Expecting our Little Brother in November!

pregnancy calendar

Sunday, May 30, 2010


So I have been cutting James' hair for awhile now--I like how I did on his most recent haircut:

(The picture (on the left?) is the face James made when I told him to stop looking awkward, LOL.)

And even though I feel pretty confident in cutting James' hair, I hadn't ever felt confident about doing my own. I do cut it sometimes, but I think of it as "getting by until I make myself a "real" hair appointment.

Well, I was thinking and decided that plenty of people cut their own hair, and even if mine doesn't look awesome for awhile, I still would rather just learn to cut it myself. So, I gave myself a haircut!

Refer to the (3+4 month) belly pictures on the previous post for a comparison shot, but here's me with my new do!

I only cut the bottom layer, but I might try to cut the top layer as well--we'll see. But I think it looks better than it did, and it gave me some practice, so I am pleased.

4 Months!

Well, I will be 16 weeks on Tuesday, which means I am about to hit 4 months of pregnancy! I can't believe it, but pictures don't lie:


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pregnancy as a Healthy Time

Every day, people ask me how I am feeling. It's true that some people have a horrible time with morning sickness, but I didn't. What I notice more is that I feel HEALTHY.

It's true that I have been vegan for a long time, and in a sense that makes it a lot easier to be healthy--but there are bad ways to be vegan too--and James and I have had those months, days, meals, plenty of times.

But before getting pregnant, my body was whacked out on gluten (and the longer and more strictly I avoid it now, the more sensitive I feel to it); I didn't pay attention to taking multi-vitamins, DHA, and lots of other things that my body probably is in need of (especially when I WAS eating gluten) . . . in a lot of ways, my body was out of balance, and part of our journey to get pregnant was correcting that balance as well. I started going to the chiropractor, getting treatments for food sensitivities, completely stopped eating gluten--and learned a ton about how my body works and why.

Now as summer blossoms, more than anything else how I FEEL is healthy--I have been eating tons of fruit, and that, like being vegan, seems to add some automatic health into my life--I've been more active--starting to enjoy the warm weather, getting tanner, taking tons of vitamins, not drinking--I just feel good.

And what I've noticed about some other women is it seems to go the same way. People who are overweight, if they are serious about being healthy during pregnancy, seem to most often not gain much weight, and then lose a lot after the baby, especially when breastfeeding. People who are already thin typically stay thin if they are taking care of themselves.

A friend of mine observed that pregnancy taught her to care about her body and now she is taking pride in it after her son was born. I hope I can remember this lesson as well!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Maternity Clothes!

So I was visiting my sister and then parents over the last few days, and while I was staying with Lauren in the city, we walked to lunch somewhere and passed Motherhood Maternity, and I said:

"Ooo, wanna stop there on our way back?"

And she said:

"Oh yeah, my bitch! That would be so fun!!"

So we did. And I got a bunch of stuff. Maybe you are thinking it is too early for Maternity clothes, but I am 15 1/2 weeks. I was a size 6 before getting pregnant, and I have been wearing size 8's and 10's for weeks now, but partially unbuttoned and/or falling down and it has just been awkward.

Like the 8's or 10's would fit if I was standing up, but if I was sitting, I would have to unbutton them (and lately, unzip them). Picture me: Getting out of the car, getting up at the movies to go pee, getting up at a restaurant to go pee, etc, etc--each time trying to sneakily button and zip my pants--and you can see how awkward I have been for weeks now.

Furthermore, I already have an abnormally long waist, so it is hard for me to find shirts that are long enough. Add in some extra boob and belly, and my belly was showing in most shirts (and if you recall that my pants are totally awkward as well, picture how ridiculous I look.)

So we had fun at Motherhood Maternity, trying on stuff with the fake belly--Hahahahaha. But mostly I was like: Wow, a world has been opened to me.

I got two jean shorts, a pair of jean pants, a pair of yoga pants, two ribbed tanks, and two nicer shirts. Total cost: $200. Honestly, I think pretty much each item was priced as it would be in a non-maternity store of comparable quality, and I haven't bought myself new clothes in like a year, so I didn't give myself a hard time about it.

The verdict is that I LOVE LOVE LOVE my maternity clothes. I haven't been more comfortable in jeans probably ever in my life. As someone that hates pants pressing into my belly in general, I feel as if I have discovered an amazing palace of comfortable clothes.

The shirts actually come down over my long waist and fit normally--the pants hug my thighs and butt but have plenty of room for the belly--with the pants and shorts especially I feel like I am wearing something that fits for the first time in at least a month and I am in HEAVEN!!!!

I am going to add pictures to this later. :-)

Career Decision

Well, I have sort of come to a decision about my career, which is good because I have been floundering--sort of wanting to be okay with just being a SAHM, but also feeling like I needed to push ahead with teaching because I really loved it and it made me happy.

