of sciatica stretches

I'm still on cloud 9 from our 34 week appointment yesterday. We had our growth scan and were surprised with a 3D ultrasound to get a closer look at our baby boy!

He is extremely active, so it was making it hard on the ultrasound tech to get a good shot, but he finally cooperated for a few minutes to get a look at his cute lil face! He is incredible - we love him so much already!

I know the growth scans have a 15% error associated with them, but Baby Mo is measuring at 4 lbs 9 ounces, in the 30th percentile - a peanut like his mom. Of course, his head is measuring larger for his size - we have his daddy to thank for that one! The doctor estimated his birth weight to be in the 7 lb range, so I'm looking forward to seeing how accurate it is. I'm honestly quite relieved because there ain't no way this 5'1" frame is pushing out a 9 lb baby! All in all, he is super healthy with a heart rate of 142, and he's already head down, which I'm excited about because I'm really hoping to deliver naturally. Only 6 weeks left to go until we get to meet him ahhh!!

We were also able to finish up the last of the nursery this weekend. I can't wait to do a nursery reveal post! I sat down on Sunday morning before the football game started and entered into artist-mode. The canvases I used were once my grandmother's - she was a very talented painter in her day! - and I felt it was a nice memento to have in the nursery. In keeping with the nursery theme, I painted simple jungle animals using fun colors in the background. We plan on hanging them over the dresser/changing table.

I have more good news! Last week, I mentioned I was dealing with some pretty nasty sciatica and was unable to walk much. Well, I visited the chiropractor as a last-resort effort to make the final 7 weeks of my pregnancy not excruciatingly painful, and it worked! For those like me who have never been to a chiropractor, I cannot recommend it enough. During my first visit, my body movement was analyzed in order to pinpoint where the problem area was, and the chiropractor was able to determine it was originating from my mid-back. He had me do a simple standing spinal twist to either side - turns out I could barely twist towards the left. So he had me lay on my side, and he massaged out the muscle down the spine using his elbow - this part was not entirely comfortable, I will admit. In fact, it hurt like a bitch and made me question my decision to try this. It also made me question my ability to handle labor in a sane manner, but that's an entirely different subject. Then the real effed up part began. He starts contorting my body into a position and explains to me he's going to apply pressure, and I'm going to hear some cracks that might sound alarming but will not hurt. I took a deep breath in, and on the exhale, I heard a series of snap, crackle, pops that resembled the sound popcorn makes in a microwave when it's at its peak popping stage. No, it didn't hurt, but it was a little unnerving to hear, nonetheless. I flipped over, and he repeated the process on my other side - realigning my spine. It is essentially the same act as when you crack your knuckles, and the result is the release of air between the joints. Finally, he had me lay on my back, squeezing a pillow on my chest, where he continued to apply his body weight into the pillow to finish the alignment process. When I stood up to walk around, I noticed immediately that my right hip was no longer popping when I walked, and the pain was already at about 50% of what it was before my visit. He had me sit back on ice for 15 minutes to relieve the inflammation. I returned later in the week for some minor re-alignment, and by the following day, I was able to walk almost pain-free. I'm continuing to ice my tailbone area daily, and I've been doing light yoga 5x a week. I haven't ventured as far as going for a brisk walk just yet, but I'm hoping by the weekend I will be able to do a mile at a time.

In the meantime, I've been thoroughly enjoying downtime in our new recliner. We bought this specifically with the baby in mind, and Brent and I now have to practically flip coins to determine who gets dibs on it at night. Jasper hated the damn thing at first because it has a motor (he's a huge baby), and now he gets mad because it's really not big enough for him to be in it, too. That doesn't stop him from trying though...

Also, fall seems to be starting earlier than usual in these parts, which means pumpkin everything in this house. I baked these delicious pumpkin cinnamon buns this weekend - to DIE for - and I plan to make them again to freeze away for my maternity leave.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

33 Weeks

The weeks are flying by lately - what happened to the whole "the last trimester is going to crawl by" theory that everyone kept insisting?? In all honesty, as much as I love being pregnant and will thoroughly miss it, I am entirely ready for this phase to end so that we can finally meet our little guy. We've been working hard preparing for his arrival. Many hours are dedicated to the nursery on the weekends, and we aim to be done this week. We have everything we need - it's just a matter of finding the hours in the week to put together the dresser, organize all the clothes, and my own personal to-do: work on the wall decor. I'm planning to paint a few pictures to go with our nursery theme - nothing too crazy, but I really wanted to be able to add my own touch to the room somehow. It's obviously as low as can be on the priority list - turns out painted wall art isn't high on the newborn necessity list - so I'm thinking it might be a nice October project, as the due date nears closer and my energy level continues to dwindle. Once it's done, I'll be including a nursery post!

