40 Weeks Pregnant!

Jan 21

How Far Along: 40 weeks… FULL TERM!

Baby’s Size: A pumpkin

Mama’s Size: +19 pounds

Symptoms: LOTS and lots of Braxton Hicks contraction, occasional back aches and lower-belly cramps, tingling and numbness in my fingers, aching and throbbing in my hips, a sharp pain that shoots down my left leg occasionally while I’m walking, sleepiness (oh, SO much sleepiness), restlessness at night and oodles of baby movements.

Cravings: Vanilla milkshakes… still. My food cravings haven’t been too intense throughout my pregnancy, but they LINGER.  My past cravings for pot roast and cookies and fruit have lasted for weeks and weeks… and this craving is no different.  I’ve had a few milkshakes in the last few weeks and may have one more before our little one arrives. It will be MUCH harder to justify an indulgent milkshake after baby arrives.

Baby’s Development: Our sweet girl is ready for her big debut.  While she waits, our little one has been entertaining her mama by extending her foot into my right side.  I am always startled by how far back it is… one tiny little foot. I love feeling my taut belly and reminding myself that the baby therein will soon be in my arms.

Highlight of the Week: I was fortunate enough to share my pregnancy with a sweet colleague.  She and I were due only three days apart, both with little girls.  We first shared our news before summer vacation, giggling and smiling over the excitement and anticipation.  We blossomed growing bellies at the same time in the fall, compared notes about our doctor’s appointments, swapped nursery schemes and enjoyed the journey together. I am so grateful for her camaraderie throughout my pregnancy.  So, I was over-the-moon when her sweet baby, Layla, was born on Saturday.  The tiny photo on my cell phone is breathtakingly sweet.  I couldn’t be more excited for her and her husband… two brand new parents.  Congratulations, Denisa!  I cannot wait for our little girls to meet!

Looking Forward To: Labor day!!! Now that we’re past our due date, I am seeing the OB and high-risk doctor twice weekly.  I saw them both today and learned that my body is simply NOT ready for labor.  No dilation.  No effacement.  This must be why I’ve been feeling so perfectly excellent… nothing much is happening. My doctor tells me that most pregnant women spend their final month in misery, with lots of contractions, back pain, upset stomachs, major fatigue and other symptoms that prime their bodies for labor.  Not me, though.  I’ve been feeling fine!  So… we’re going to give it a week to see if anything is going to happen on its own (which seems unlikely).  If not, I’ll be admitted to the hospital on Sunday night and given a medication that will “ripen” my cervix and prepare my body for labor.  On Monday morning, if things are finally ready, they’ll break my water and start Pitocin to induce labor.  My doctor said that our little one could arrive later on Monday or… Tuesday or Wednesday.  There’s no way of knowing how I’ll respond to the Pitocin or how long my labor will last, so it will be a waiting game. One way or another, though, we’ll meet our little girl in about a week!

In anticipation of our little one’s arrival, gluteeny.com will feature less content in the coming weeks.  As we get used to family life and settle into a routine, I’ll post more often.  Until then, thank you so much for your support and understanding.  Check back often.  I can’t wait to introduce you to our little peanut!!!

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39 Weeks Pregnant!

Jan 15

How Far Along: 39 weeks!  It is SO much fun telling people that I’m due in one week.  Their eyes always get a little bigger and they smile.  ”Any day now” is usually their response… and then they wish me luck.

Baby’s Size: A mini-watermelon!

Mama’s Size: +17.2 pounds… I stopped gaining weight two weeks ago, which I’ve read is fairly normal in the last weeks of pregnancy.  As long as our little one is still gaining weight, mama is happy.

Symptoms: LOTS and lots of Braxton Hicks contraction, occasional back aches, tingling and numbness in my fingers, sleepiness, restlessness at night, a rambunctious belly and infinite daydreaming about our little one.

Cravings: Oh, you know, the usual… red meat, ice cream, water. (haha!)  I really believe that pregnancy cravings are an indication of your dietary needs, so I must need a lot of iron, calcium and hydration in my life! I still get daily cravings for coffee and chocolate (and sometimes cocktails), but it will only be a few days before I’m able to indulge again.  Our little one makes everything worth the wait.

Baby’s Development: Our little girl is ready and waiting to meet the world!!!  She’ll arrive when the time is right and will continue to grow and develop until her birthday.

Highlight of the Week: Husband and I hung pictures in the nursery over the weekend. (We included the following prints from etsy: Girl in the Willow Trees, Tuxedo Cat, and Stork.) We have a few final touches to complete, but her nursery is almost complete.  I love sitting in the nursery and taking it all in, every little detail.  I imagine our little girl sleeping in her crib, awaiting Santa Claus and playing in that room.