So last night I sort of made a decision/plan for how to proceed over the next 5-10 years. Being at home IS important to me and that will be my main "job"--but I think in September, 2011, when the baby is 10 months old, I will start taking classes toward a Master's Degree in English. Like maybe just one the first semester, and then one-two each semester after that, take it slow but keep "something else" in my life that I am working on to stimulate me besides just the baby.

And then after I get my Master's Degree, I would like to try to teach at a community or local college very-part time--again, like one or two classes each semester.

Then at some point in the distant future when my kids are grown up and I want to get back in the full-time job world, I can look at HS teaching jobs and can apply for them from a position of current experience rather than past inexperience, KWIM?

So that is the plan! And since my consciousness settled on this decision, I have felt much less quaking and uncertainty inside my chest--I feel as if I am making a step forward--or at the least--envisioning what that step would be has put something to rest inside me. :-)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Next Morning

The morning after our awesome dinner--this morning--I woke up ACTUALLY sick. Apparently all the cooking, arguing and busy-ness took its toll on me, and my immune system finally crapped out.

I hacked up disgusting phelgm into tissues for awhile and reported back to the couch. I guess my stupor was all for a good reason!

Should this have just been part of the previous post? Maybe. Maybe. For some reason it seemed like it needed it's own post, though. I'll blame it on the stupor.

Now I want to eat some Tagine.


So, last night we had dinner with the in-laws and also brother-in-law and sister-in-law. (I'm going to be annoying and not use their names for this whole post because we got into this huge discussion/argument about facebook, privacy, etc, and I just feel like in the wake of that, I should not use any of their names. Even though BIL is a writer, goddamnit, he should stop censoring me! Okay, sorry, pregnant lady hormones. Anyway...)

My MIL has been vegan and gluten-free (for the most part) for several months now, and has found that this diet very effectively manages her blood sugar. She has even been able to stop taking meds, has lost a bunch of weight, etc.

Now (meat and gluten eating) BIL and SIL are staying with them for a few weeks before they head off to Russia (SIL's homeland) for the summer. So the last few times we ate over there, MIL and SIL made dishes--which were really good but I could tell they are out of their element.

So we are scheduled to go over their house for a co-birthday dinner (MIL's is in a few days and SIL's is in a few weeks, but they leave for Russia on Monday), so I offered to make the whole dinner--both because it was their birthdays and because they both cooked the last few times we ate together and I made nothing.

Now, I love cooking! But my stupor that I mentioned in my last post seemed to stretch on and on into "I am fighting off a virus" sort of tired/nausea/phelgmy throat . . . so on Thursday, in the wake of a huge headache, I made James come with me to the co-op to get all the things I would need to cook, and on Friday I found myself laying on my couch UNABLE to motivate myself.

Finally I managed to clean up my kitchen, and I brought the cutting board and veggies into the living room so I could sit on my couch, cut up veggies, and watch X-Files reruns all at the same time. I figured the X-Files would distract me from my stupor. I started this cutting at 2:30, and I wanted to leave for MIL's house by 4:30, get there at five, and finish the cooking there.

Around 4, I had almost finished the first (main) dish--Moroccan Tagine. It is a red lentil and spring vegetables stew. I have made it before so I knew it was DELICIOUS. But there are a TON of veggies in it, and despite nearly an hour of dedicated cutting, and then another hour of cooking while cutting, I was done with this one dish, and had started the rice (a mix of brown and wild) but had like three more to go.

Finally I broke down and called James. The original plan was for me to show up at MIL's house with the food--some cooked, some to cook at her house, and he would meet us. Around 4, I realized it was not going to happen, hence the phone call.

James: "Hi Honey! How is everything going?"
Me: "Well, I finished the Tagine."
James: "Well, that's good!"
Me: "Yeah but we still don't have cupcake papers."
James: "Oh damn, well, do you want me to get some?"
Me: "Yeah actually, that's why I was calling. I don't think I'm going to be able to get all this food to your Mom's house by myself. I just started the rice and it's going to take an hour to cook."
James: "Oh."
Me: "Can you come home and help me?"
James: "Um, yeah okay let me just finish up here."

We hang up, and I reaffirm my love for my husband, and I start on this sauce. This is a made-up recipe by me that is supposed to go over steamed bok choy. As part of my previous cutting frenzy, I cut up a TON of shiitake mushrooms (this was what took the longest).

So then I simmered ginger in olive oil for a minute, then added the mushrooms, which immediately soaked up all the olive oil. So I added more, and vegan butter (earth balance) and eventually got them stirfrying as well. Then I added cornstarch to create a gluten-free version of roue, then added homemade soup stock. While that simmered/thickened, I food-processed a can of black beans into paste, and added to the sauce. And that was the shiitake mushroom/black bean sauce.

At this point I searched for the tofu that I planned to baste with the sauce, to go with the bok choy, only to find that we ate it already. :-/ Oh well.

