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.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pregnancy Favorites Part II

1) Pink Blush Dresses | I have two of these short dresses, and I wish I could live in them for the next few months, they are so comfortable and flattering. You can't go wrong with empire waists! The dress is also meant as a nursing dress - the fabric on the top section is completely elastic and can be moved to the side very easily for breastfeeding. It's quite likely I'll be wearing this home from the hospital.

2) Old Navy Maxi Skirt | This skirt is great for the third trimester now that my bump has taken over. It has a fold over waist and a modest side slit on one side which makes it nice and breathable.

3) Old Navy Maxi Dress | I've been wearing this for months now, way before I started showing, and even now in my third trimester, it fits great with plenty of room to grow. Like I mentioned above, by going with an empire waist dress, it makes it suitable for non-maternity wear as well. I'm hoping it'll still fit, just a little more flowy, post-pregnancy.

4) Running For Two Tank Top | These tank tops are normally ridiculously expensive, but I was able to get it 40% off during one of Zulily's fabulous sales. This shirt is my favorite to run in - the material is comfortable, breathable, stretchy - and it's cute to boot! By the way, if you're pregnant and looking for good deals on maternity clothes, go sign up for Zulily - I've bought pretty much 75% of my maternity clothes from sales on that site and have loved everything.

5) Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter | My friend, Lauren, sent this to me as a gift when I announced I was pregnant, and I hoarded it until I started showing. I use it on my bump and hips every morning and every night when I get out of the shower. It's like silk, and I'm hoping it will help keep away stretch marks!

6) Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut Milk | This stuff is incredible. I've used it in smoothies, and I love pouring it over a bowl of cereal. Babies drain you of calcium, so it's a great source to replenish your body!

7) Leachco Snoogle Body Pillow | I'm a stomach sleeper, which is frowned down on while pregnant, so this pillow has been a life-saver to keep me on my side all night. It takes up a lot of space and can get a little warm, so I don't use it every night; but when I'm feeling a little sore in my hips or low back, I find it gives me a great night's sleep and eases any discomfort. I was gifted it by a friend, so if you don't feel like spending a fortune on it, a regular pillow in between your knees works fine.

8) Gilligan O'Malley No Show Hipster | This underwear is like wearing an invisible cloud. They are super soft and stretchy - I love to wear them with my skirts and dresses since they are seamless. They contour completely to your body, and I find I'm not constantly having to adjust them like I do underwear that have the elastic band at the waist - you can imagine that gets pretty uncomfortably with a growing belly!

Monday, August 4, 2014

You know you're in your third trimester when...

Bending over to pick up the weights has become part of the workout. It's pretty comical actually. I laugh at myself more than I should these days, but I still haven't quite gotten used to the growing volleyball attached to my belly, and I find it hilarious. I've been taking weekly pictures - that is, when I can remember to - and I still can't believe the changes that happen over the course of a month.

Unfortunately, the third tri has also brought along some painful side effects: the dreaded pelvic pain everyone speaks of. I began noticing it last week during recovery after running. After a run, once I sit down for more than 15 mins at a time post-workout, my pelvic floor muscles feel tightened and sore. I began reading about it online and became aware it's due to the growing baby/uterus pushing down on these muscles. Baby Mo is over 2 pounds at this point, not just a teeny tiny dude any more, so it makes sense that he's adding more pressure now than he did in prior weeks. I'm also 15 extra pounds of woman these days, and the added weight probably isn't helping the matter. I've been successful in making a few changes to help ease my comfort during post-run recovery:

- Run slower: I've decreased down to a 10:00 mile and this seems to help a bit - I notice I'm more inclined to get shin splints this way, so I've been maxing out at 3 miles.
- Mix running with walking: I did a combo of 1 min run/1 min walk last night on the treadmill for 30 minutes and was much more comfortable after.
- Running on the track: I noticed the recovery pain is worse when I run on the treadmill or road than when I run on the cushioned outdoor track. Guess it's time to start moving my workouts to the track more often!
- Not running more than 2 consecutive days: I really need that third day for recovery and stick to walking instead.