Looking Forward To: Our birth story!  These final days before our sweet girl’s arrival are filled with electric anticipation.  I can almost feel her warm little body in my arms and hear her cries in my ears.  It’s palpable. The longing I feel for this little girl is momentous.  This is bigger than any Christmas or birthday… it’s all one huge surprise.  There is no way to know how our little one will arrive, but she’ll come when she is ready and we’ll finally know her birth story.

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Letters from Mama

Jan 14

My Beloved Little One,

There have been moments in my pregnancy that are completely surreal.  The moment I first suspected that I was pregnant, the moment that suspicion was confirmed, the moment I first heard your tiny heartbeat, the moment I first felt you move, the moment daddy first felt you move, the moment we told grandmom and grandpop that they would be grandparents, the moment we were told that we might lose you, the moment of profound relief when we learned that you were healthy… and now, these final days before my due date… they feel other-worldly.  I cannot believe that we are a matter of DAYS from meeting you! I think about it constantly.  I imagine what your birthday will be like, how it will feel in my heart to meet my daughter,  how we will be changed forever by your arrival.  You’re all I can think about and it fills me with anticipation and bliss every time.

With only a few days of pregnancy left, I want to reflect on the little moments of our shared journey that make your mama smile.

  • I remember when I could first see my belly beginning to swell.  It was so slight at first, but I could tell.  I kept telling everyone that my belly had started to pop but there were a few weeks where no one really believed me. It was an awesome reminder that you were growing… even if I was the only one that knew it at the time.
  • When I hug daddy, my belly (our sweet baby) gets cradled between us.  Sometimes when I hug daddy tightly, you wiggle and daddy can feel you move.  It always makes us laugh.
  • I love watching you dance in my belly while I’m sitting at my desk at work, watching TV on the couch or lying in bed.  You’re wiggles are responsible for thousands and thousands of my smiles.
  • During my second trimester, I would sleep sitting up (propped on pillows).  Atticus used to love laying against my belly.  Sometimes you would kick at him and he would paw at you.  I would laugh so hard my eyes would water.  I told daddy that you were getting acquainted.
  • Until recently (when a random heart arrhythmia made chocolate and other caffeine forbidden treats), daddy would make me a large, delicious glass of chocolate milk every night after dinner.  Daddy also pulls me up off the couch, helps me sit up in bed, opens the car door for me, helps me put on my shoes, makes me meals, brings me drinks, puts me to bed when I’m sleepy and takes care of us both.  We’re lucky to have him.  You have a great daddy.
  • You get hiccups between 2 and 5 times a day.  I’ve read that fetuses get hiccups when they are practice breathing, so I always associate your hiccups with your eagerness to be out in the  world with mama and daddy.  Sometimes you have them for a long time and I rub my belly and try to calm you down so your hiccups will stop.  I’ll miss that sensation.
  • Now that you’re bigger, I can feel you move when I’m walking around.  Sometimes I put my hand on my belly where I feel movement and I can feel your bottom or feet. If I feel your round bottom, I pat it gently and talk to you.  If I’m about to eat, I tell you to be patient and tell you what we’ll be eating for lunch. You almost always settle down when I pat your bottom.
  • Sometimes daddy presses his face against my belly and talks to you.  He usually starts with “hello, baby!”.  You clearly love your daddy already and almost always press against his cheek.  The look on his face after he feels you move makes my heart happier than it’s ever been.  I love you both so much.
  • I bought quite a few maternity clothes which helped me feel confident and comfortable during pregnancy… but I never bought pajamas.  I figured that I should spend the money on clothes people would actually see and daddy assured me that he didn’t care what my pjs looked like.  Now that my belly is at its largest, there are times when the bottom of my belly shows beneath my tank top and above my pj pants.  Every time I see it in the mirror or daddy points it out, it makes me laugh.
  • I’ve had to have nightly injections of blood-thinners in my belly for most of my pregnancy.  Daddy gives them to me and we have a routine every night.  I ice my belly with an ice cube… and you begin to wiggle wildly.  I say, “I know, I know it’s cold.” Once it’s ready, daddy gives me the shot while I look away.  He always says “coming at you” right before he slides the needle into my belly.  Every single night.
  • I’ve used oodles of different pillow configurations throughout pregnancy to get comfortable while lying down.  The one thing I always need is a small pillow tucked underneath my belly.  It makes me giggle because mama has normal-sized pillows under her head and you have a tiny pillow under your head, right under my belly.
  • I love placing my hands on top of my belly.  It’s a prefect little armrest!
  • Because my lap is smaller now, I often rest magazines, books and mugs of hot apple cider on the top of my belly.  You always find it and kick at it until mama moves it away. Daddy and I have decided that you’re opinionated already, which means that you’ll be a strong woman.  That makes us happy.
  • Whenever a stranger holds a door open for me, they smile widely. They’re smiling because of you, little one.  They’re smiling because they can see my belly and they know that soon I will have a perfect little baby in my arms.  You are filling the world with smiles.  And every time a stranger smiles at my belly, I smile, too. Everyone is happier because of you!
  • I built your bassinet two weeks ago and left it in the hallway to await your arrival. As I was building it, Atticus looked at every piece, sat in the boxes and inspected it thoroughly once it was finished.  I catch him 4-5 times a day sitting in front of the bassinet like a guard dog.  Every time I see him I say, “Where’s sister?  She’s not in there, yet.  Don’t worry, Atty, sister will be here soon.” (He also guards your stroller in our dining room and loves to sleep on the ottoman or window seat in your nursery.  He has never jumped onto anything you will sleep in, he just wants to guard it.  We think he’s going to be a great “older brother” for you.  He loves you so much already.
  • I love that I can see you every single time I look down.  I can’t see my toes, but I can see you. You make me smile, baby girl!