Then James gets home. Yay!! He makes gluten-free cupcakes. From a mix. I'm not a big fan of mixes but I am new to the gluten-free baking world and I'm not quite clear on the chemistry of different flours and ingredients yet.

So I'm onto making the last dish. This one is "Braised 3-Seed Cauliflower".

As an aside, when I speak of cooking, you can usually tell whether it is a real recipe or an "Adrienne Recipe" by the name. Compare "Moroccan Tagine" and "Braised 3-Seed Cauliflower" with "Shiitake Mushroom/Black Bean Sauce". If I was naming the other recipes, the Tagine would be called: Red Lentil and Veggie Stew; and the Braised Cauliflower would be called: Cauliflower and Tomato Stirfry.

Anyway, back to the recipe. Both of these actual recipes are from this book: Vegan with a Vengence. It, along with it's fellows: Veganomican, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and others, are hands down the BEST vegan cookbooks anywhere, any time.

So I made the cauliflower and tomato, and it was ready just as the cupcakes came out the oven. But, if you recall before I got distracted by cooking, I'm still in a stupor. I am sitting on a stool in the kitchen--unshowered, wearing dirty sweat-pants and a glazed expression. I pick out suitable transport dishes for the food, go upstairs, change, and report back down as James is loading all the food into bags and we are off to the inlaws.

We eat pretty much right away (well, after I steam the bok choy--that was the last thing to be done), and everyone is in agreement that all the food is incredible. People even like the recipe I made up myself (which honestly, I wasn't crazy about)--but the cauliflower is BANGING and so is the Tagine, of course.

Then we open presents and cards, eat cake (MIL also bought an amazing gluten-free vegan cake from this specialty store. At first I was mad that she was buying her own cake but OMG it was incredible), and argue about Facebook.

See my next post for the conclusion of this exciting tale.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


So I'm home today after a VERY busy few days.

Sunday: James and I drove to the city for Laur's open studios--it was awesome! We met up with Gram and Gram, Mom and Dad, Laur and Kate, and Scott and Bonnie, and Tim. :-)

After the open studios, James, Laur, Kate, Tim and I went for an AWESOME dinner at the V-Spot. Then Tim and James drove back to CT and me and Kate went to help Laur move all of her paintings into my car. Then we would spend the night at Laur's house.

Monday: We woke up at 8am, got ready for Laur's graduation, took the Subway to Manhattan, saved seats for the rest of the family (Mom, Dad, Gram and Gram).

It was an awesome graduation (and when do you ever say that)? Stephen Soderbergh and Patti Smith (among other famous people) received honorary degrees and gave awesome speeches. Patti Smith even gave a mini-concert (2 songs).

After the graduation, we went out for another awesome lunch/dinner at Zen Palate. Finally, Laur and I broke off from the group, took the LONG subway back to Brooklyn, packed up the very ends of her stuff, and finally took off for my parents house in New Fairfield.

We got there, visited with the family a bit, and I passed out on the couch, only to awaken around 2 am and make myself a bed on the floor.

Tuesday: I woke up at my parents house, made oatmeal, hung out with my sister, and left at 12:30.

I got home and attempted to round up the cats for a vet appointment, but could only find two of the three. Went to the vet appointment and finally home again, where I sat on the couch in a stupor until James got home.

Wednesday (today): I continue to sit here in my stupor. In an hour or so, I will leave to volunteer at the coop for a couple hours. I know I should do laundry, load my dishwasher, etc, but after such a busy few days I am totally uninspired.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby Nicknames

So, as anyone who is pregnant knows, people (including the pregnant one and her significant other) tend to start referring to your fetus as something before it is born, especially if you don't know what it is (yet) and/or haven't shared your name choices (yet).

My family, as it tends to do, has already come up with funny and irreverent nicknames for our baby. One is Gwyllym, because my sister Lauren had mentioned that this was her top fave for a boy name if she ever had a baby (it is a Welsh name and my Grandfather was from Wales).

I have three sisters and we have a long history of making up names and nicknames. The recent trend has been to call each other "bitch" (so bad, I know). Like, "Hey my bitch, what up?", or "You sexy bitch". My parents have even gotten in on it and me and my sisters have gotten many a raised eyebrow from hanging up a phone convo with my Mom by saying: "Okay, love you, bitch!"

So today I told my sister to come give me a hug but I was laying on the floor and she was like: "Stand up first I don't want to squeeze the Little Bitch." (Oh man). I have tried to encourage them to call it "Little Bit" instead but we'll see how that goes. We've already had a few conversations about how we need to stop calling each other bitches before the baby is born and that is it's first word. But habits are so hard to break!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Militant Vegans

James and I are both vegan, which you probably know if you are reading this blog. For those people who have not known many vegans, or I am the "main vegan" that you know, you may not be aware that there is a social group which I have always referred to as "militant vegans".

A "militant vegan" attempts to spread the vegan lifestyle, often through guilt, disgusting pictures, and fear-mongering. "Militant vegans" often tend to be pretty judgmental of non-vegans, have a more closed social group of friends, etc.

