Sunday, November 30, 2008



Well there is definitely something changing there, even if it's not clearly a pregnancy bump! It's pleasing to see some definite progress since 8 weeks as I've been paranoid the past week or so that really I'm not pregnant at all. I had DH take a picture of me using my abs and "sucking it all in", useful proof that that is still possible and it's not all in my imagination. Hopefully next time we do photos it will really be a bump, but if this is anything like past experiences it won't be!
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Wheat free pastry (=mince pies)

I spotted some wheat free all purpose baking flour in the supermarket at a fairly crazy price, but decided I had to try it. When I got it home and actually read the packet it suggested xanthan gum be used in certain quantities as a binder, which I didn't have. I figured I'd give it a try anyway and used a supremely simple recipe containing flour, icing sugar, butter and a bit of water. I was impressed, no complaints about the pastry at all and our lunch guests who had never experienced the British tradition of mince pies seemed to enjoy them. The pastry was on the flaky side, but no more so than many mince pies are and it was pretty light. Next time I will try another recipe that takes a little more time, it has an egg in it, so the binding thing might be less of a problem.

How to tell the sex of a baby?

I asked Sausage Boy this today. His answer was so funny, he said by the length of their hair, boys have short hair, girls have long hair. We explained to him that if this was the case, he was a baby girl and Banana Girl was a baby boy. We asked what he has that Banana Girl doesn't and he provided us with the correct answer, but seemed entirely bemused that the same might apply to a baby, so we asked him if he had grown any other body parts since he was born, had he produced any new fingers or a nose perhaps, this resulted in lots of giggles and he's now all set to determine the sex of the baby after birth!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Going wheat free

There, I've said it, I really am doing it!

This is a fairly surprising move for me, I wouldn't say I'm a disbeliever in food allergies or intolerances, as quite obviously they do exist, but I generally tend to feel that they are not as common as people make out.

Last week I was saying to DH that it felt like my body wasn't metabolising food properly, that I felt I was eating enough, yet my muscles still felt fatigued after very little activity - I can only recall having felt like that once before, which was after having flu aged 14, which is 15 years ago now! This time I had no illness to blame and it felt different and beyond the fatigue I've experienced in previous pregnancies.

Then I was reading a book that is quite extreme when it comes to managing pregnancy with the aim of the best birth outcomes, it's mostly based on Indian traditions. Amongst many other dietary restrictions, avoiding wheat was mentioned, the reasons started to ring bells in my head as to how I was feeling, so I've been mulling it over and have finally decided to go for it.

I don't know how easy of difficult this will turn out to be, I'm not a big wheat eater anyway, in terms of obvious wheat like bread (which I barely eat at all), but I'm finding it crops up in all sorts of processed foods. Thankfully we live in an era where plenty of wheat free alternatives are available, I've found some really good crackers that are really tasty, much yummier than the mainstream alternatives, I have a horrible suspicion that they fill you up less as both yesterday and today when I had them for lunch I was grazing all afternoon!

The most frustrating is going to be Christmas food, I love some of the traditional British items, particularly mince pies and christmas pudding. I'm sure there are wheat free pastry recipes out there, but it will be an experiment for me and I know bad pastry can ruin a mince pie. If it comes to the crunch I'll be eating a serving of mince in a bowl with a squirt of cream! I haven't searched for a wheat free version of christmas pudding, I suspect if I did, then it would require suet, which doesn't seem to be available here. Christmas cake bothers me less, but it's so much of a tradition that I feel I do want to make it, putting the marzipan and icing on is a faff, but it's part of the run up to Christmas!

Eek, I just realised, I really have to sort most things out by the middle of next week. We are going to Las Vegas for a week, leaving on 10th December. We get back, have one free day (full of preschool/kindergarten stuff) then my sister arrives. I suppose I might be able to convince her to watch the kids so I can take a shopping trip and then rope her into wrapping presents in the evening!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This is really silly, but in the last week or so I've become really paranoid that I'm not pregnant, or that this pregnancy is not viable, but hasn't miscarried of it's own accord. By this time in both my previous pregnancies I'd had an ultrasound, it's my choice not to have had one this time and I stick by my reason to make that choice, which is that we have no doubt over dates, being fractionally more accurate isn't necessary and also that routine ultrasound has been found my many large studies to not improve pregnancy outcomes and potentially to worsen them and it has been suggested that this is due to stress caused by thinking there might be a problem and then having to wait to have it confirmed that it isn't.