One thing I saw recommended on a few of the "running while pregnant" message boards is the Gabrialla belt. I did notice a lot of the reviews seemed to be coming from people in their second trimesters looking to relieve severe back pain, which really doesn't include me (yet?), and those reviewers that are in their third trimester seem to still endure pain though the belt alleviates some of the discomfort, making it possible for them to complete household chores, work, etc. Since I really only have discomfort during post-run recovery, I'm hesitant to spend the money on something that I'd only use for another 2 months and may or may not actually help my issue. For me, I think my best option is to start cutting back my running miles and transitioning to a less impact form of cardio.

It's been my goal to be able to run as long as I comfortably could through the pregnancy. Ideally, I was hoping to reach the 7 month point, which is only 3 weeks away, and I think it's possible as long as I make the changes that I mentioned above and continue to be smart about it. I'm going to talk to my doctor about it next week to see if she has any other recommendations. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fig, Caramelized Onion, and Bacon Pizza with Arugula

Yesterday's Workout:
3 mile run
Shoulder/chest circuit

When I walked into the grocery store and saw figs were on sale last week, I knew I wanted pizza. Have you ever had figs on a pizza before? When combined with savory ingredients, it can be glorious. Caramelized onions are the easiest thing the whip up on the stove and make for a great pizza topper. Bacon, same deal. The addition of peppery arugula balances everything out really well and adds a nice fluffy crunch with every bite. Plus, it's pretty - really pretty. Brent was enamored.

Fig, Caramelized Onion, and Bacon Pizza with Arugula

1 lb raw pizza dough (can be found in the deli section of the grocery store)
1/2 Tbsp cornmeal
6 Tbsp fig spread or jam
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 ounces cranberry/cinnamon or regular goat cheese, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
2 strips bacon, diced
6 black figs, thinly sliced
3 C arugula, tossed in 1 tbsp oil and lightly sprinkled with salt

  • Allow pizza dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes; this makes it less elastic and easier to work with.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper and roll the dough out as thin as possible (about a 10" x 17" rectangle if using a baking sheet). Sprinkle a baking sheet evenly with cornmeal to prevent it from sticking to the pan when cooked. Taking the parchment paper by either end, flip the dough over to transfer onto the baking sheet. It comes off easily from the parchment paper this way. Lightly oil the dough and sprinkle with salt.
  • Spoon the fig spread over the pizza dough and spread evenly using the back of the spoon. Place the mozzarella slices and goat cheese slices evenly over the pizza. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until crust is light golden brown and cheese is bubbling.
  • While the pizza is cooking, melt the butter and oil over low heat and add the onions. Cook on low, stirring often to prevent burning, until browned and caramelized. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • While the onions are caramelizing, cook the diced bacon in a small frying pan over medium heat. Transfer to a paper towel and set aside.
  • When the pizza has cooked, remove from the oven. Evenly spread the caramelized onions, bacon bits, and sliced figs over the pizza. Return to the oven for 1 additional minute. Remove and evenly pile the arugula over the pizza.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Second Trimester Recap

Weeks 14-17: As promised, my energy returned during the second trimester, which came at a good time because we traveled with my mom and stepdad to Chicago and Michigan during this time to visit Brent's family and celebrate our baby news. They threw us a wonderful baby shower, and it became quite surreal to be opening up gifts for our baby that day. At this point in time, it was still really early on, I wasn't even close to showing, we had no idea what the gender was and hadn't gotten a chance to put together our registry yet, but I was blown away by how generous and thoughtful my in-laws and their families were. Brent's aunt is a sewing master, and she gifted our baby with so many amazing handmade outfits and blankets - I did everything to fight back tears that day, let me tell ya. I think my saving grace was when we opened up a package from Brent's cousin with two books inside: Go the F*ck to Sleep and Sh*tty Mom. Apparently, that was supposed to be a gift for us that we opened when we got home, but it got mixed in with the baby gifts - let's just say, everyone had a pretty good laugh! This all opened up a can of worms when we returned home because all I could thing about was putting the nursery together. I went out the following week and purchased Seventh Generation detergent so I could do my first load of baby clothes. It was all the motivation I needed to begin our registry, and I pretty much ate, slept, and breathed baby everything for the entire month of May. Reality did eventually kick in, and life resumed as normal, I promise I'm not entirely crazy.