James and I, and most of our vegan friends, are NOT militant vegans. We love all--animals, people; omnis, veggies, vegans, and carnis alike. We have found that while the "militant" approach tends to turn people off and ostracize them from the cause, that a non-judgmental and open approach tends to rally them to support us and explore their own interest in veggie eating.

I came across this article which interviewed an ex-"militant vegan", and I was disappointed--not because she went back to eating meat, but because the impression was given that there was no other kind of vegan besides the "militants".

Therefore, I was inspired to comment, and what I wrote follows here:

"I am a strict vegan and have been for about five years--my husband is also a strict vegan and has been for about 12 years.

I have also noticed and resent the "militant" stance of a lot of people in the vegan community. When I tell people I am vegan, I usually add: "But I'm not militant--you know, I support people eating what they want."

I think vegans work against their own cause so much with being judgmental and exclusive. My husband and I have rallied our families to our cause by simply being strict vegans--we talk about the benefits we see but we know it's not the only way for everyone.

It's just a fact that when you have an open disagreement with someone, they will fight back against you. If you start out "not fighting", and "not judging", your own choices will be more likely to be openly viewed, understood, and not judged as well.

I just wanted to pop in as someone who has had vegan friends go back to being vegetarian or meat-eating, and when asked the question: "I am craving eggs, what should I do?", I have always said: "Do what feels right to you--listen to your body," and often even, "well, try eating an egg and see how you feel." In my experience, some people will devour it whole-heartedly (maybe those that should go back to lacto-ovo), some people will take one or two bites and feel grossed out (maybe those that should stay vegan), and some will eat the whole thing but then feel crappy afterward (they might have some thinking to do). Regardless, I think they have learned something by such an "experiment". I am still close friends with former vegans and have no issues with it.

For the record, I also don't crave sugar. At least, not unless I am eating it often. The less I eat, the less I want to eat, and I think that is probably true for people of any diet choice.

I actually think "my type of vegan" IS a minority, but we do exist. Furthermore, I think we go farther toward furthering the cause of veganism than the "militants". People don't want to fight and be judged, they want love and support. If they get it from you, they will be more likely to listen and take your opinions seriously. This is a lesson that spreads beyond diet."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Awesome First Appointment!

I love love love our midwife!

She came over today for our first appointment. As we usually are before people come over, James and I were frantically cleaning when the phone rang:

"Hi," she said, "it's me, I'm running about 15 mins late, I'm so sorry!"

"That's okay!" I answered jovially, "we are big fans of being late over here!" Which was NOT a lie--our house looked awesome when she arrived.

She asked us a TON of questions on our health, health history, and family health history. These questions were punctuated by shared stories of having ADD, forgetting things, James' childhood asthma, Roger's childhood asthma. She laughed and shook her head sympathetically in all the right places.

She gave us tons of good information about the rates of certain procedures and complications in home birth versus in hospital birth. Homebirth has less: Episotomies, tearing, labor inductions, medicated births, etc etc." She gave us homework to fill out questions about our expectations for labor and birth, and for me to write down my diet for three days.

Then I peed in a cup, and my pee told us that I was hungry. "Actually, now that you mention it, it HAS been awhile since breakfast!!"

Finally, and most excitingly, she felt my stomach and said my uterus was measuring right on--almost exactly 13 weeks, 2 days. And then we found the heartbeat with a doppler!! It was amazing!! I guess mostly the heartbeat we'd been hearing was mine, because the placenta has "my heartbeat", but it was AWESOME to hear that gallop of the baby's heartbeat!!

It all seems so much more real now--tomorrow is the second trimester, and we have one healthy baby in there. Yay for life!

First Midwife Appointment Today!

So today is the first official appointment with our midwife! Since she is home-based, she is coming to our house for the appointment. I really like her so this should be fun, but it also means I need to CLEAN MY HOUSE.

It WAS JUST pristinely clean like seriously? Two days ago, but for some reason James and I can mess it up in a very incredible way in just 48 hours. Sigh. So I'm off to clean. And I only have 2.5 hours left because it's 11:30 and our appointment is at 2. But am I motivated? No. Not at all.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

24 Hours to Go

In just 24 hours, I will have made it to the second trimester!!

If you haven't read our story on how long it took us to get pregnant, you wouldn't understand what a big deal this is to me. As it is, I feel like I should have a freaking party on Friday.




That's what time I got up today. And sleeping in like that was just awesome. It's not like I normally have something I have to get up for--but usually I wake up at some point (like when James gets up at 7 or 8, or else around 9, MAYBE 10), and then I'm UP.

But not today. I've felt a bit sleep deprived for awhile (I fell asleep on the couch last night from 5-6), so it was nice to get a full 12 hours in. I feel AWESOME.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's not Always Easy

Okay, I PROMISE I will eventually write about my Mother's Day and the wonderful revealing of our awesome news, but this is what is calling me today.