I have an unfortunate update as well...I am officially done with running for the remainder of the pregnancy. Last Saturday was it. I woke up early, hopped on the treadmill for a short jog and felt so good that I continued until I had run 4 miles. I stretched, showered, sat down to eat breakfast, and when I stood up, my right side went completely numb when I stepped down. It was a tear-inducing electrical shot down the whole back side of my leg from my tailbone to my foot. I knew this pain very well as a runner and have had it off and on since running track in high school. It's something I was anticipating as my pregnancy progressed, since so many women experience it towards the end of pregnancy.

The dreaded sciatica.

Every time I say the word, it makes me feel like an 80-year-old Italian grandmother. Please tell me your grandmas all complained about it, too? I even hobble like I'm elderly now.

Throughout last week, I tried icing it multiple times a day (provided temporary relief), yoga for sciatica (YouTube is a great resource), and limiting my activity to allow time for it to heal. The pain remained constant, and towards the end of the week, my hip started popping when I walked. I talked to my doctor about it, and she highly recommended massage therapy or chiropractic care. Prenatal massage therapy is ridiculously expensive ($80-100 per visit) and not covered by insurance, so I went the chiropractic route. I learned my spine needed to be realigned - a common problem in pregnancy as the belly expands, center of gravity shifts, and the growing baby applies downward pressure - and after receiving presses that made my bones crackle and pop the same way popcorn does in a microwave, I felt some relief for the first time in 10 days. The relief was somewhat short-lived, but I was told the scar tissue needs to heal before any, if at all, permanent relief is met. So until then, I'm going to continue with chiropractic therapy and supplement with light yoga. And cuddle with this guy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Yesterday's Workout:
3 mile run
1 mile walk
Chest/Shoulder circuit

I am SO excited for the long weekend ahead. I plan on doing lots of reading, relaxing in my hammock, and organizing the nursery. We've got lots of baby laundry to do! I'm officially allowing myself to enter nesting mode. In the meantime, here's a photo recap of what we've been up to lately:

Jasper and his buddy, Kian, on the lake for 4th of July

Tomatoes from our garden...we're harvesting about 400 cherry tomatoes a week. Any takers??

Summer Risotto at 29 Subury

Chocolate torte at 29 Sudbury

Jasper trying to get this poor frog to play the pounce game. No frogs were injured during the taking of this photograph.

Love my garden roses!

Something good must have been on TV this night.

My new favorite place to run during pregnancy - much more comfortable than the road or treadmill! 

Georgia peach dessert at Sprigs

I need this glass. 

Brent is practicing for when baby comes...Jasper is the ever willing assistant.

Preparing the centerpieces for my baby shower!

Catching up on his beauty rest. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

31 Weeks

Yesterday's Workout:
2 mile run
90 min yoga

Last night's yoga class was MUCH needed and may have been the best one yet. We did a lot of hip openers and pelvic stretches, which felt amazing after my short run before class. I like to do a little cardio before yoga to help warm my muscles and get my heart rate up before an hour and a half of intense stretching. I like to think of it as the yin and yang of exercise...gotta keep things balanced, you know? Also, frog pose - where have you been all my (pregnant) life?

I hit the 31 week mark yesterday. We're down to single digits now, baby! I almost can't believe what a difference just a month has made...Baby Mo is growing like a weed!

I can't wait to see what next month's growth spurt will look like! I'm taking bets on how much longer I'll be able to look down and see my feet.

Also, I had my baby shower this weekend, and it was seriously one of the best days of my life spent with family and friends at my home - it couldn't have been more perfect! I can't wait to share some of the photos!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

30 Weeks

Yesterday's Workout:
2 mile walk
90 min prenatal yoga

So people aren't kidding about the third trimester when they say you will wake up and wonder how you got so big all of a sudden. I feel a bit like humpty dumpty these days. Baby Mo is growing exponentially. His feet are permanently set under my ribs, and his head feels very low in my abdomen, as indicated by his frequent hiccup spells - I still giggle every time he gets them. He is quite the wiggle monster, which has actually become somewhat uncomfortable at times. He did not cooperate at all during yoga last night, and I had a few close calls when he decided he was going to start playing whack-a-mole with my bladder. Thank god I've been practicing my kegels! This has been making running (and even walking) more difficult lately. I'm no longer ashamed to stop mid-stride to squeeze my legs together and pray he finds something more intriguing than my bladder.

So yeah, shit sort of got real this week. I feel like up until this point, it has been all fun and games in my mind, imagining what my new life as a mother will be like but knowing it was still pretty far off and that I had plenty of time to go until then to sit back and dream about it. And then 30 weeks greets you with a giant slap of reality. And you realize you have a mere 2 months to go. Then suddenly, panic sets in that you haven't done enough to prepare. The nursery is not ready. We still have furniture to buy. But it's best to wait until after the shower this weekend. And then there's the hospital bag. Nursing bras, nursing pads, and feminine pads are all on the suggested list of things to pack. Feminine pads? My god, I haven't had to wear those since I was 16! And then Google becomes everything.

And then I find myself laughing at how ridiculous I get when my mind wonders, and I finally find my way back to happy reality.