Weeks 18-22: The big happening during this period of time was being able to find out the gender, which also happened to mark the halfway point in the pregnancy. We were beyond excited to hear the ultrasound technician say we were having a little boy. We sort of had an inkling from our 12 week ultrasound...we may or may not have seen a third leg during that scan...but we were ecstatic nonetheless to have it officially confirmed! If you ask me, I think I started showing a wee bump around the 19/20 week mark, and I was way more excited about it than I expected to be. Brent and my mom would laugh at me because they thought I was crazy, and Brent was convinced he looked more pregnant than I did.

Yeah, I know, we're ridiculous...

On a more serious note, I had a mini freak out during this time. One day, I started experiencing really bad abdominal cramping, so bad that I was curled up in fetal position for the night, and I started to feel like I was having contractions. Googling this shit is like the worst idea one could have, but when you're pregnant, no one accuses you of being the most with-it you'll ever be. So of course, I jump to the conclusion that I must be going through preterm labor, was on the phone with the nurse crying, and was told as long as I'm not experiencing bleeding, that I was okay, and to just drink as much water as I could and keep my feet up. Brent was on the ready all night in case he had to whisk me off to the hospital. By the next morning, I woke up feeling completely normal (thank God)...and when I looked in the mirror, I couldn't believe my eyes. It also began to make sense why my abdominal region was in such discomfort - it was being stretched by a little baby wanting some more space!

Weeks 23-26: I'm at 26 weeks now and closing in on the end of the second trimester. My energy is still pretty high, so I've been taking advantage of that while I can. I'm still logging in about 20 miles a week, slow and steady of course, and I'll be starting prenatal yoga classes next week that will go through early September. I've heard some really great feedback about prenatal yoga from my friend, Lauren, who had her baby boy in April, so I'm really looking forward to trying it out. The bump is growing by the day, and I love everything about it! My friend, Allyson, gifted me with a tankini to get me through the summer so that I don't have to endure any weird looks while donning my belly in a string bikini.

I really haven't had any sort of cravings this trimester - I tend to love all food these days - but I will say, it gets harder to say "no" to foods I wouldn't normally eat (i.e. ice cream, pasta salad, and baked goods), so I'm rolling with it, and indulging every now and then. I'll worry about losing baby weight later! We made this cookies and cream ice cream using coconut milk last week, and I have to say, that is one indulgence I will never regret - and I highly recommend you try it yourself.

We have started to get some of the nursery put together. We're trying to buy the furniture little by little, and after my baby shower next month, we will take care of everything else.  At my 25 week appointment, I found out I'm up a total of 15 lbs so far since pre-pregnancy, so right on track in the healthy range. So far, I really can't complain because I have had no discomforts (after my bump emerged), and while it's been a hot summer, I've managed to coast by with lots of water, frozen lemonade, central air, and light maxi dresses.

Some things I'm really looking forward to over the final three months are:

- my baby shower next month
- starting prenatal yoga
- attending my friend's wedding up in Maine...sporting the bump on the dance floor, obviously!
- being able to wrap up things at work before maternity leave
- setting up the rest of the nursery
- going on a "Babymoon"...we haven't quite gotten around to planning this yet, it'll likely be a weekend getaway to a nearby New England coastal town where we can relax, hang out on the beach, go to dinner, walk around, and soak in the final moments of being a twosome. If anyone has recommendations, please let me know!
- meeting our baby boy for the first time, of course! I'm surprisingly not at all nervous about labor and delivery. In a weird way, I'm looking forward to it, because I know the prize at the end is going to be more than worth it :-)