When I posted on Facebook about the pregnancy, I felt almost as if I was deceiving people--everyone is so surprised--it is so sudden and unexpected--but for me it doesn't feel like that.

For me it feels like I climbed a mountain and now I'm on my way back down--it feel like something hard earned, something that was built with time and experience--it didn't surprise ME, it wasn't sudden for ME, it was a long hard journey.

So I have to write a little bit about our quest to get pregnant. I will try not to be too long-winded.

James and I got married in October of 2006, and about six months later, in April 2007, we started trying to conceive. Like many people, we were under "high school health class illusion". Let me debunk some of these common myths right now.

"It only takes one"--FALSE. Your sperm count needs to be a MINIMUM of 20 million per ML. Furthermore, those 20 million need to be SWIMMING (motile), NORMAL (morphology), and FAST. If your sperm count is much less than this, not only will it be difficult to get pregnant, but some of the common interventions, (clomid, intrauterine insemination), might not be an option for you.

"You can get pregnant at any time during your cycle, even when you have your period"--FALSE. There is only about 3 days (5-7 at the most) that you can get pregnant during your cycle. If you don't have sex during one of those 3 days, your chances are very low.

"You can get pregnant even if your partner pulls out"--TRUE and FALSE. If the vast majority of the ejaculation is not getting deposited at the cervix, it is true that your chances are not very good. However, most men don't have the self-control to pull out completely before ejaculating, so it is POSSIBLE (though highly unlikely) for some of the small amount of semen to cause pregnancy.

There are also a number of misconceptions surrounding trying to conceive in general. You always hear the stories about people who "it only took once", or "we got it on the first try", looking at their virile husbands adoringly. You don't really hear the stories of people (like us) who it took years, literally, to have one child.

So to get back to the main story, when James and I starting trying to conceive, we were under the illusions of high school health class and the societal skew, and we thought it would happen right away.

But we didn't "get it on the first try", or on the second, or the third. To be honest, our (my) reasons for wanting a baby at that point were not good ones. I was scared of starting a career--I wanted a way out. So after about 3-4 months of trying with no luck, I sort of thought to myself: "I need to face myself, maybe this is "happening for a reason", etc . . . so in July or so, we decided to wait a while before we started trying again.

And things got better for us, and I got a job, and in January of 2008, we started "trying again". Now, I knew more, I was charting my cycles using Fertility Friend. And we tried. And my cycles looked normal, I appeared to be ovulating. And we tried. And we tried.

During the summer, James got a semen analysis done. Guess what? He IS amazing and verile. Remember our previous sperm count conversation? Need at least 20 million per ML? He had 160 million per ML. And 60% of them were motile. He was off the charts virile in almost every way. And so we tried some more. But still we weren't getting pregnant.

Finally, in July of 2008, I got my first positive pregnant test. We were in France at the time, visiting Ophelie--I couldn't believe it. We were pregnant. But you know what? Two days later my period came.

Some time after this, I started to undergo testing with my doctor. We did an Heterosalpingram--ie, we poured dye into my uterus to see if my tubes were open and my uterus looked normal--and it did.

I started working as a Middle School teacher in the fall, and we decided to put any more testing on hold for a little while so I could focus on school. And still we tried, but now it had been over a year--our hearts didn't hold the hope it once did--trying felt different. I stopped thinking as much about it--but still my heart ached.

In January 2009, we started to see a specialist, a Reproductive Endocrinologist. He tested me for everything--tested my hormones on cycle day 2 and on cycle day 21, everything looked normal.

Somewhere in here we went to visit Lauren in Glasgow, I guess in February, and I again had a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage). At the time, I was too distracted with work and the trip--I hadn't charted that month, but my period was a week late and on the trip I was emotional and exhausted. When my period finally came, it seemed like a relief from the endless PMS. It wasn't until later, looking back at my charts, what was normal for me that I realized what must have happened. And still we tried.

But at least now we had our doctor--he finally recommended a Laparoscropy--surgery into my stomach, where he could look at my uterus with a little camera.

So in April, on my week break from school, we reported to the surgery center, and I had to take off my wedding ring for the first time since James had put it on my finger several years before. I trembled in my gown, and was led into a room where I promptly remember nothing else until waking up.

And finally we had a diagnosis. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome--cysts on my ovaries that were preventing my eggs from fully developing before they ovulated. The symptoms of this are excessive body hair, irregular cycles, and being slightly overweight. I had none of them, save the body hair, ;-) My hormones (the blood tests we'd done earlier) didn't show it either. But pictures don't lie, and I could see them for myself--my ovaries looked swollen and weird--I wasn't able to see the individual eggs like on a normal ovary.