Every part of this journey has been amazing because it brings us one step closer to you. I am beyond-excited for your birthday and am trying to savor these last gorgeous moments of pregnancy before our new adventure begins. I am so honored to be your mama and am so thrilled to share my life with you.  I love you so much already and know in my heart that I’ll love you infinitely more once we lock eyes with one another. No matter what, forever and ever… you’ll be my most beloved baby and I’ll be your mama.

Always,

Mama

xoxox

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Jan 10

If you’re looking for a SUPER easy gluten-free cake, this is the recipe for you!  It uses seven ingredients and very little of your time… plus it’s crazy delicious.

You’ll Need: 

  • Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Mix
  • Three eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla (imitation vanilla is NOT gluten-free)
  • One large can of sliced pineapple in juice (not syrup)
  • 9-12 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 stick plus 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • A baking pan (I use a 9″x9″ square, which yields a deep cake of 9 slices)

1. Preheat the oven accordingly to the directions on the cake mix.  Pour one tbsp. of melted butter into the bottom of the pan, coating the bottom.  (Use a little more, if necessary, to fully coat the pan.) Cover the entire bottom of the buttered pan with brown sugar. Arrange pineapples and maraschino cherries on top of the brown sugar.  This will create the top of your pineapple upside-down cake… so neatness counts!  Make it cute.

2. Mix up the cake as directed on the box EXCEPT replace the 2/3 cup of water with 2/3 cup of pineapple juice (from the can of pineapple slices).  Take the remaining pineapples from the can (after you’ve covered the bottom of the pan) and chop them up. Add the chopped pineapples to the cake mix, too.

3. Pour the cake mix on top of the prepared pan.  Pop it in the oven!

4. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.  (I needed to add an additional 15 minutes to mine, as the cake is super dense and super moist.  Trust the toothpick!) Once you remove the cake from the oven, allow it to cool completely before attempting to flip it over.  Being overzealous will cause your cake to crack, so be patient!

5. Once the cake is cool, turn it out onto a cake pedestal or serving platter.  (I lined mine with parchment paper for easy clean-up later.) Then… dig into the cake like a wild animal! (See above image) This cake is exquisite with cold milk or hot coffee… at night and for an indulgent breakfast.

I dare you NOT to love this easy treat!  Enjoy.

xo

 

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Pot Roast!

Jan 09

So, I’ve been craving pot roast since I was 17 weeks pregnant. You might think that the craving would diminish a bit over time, but it just intensified every week.  Last weekend husband made me his amazing homemade pot roast and I am excited to say that the craving has been fulfilled (though I would gladly eat… like… forty more bowlfuls, if they were offered to me!).

In order to make husband’s perfect pot roast, you’ll need the following:

  • Bolar beef roast
  • Orrington Farms Tender Pot Roast Seasoning for Slow Cookers (It’s gluten free!)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of water (as directed on the pot roast seasoning packet)
  • Cleaned and chopped carrots (3-5 depending on size)
  • Cleaned and chopped celery stalks (3-5 depending on size)
  • Chopped onion (to taste)
  • One package of cleaned and chopped mushrooms (we’ve used a mixture and baby portabellas… both are yummy)
  • Cleaned and chopped red potatoes (3 large)
  • Red wine (if desired… ours was made without and tasted super delicious)
  • Dried oregano
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Minced garlic
  • Grey Poupon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Mrs. Dash original seasoning
  • Crockpot

1. Start by searing the outside of the roast in a hot pan.  Season lightly with kosher salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash. Sear all sides evenly before lowering the roast into the empty Crockpot. (We always place the crockpot on a dishtowel, as it has overflowed in the past… making a tempting beef puddle for our little cat.)