In all seriousness, I have a pretty exciting week ahead of me. I've reached the 4th quarter in my pregnancy - hey, it's football season now, so don't judge; I turn 28 tomorrow - not a big deal, other than it's the last birthday I have as a non-parent; and the one I'm most excited about...my baby shower is this weekend! I can't wait to see all my family and friends to celebrate Baby Mo!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Yesterday's Workout:
3 mile run
1 mile walk

Making sure you get enough calcium in pregnancy is ridiculously important for you and your growing baby, especially in the third trimester when baby is growing at an exponential rate and the bones are beginning to harden and store iron, phosphorus, and calcium. If your calcium intake is too low, your baby will leach it from your bones, which can cause serious damage down the road to your body. My maternal grandmother battled osteoporosis in her life, so I like to err on the side of caution.

As someone who isn't much of a chug-a-glass-of-milk kind of girl, I've been experimenting with other ways to reach my daily calcium intake: yogurt, cheese sticks, almond milk in vitamin-fortified cereal, and cottage cheese have been my go-to's. Every now and then when I have a sweet tooth and want to indulge, Brent will whisk me away to the local ice cream place down the street. Most of the time, I opt for frozen yogurt - it still has all the calcium benefits as ice cream but with much less fat - but sometimes, nothing beats the real thing. We even dug out our ice cream maker a few times at home to experiment with different recipes this summer. Last month, we made this amazing coconut milk ice cream - I highly recommend!

One of my all-time favorite flavors is chocolate peanut butter cup, so last week I took it to the kitchen to experiment. The result was the most amazingly smooth, creamy, delicious chocolatey-peanut-buttery treat. For mix-ins, we added chocolate chunks and pretzel bits, and I imagine chopped up peanut butter cups would be pretty phenomenal as well.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream 

4 egg yolks
2 C heavy cream
1 C whole milk
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
Sea salt, pinch
Optional add-ins:
1 C chopped pretzels (frozen overnight before adding to keep them crunchy)
1/3 C chocolate chunks
1/3 C peanut butter cups, chopped

  • In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks together and set aside.
  • In large sauce pan, heat cream, milk, sugar, cocoa, and pinch of sea salt over low heat until simmering. 
  • Slowly ladle 1/2 of the mixture, 1 cup at a time, into the egg yolks, whisking continuously to temper the yolks. Add peanut butter and whisk until melted and combined. Transfer back into the pan and return to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 5-10 minutes over low heat, whisking continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Transfer into a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator completely, 4 hours or overnight. 
  • Freeze cooled mixture in an ice cream maker following the unit's instructions. Mix add-ins before completely frozen. Store in an air-tight container in the freezer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sugar high

Yesterday's Workout:
2.5 mile walk
1 mile run
Bicep/Tricep Circuit:
1 x 12 hammer curls
1 x 12 alternating hammer curls, each arm
1 x 12 bicep curls
1 x 12 alternating bicep curls, each arm
1 x 12 tricep dips
1 x 12 tricep overhead extension
1 x 12 tricep kickbacks
1 x 12 skull crushers
*Repeat circuit 2x

I've been tapering down on the running miles the past two weeks. I'm still managing 15-20 miles a week, but I'd say almost 50% of those miles are now walking. My body has felt MUCH better since making this change. Prenatal yoga has been a godsend. My absolute FAVORITE stretch is the standing version of cat/cow pose, where you stand with your feet hip-distance apart, knees bent, hands on quads, and back parallel to the ground; on the inhale, you look up, curving your spine such that your tailbone points up and back; and on the exhale, you point your tailbone down and bring your pelvis inward, curving your spine into an upside down "U". I do this stretch multiple times a day now for a few minutes. It completely relieves all of the tension from my lower back and massages the spine. It's magic, really.

In other exciting news, I got my 1-hour glucose tolerance test out of the way yesterday. For those unfamiliar, it's step 1 of determining whether you're at risk for gestational diabetes. How it works is you chug a 10 ounce bottle of sugar-water containing 50 grams of glucose (they come in a variety of flavors - I got stuck with lemon/lime, which tastes like flat, double-sweetened Sprite), and after 1 hour, your blood is taken to test the glucose levels. If your blood glucose level is too high, then you have to return to take a 3-hour test. From what I read online, I was anticipating nasty side effects from the glucose drink - nausea, lightheadedness, sweating - but I actually felt totally fine. They recommend eating normally beforehand, so I had a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter before chugging the glucose drink, so that may have helped. A few hours after taking the test, I felt tired, but refueling on Greek yogurt with berries and taking a quick power nap did the trick. I'm hoping that's a good sign. I won't actually know unless I failed it, so I'm going to hope that no news is good news. The 3-hour test sounds like hell, so I'm crossing my fingers the results came back normal for this one.

And then I got to spend the rest of the day hanging out with this dude while I worked from home. He's kind of my favorite.