There were a number of options, but some would cost us. In CT, only diagnosis of infertility is covered, not treatment. If we went down certain avenues, we would end up paying for every doctors visit, every test, every treatment, out of pocket. So we first went with trying the medication Glumetza, a form of Metformin. It is a diabetes medication that is used, off-label, to reduce the effects of polycystic ovarian sydrome. So, in the middle of May, we started taking it.

And in the middle of June, I got my second positive pregnancy test. We were both worried and excited, and I wanted to get my levels tested to make sure everything looked okay--especially progesterone, which is responsible for keeping your period away. But I got the test on Friday, and we wouldn't be able to go for our first appointment until Tuesday, after my period was already due. I was worried, so I started to use progesterone cream. See, in all this time I'd done a lot of my own research and studying, and had a lot of resources now at my disposal.

So when they did finally test me, everything looked good! I was really pregnant, and by then I'd even missed my period. James and I started to think that this might really be happening.

But the next week rolled around and our beta numbers (HCG) which measure the pregnancy hormone, were not going up fast enough. They did an ultrasound at 6 weeks, and found only a sac. We did a confirmation one the next week--still just a sac--it was a blighted ovum.

Again I found myself taking off my rings in the surgery center, for a dilation and cerclage--taking out the "false pregnancy". Again I shook--this time even more violently, in my robe. Again I woke up, this time crying, unable to dress myself, for being overwhelmed.

And now, suddenly, it was July--and we had to wait before we tried again. But time passed, and we did try again, and with the medication. I had yet another suspected chemical pregnancy in October--by now I was used to it--recognized the symptoms . . . and still we tried.

Finally in November, I came across a number of articles pointing out the parallels between polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes and gluten intolerance. I had suspected for a long time that my relationship with gluten was too close for comfort--I craved it in a way I craved no other food. But I never thought I could give it up. But the stars aligned and after attending the Thanksgiving Yan Xin Qigong Event, I suddenly decided. I was being gluten free. And it was that easy.

And within a day or two my cravings stopped. And after a week I realized that my normally bloated, round, stomach had magically flattened. And I started to think there might be something to this. And that very first cycle, I got my third positive pregnancy test--but again, my period came the next day--chemical pregnancy number four. And the very next cycle, wouldn't you know it, I got pregnant again. But the pregnancy test was so light that I couldn't help but doubt, and--chemical pregnancy number five.

And in February--again, the very next cycle, I got pregnant again. And I was lucky because I already had an appt with my doctor on the very day that I got the positive test. And we tested my hormones right away--and I INSISTED on progesterone suppositories. My progesterone always measured on the low end of normal but something was clearly wrong as my period seemed determined to come regardless of me being pregnant.

And I started taking the suppositories, and I kept taking the Glumetza, and I kept being gluten free.

And that is this babies' story. So it's not always easy for everyone. Me and this baby fought for each other, tooth and nail, and it was a well-earned battle to announce it on Facebook. It wasn't a surprise, or sudden, or shocking. I earned this.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Amazing Growing Stomach

So the reaction when showing off my stomach to family has been that I pull up my shirt and say: "Look, there's a belly!" And they say: "Well stop sticking it out!"

I'm NOT sticking it out, people!

Anyway, as you can see, it has grown over the last month and a half:

Who knew

It's going to take a few posts to unpack the wonderful/shellshocked event that was Mother's Day, but let me just talk about a few reactions:


On Saturday, we went to see James' sister in a Belly Dancing show in Hartford, which was really enjoyable--James' sister was amazing and beautiful. When we got there, we hugged her and wished her a Happy Mother's Day and she said: "Happy Mother's Day to YOU!", and I said, "Oh, uh, thanks!"

And the show went on, and it was amazing, and when it was over, we hoped to catch his sister alone (without his Mom there), and as we were getting in our car, ready to leave, we saw her getting in HER car, and I said: "Ooo, let's tell her!"
And so we ran over, and James said: "Guess what, Adrienne's pregnant!"
And his sister said: "I KNEW it!"
And I said: "What, how did you know?"
"I could just TELL. That's why I wished you a Happy Mother's Day!"
Hahaha, okay psychic Mother-of-five, I guess I'm just an open book.


Then the next day, we were eating lunch with my family (this is before we told them), and I was getting REALLY into eating. I was LOVING my sandwich (homemade dill hummus, avocado, spinach, tomato, onion--it was just damn good), and then I proceed to continue to eat avocado with dill hummus and potato chips for what I GUESS was an unreasonable amount of time, because somewhere in the middle there, my Aunt Lu was like: "Geez, what are you eating for two?"

(Sheepish/denying expression on my face but I couldn't look at her--but I didn't want her to spoil the surprise).


Next day, after we told James Mom, she said: "Well, I did wonder."
And I was like: "WHAT? Why?" Again, it was the eating.

Flashback to the day before, we had gone out to an early dinner with her, Natalya, Andrew, and some of Natalya's friends to celebrate her graduation (she got her PHD, SERIOUSLY), and James' Mom and I shared three dishes: Sesame Tofu, Mustard Greens with Soybeans, and Bok Choy with black Mushrooms. And it was REALLY good. Long after James and his Mom had stopped and slowed their eating, I plowed on to finish, not only all three dishes but all the rice too.