     

     

2. Dump all of the water, chopped vegetables and the entire seasoning packet into the Crockpot, too. Isn’t this easy?!

3. Add some dried oregano, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce and Grey Poupon mustard to taste.  (Don’t overdo it with the Worcestershire and Grey Poupon, as these are strong flavors.  It’s always best to use a bit less than you think is necessary, so season lightly at first and taste it before eating.  You can always add more later.) Pour in some red wine, too, if you like.

4. Crank the Crockpot up to high, cover and walk away.  After a few hours your entire house will smell like the most delicious meal you’ve ever imagined, so you may want to go out for a while.  Allow the pot roast to cook for a solid 8 hours before enjoying. You will want to break up the meat with a fork about one hour before you plan to eat… it will be super tender at this point.

5. Enjoy!  (You may want to consider skipping lunch since you’ll be eating at LEAST two bowls!)

Let me know what you think… 

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38 Weeks Pregnant!

Jan 08

How Far Along: 38 weeks… which is truly unbelievable. I’ve dreamed of having a baby throughout my entire life, envisioned her sweet face nearly every day since meeting my husband and desperately wanted to begin a family for the last two years.  To think that my due date is only two weeks away makes that journey truly remarkable.  I hope our little one never ever doubts how deeply she was wanted and how profoundly she is loved.

Baby’s Size: The length of a leek

Mama’s Size: +17.2 pounds… which is actually a pound and a half less than last week, though I’ve read that weight gain slows in the final weeks of pregnancy.

Symptoms: Occasional abdominal discomfort, Braxton Hicks contractions (especially at night, always accompanied by a tightening in my chest like a panic attack), exhaustion, difficulty sleeping (mostly due to hip pain and numerous trips to the bathroom), tingling in my fingers on and off throughout the day (which just started a few days ago), minor foot swelling by the end of the day, and a very active little one.

Cravings: Ice cream!!! I never really craved ice cream at any other point in my pregnancy (and certainly never once with pickles), but I want ice cream and milk ALL of the time lately.  I was taking Viactive calcium supplements and drinking 1-2 glasses of chocolate milk each day… but have stopped both since our sweet girl’s heart arrhythmia made chocolate a forbidden treat. I think my body is craving the missing calcium.  I think about a vanilla milkshake with whipped cream and a cherry… like… five to ten times a day.  Seriously.

Baby’s Development: We had a non-stress test last Friday (and will continue to have them weekly until our wee tot is born).  During the test, her heartbeat was strong and regular, my amniotic fluid levels were “perfect” and the nurse commented (once again) at how long our little girl’s hair appears to be. (I’ve been joking that she’ll be born with a french braid!) Her size was estimated at 6 lb. 11 oz. two weeks ago, so we’re planning to see a plump, healthy newborn on delivery day.

Highlight of the Week: I finally finished packing the hospital bag and popped it into the car (three weeks after the internet’s recommended deadline of 35 weeks). I feel more at ease knowing that I’ll have what I need when labor begins.  Based on the intensity of my Braxton Hicks contractions at nighttime, I’m beginning to think that labor might start at night… but there’s no way to know for sure. My parents are still adamant that their first grandchild will arrive before her due date, while I’m thinking she’ll probably come late.  Either way, she’ll arrive on her birthday when she’s ready and we cannot wait to meet her.

Looking Forward To: Delivery day!  This probably sounds ludicrous to all the mothers out there, but I’m looking forward to our baby’s birthday. I expect that labor will be arduous, long and harder than anything I’ve imagined.  I expect that I will have to accept things I cannot change while in the hospital.  I expect that I’ll be filled with fear and self-doubt. And I expect that the entire process will be very different from what I expected.  But at the end of it all, it will be my daughter’s birth story, her birthday, the day that husband and I become a family. These final weeks of pregnancy are a waiting game and I’m getting excited to learn the ending.  I’m just so excited to finally see her face.

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Loving: The Most Breathtaking Birth Story

Jan 03

I don’t often repost content from other blogs, but Kelle Hampton’s birth story for her second daughter is exquisitely written and deeply captivating.  Kelle’s blog, “Enjoying the Small Things,” is a sweet collection of beautiful photographs and real life stories… and her description of Nella Cordelia’s birth story is one you will never ever forget.

Enjoy!

(Photo from Enjoying the Small Things)

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