James' Mom said: "When you reached over James to have the rest of my rice, I wondered whether you might be pregnant. You were so furtive!"


Wow, I guess I am just too easy to figure out. Apparently I am enjoying food and eating more than I'd realized. I didn't really think I was eating that much more than usual but I guess I'm totally crazy.

Anyway, more about this very fun day later.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Really though, No one says it better than Mariclare

I received the following Email from Mariclare last night (a few days after our magical dinner):

"I just wanna say that I can't stop thinking of how happy I am for you. I know you've wanted this forever. I'm just so so happy for you. I really do kind of feel like this baby is a part of my family too. Like all of your friends are really just extended family to this baby. That's how I feel. Like I already care about him/her so much. I was shocked at first but now I'm just really happy for you. Just really happy. Like it's bringing all of our friends together too, into this big, tighter family community. LOL. Am I out of line? I mean I know the baby really is yours but idk. Do you know what I mean?"

Yeah Mariclare, you are out of line!! Stop loving my baby so much! Hehe, just kidding, love away dear friend.

I love my Friends

Jessie was visiting this week, and it was quite delightful to have her. Her first morning at our house, we left early for our midwife appointment, and as we pulled back into the driveway, James turned to me excitedly and said: "Let's tell her right now, okay?"
"Sure!" I said. So we came inside and there she was on the couch, playing Wii Mario (because, really, what else would one be doing at 9:30 in the morning), and I said: "Hey, we had an appointment."
"With a midwife!" James added very proudly.
Her face quickly broke into joyfulness: "Are you pregnant?" We nodded and smiled, she jumped off the couch with squeals and hugs, and the rest of the day was punctuated with those same exclamation point noises and shrieks, along with things like: "OMG you are going to be a Mommy!" "THERE'S A BABY INSIDE YOU!", etc.

Later that night, Jessie and I met up with Katie, and went to her house to hang out. They had bought beer and I had bought food, and was on an eating binge like no other. Katie asked me if I wanted a beer, and I said: "No thanks," and then a few minutes later: "Guess what?"
"I'm pregnant."
"OMG seriously? Ahhh! I am so happy for you!!" We collapsed into almost little-girlish giggles, the three of us, and they couldn't stop talking about it--calling me Momma, Jessie gathering me in her arms like a baby for a picture of "Her Holding Adrienne and the Baby," them making fun of me for my eating binge--saying I was eating for two ("Yeah, but one of us is only the size of a mouse.").

A while later I went home to collect James so he could go out to dinner with us, and we arrived at Willimantic Brewery, to gather with Jessie, Katie, Chris Henegan, and later to be joined by Mariclare. As we settled and got our drinks, I did the "Guess what?" game to Mariclare as well:
"I'm pregnant." At first she thought I was kidding, and as the reality sank in she became more and more joyful and shrieking--and it soon went around the whole table--the joy.
And Mariclare looked at James and I and said: "You guys are going to be parents!"
And apparently this was too much for Katie--she collapsed into nearly hysterical sobbing for a second as we all looked over in astonishment. I thought she had been poisoned by her food at first, asking: "Are you okay, oh my God!?"
But when she was able to compose herself a bit, she said it was just seeing the two of us together like that, James' proud grin, knowing we would be parents. The happiness miracle was just too much for her.
James could handle all these girl hormones since he was the glowing father, and Chris just rolled with it, leaning back in his chair, relaxed and smiling.
Mariclare said that she felt like she was pregnant, too--that this wasn't just changing our lives, it was changing all our lives.
"We are ALL pregnant," Jessie said. And in a sense it was true--this is our first baby, among my friends--and it will be loved so deeply. We are all pregnant.

The moral of this story--I love my friends. My protective secret curtain is being pulled back SO joyfully that I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Another symptom I forgot to mention is that pregnancy makes your hair and nails grow like crazy! Mine had been so long that I was accidentally scratching James all the time, and finally yesterday I actually got out nail clippers and an Emory board--this is completely unheard of for me--usually I chew my nails off, or they break off, and are constantly at different lengths and chipping and stuff.

Well, I am now the proud owner of ten beautiful nails of equal length. No, they aren't painted, but they are still (relatively) clean and well-trimmed. Go me, go me...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I am thrilled to announce that James and I FINALLY found a midwife and we love her!!

Not only does she do homebirths, but she lives right in our town, literally 5 minutes from our house. She was so cute and bubbly, had over 10 years of experience, had a backup plan/doctor in case of a hospital transfer situation--she was just awesome in every way!

I love that she is her whole business--when I call her phone, she answers. When I have an appt, it is with her--and get this--she will come to MY house! Or I can go to hers! What a great excuse to clean my house once a month (at least). Lately I've really been trying to search for a personalized "doctor" experience, and let me tell you, it is difficult to find in this day and age! But James and I both unanimously loved her.

She is NOT covered by our insurance, but her fee is so reasonable that it is probably less than we would end up paying through co-pays and deductible fees with an insured person anyway. And, to me, it is so worth it to have the home-birth I want.

In my head I have been building this vision of having my baby at home for probably over a year now, and I have fallen in love with every part of it. When we were having so much trouble finding someone who would attend a home-birth, I tried to imagine my vision changing with each midwife we met with, and it just didn't seem right. I did NOT want to be driving to Hartford Hospital in the heat of labor, and I sure as hell didn't want to give birth there--their C-section rate is like 1 in 4! I don't want to be a statistic.

I have worked hard to change my vision of birth from the scary televised perception of it--to realize that birth is normal, that our bodies know what to do, that trust and the release of fear can go way farther than an epidural. Now I look forward to the transformational natural birthing experience and something in my gut told me, DEEPLY, that I would not find it at the hospital.

So James and I are both beyond thrilled. Our first (real) appt. with her is on Thursday, she will do family history and all kinds of other things with us. I am so excited.

Any nay-sayers--Watch the "Business of Being Born", and then we'll talk.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I just made this "Egg McMuffin with Cheese", which is in quotes because every aspect of it was fake, considering it was vegan and gluten-free.

The egg was made of tofu baked (fried) with a baste of coconut oil, gluten-free soy sauce, maple syrup, salt, hot sauce (just a little), and nutritional yeast.

The "muffin" was these awesome (gluten free, vegan) "English Muffins" made by Ener-G.

The "cheese" was fake vegan cheese--but this kind that actually melts.

So after I baked (fried) the tofu in the oven for like an hour, flipping it every 15 mins or so and applying more baste, I eventually took slices of fresh tomato and laid them over the slices of tofu and baked it for like 5-10 more mins.

Meanwhile, I toasted the "muffin", and then sprinkled it with the vegan cheese, and then also put it in the oven for the cheese to melt.

And then I just put the tofu/tomato on the cheesy muffin, sprinkled a little more nutritional yeast, and walah, a vegan Egg-McMuffin.

OMG it was SO SO SO good. I can't even express HOW GOOD it was. If I had another English Muffin-y thing I would have eaten another one, and normally I try not to have too much of that fake gluten-free bread stuff.

I just want to make sure any readers understand that this is NOT a healthy recipe. Coconut oil is full of saturated fats--and while in its raw, uncooked form, it does have some benefits (raising good cholesterol which then fights bad cholesterol), once you heat it, these benefits are lost.

And since pretty much every other ingredient (besides the tomato) was 100% fake and super processed, there is ZERO argument for this being a healthy recipe. Trust me, it doesn't matter that it is vegan and gluten free. I think health wise, it is probably on the same level as a sausage egg mcmuffin (from McDonalds). I wouldn't even compare it to a regular egg-and-cheese muffin because I'm pretty sure those are healthier.

But I can say with pretty much complete abandon: I DON'T CARE. It was DELICIOUS, and I will definitely be making this recipe again.

We'll see what "after effects" I have to endure from eating all this fat and fake $hit, though . . . but oh man was it good.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

14 Days to Go!

Only 14 days until I hit trimester 2! Technically, trimester 2 starts at 13 weeks, 4 days. I feel like I will finally be able to breathe a little easier.

In other news, James and I did manage to *almost* clean up the kitchen and living room in anticipation of seeing our dear cousin Doug tonight. I am so excited to see him!! James said he wants to tell him that I'm pregnant. :-D There wouldn't be any other explanation for my complete lack of drinking--usually Doug can convince just about anyone to indulge heavily.

But, now I can be the designated driver, so hopefully James will have plenty of fun tonight--he is really funny when he's a little drunk. :-)

Happy May Day!

So it is May--I can't believe how slow/fast the time has gone. I will be 12 weeks on Tuesday, and as I get closer and closer to the 2nd trimester the more I want to plan a freaking party for that day or something.

Anyway, along these same lines, I am on my last sleeve of progesterone suppositories. Progesterone is the delightful little drug that has kept this pregnancy from heading the way all of the others have gone: IE, it keeps me pregnant.

My doctor assured me that once I got to 12 weeks or so, the placenta would be functioning so efficiently that the progesterone suppositories would be like drops of water in the ocean: IE, I won't need them anymore.

Of course as you might have been able to observe already, I am rather anxious and of course worried about stopping the progesterone suppositories.

So I attempt to control my nervousness through excessive planning. I was taking the suppositories every 12 hours, but over the last week or so, I have stretched it to 18, 20, 22 hours. Starting tonight I will only be using them once a day. That will last for one more week, and then I will be done.

Honestly I'm sure it will be fine, but what kind of a mother would I be if I wasn't a LITTLE worried? Well, no kind at all.
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