One example of this is a not insignificant number of pregnancies, about 3% are found to have a cyst in the baby's brain called a choroid plexus cyst, they are much more common in pregnancies where the foetus has Down Syndrome (and possibly other triploidies), but the numbers work out such that a finding of this alone in the 2nd trimester isn't an indicator at all, but it is enough to worry you! It turned out that Banana Girl had these, but we weren't told, the scan that found that was done in Korea, we knew there was something as they called a doctor in and then another, but when they eventually told us everything was fine, we believed them.

When we moved back to the UK I got copies of my notes, but the writing was small and I never read them in detail, everyone in the UK seemed content with our verbal communication that things were ok so no one spotted it whilst she was still in utero. I stumbled across the notes when she was a few months old and found the info out and googled for more info, well at that point, it was obvious she was fine. I was tempted to feel angry with the doctors in Korea, but in the end I was glad, it confirmed to me why I'd planned not to have ultrasounds, I'd had them because I'd been suffering quite a lot of abdominal pain (turned out to be from my kidneys), so there was a reason for it.

On balance I think I still do want to know everything, I don't want my caregivers to shield information from me and I will be asking for copies of any test results. My theory is, that if I have a test, then whilst at that time I'm happy to know the results are normal, a month down the line if I'm experiencing a particular symptom, it's useful to be able to look back and say, oh, that number was quite near the end of the range, maybe this symptom is caused by that now being out of range. I've had occasional blood tests say I'm anemic, so for me being told it's normal isn't all that helpful, it could be that it's a tiny bit in range and I still need to keep a close eye on what I eat, or it could be well into range and I can relax a bit.

At this stage of pregnancy, when there is no day to day feeling of the baby, even having heard or seen the heartbeat once isn't a complete reassurance each day, of course there is no such thing as certainty and I can see why people do end up renting or buying their own doppler so they can keep checking, even though the medical people advise against it. One thing I can rest on is that God is in charge, if things go bad I can trust He is doing it for a reason even though I know I would find that very hard and probably be angry with Him for a while.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bump - 8 weeks


There is nothing good to say about this picture! At a little past 8 weeks, I've lost my toned stomach and old stretch marks are standing out a mile. I certainly think I'm justified in feeling fat and frumpy. I'll photograph again at 12 weeks (which is actually only 8 days away I was so slow posting the picture), but I think it will be at least 16 weeks before it's a bump not a fat tummy, and maybe not even then.
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Sausage Boy dancing!





Their white ribbons are third place - which in there heat was last place, they danced against a couple who looked at least a year older, maybe two and a brother and sister couple who looked around 9 or 10. Sausage Boy is 5 and a half and his partner is not quite 5. Looking at the pictures I'm reminded of a feeling I had, but was unable to verbalise, which is that they look like they are in the right place, they look so comfortable dressed up and with their hair done. Things didn't go great on the dance floor but they weren't stunned by the space and the bright lights either. Currently they are being coached by the uncle of his partner, who's 18 and with his dance partner is youth regional champion. Sausage Boy adores him, which is great as he is a good role model as a dancer AND as a gentleman.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Feeling low

I'm not having a good day today, I can't stay on task at all and as usual am exhausted. This really affects my mood and all of a sudden I'm verging on the point of thinking there is nothing good in life.

I did manage to cook dinner, though with a few splutters and completely managing to waste the first packet of sauce mix I used. I used tinned salmon, which I haven't done in years and it was pretty tasty, different to what I remember from the UK, it's Alaskan Sockeye, so that's hardly surprising. The tin was trying to tell me that it had lots of good omega 3s in it, so I might add it to my repetoire slightly more often.

I have 2 packets of fresh mince in the fridge and my mind did a total blank on what you can cook with mince, other than lasagne and I really didn't want to do that. If I get round to it I should start off the meat in the morning in the crockpot, then finishing the bits off to turn it in to lasagne shouldn't be so daunting. I have a vague recollection of making lasagne about a week after Sausage Boy was born, but then again my memory is I felt a heck of a lot better then than I do now! I was probably getting as much sleep, if not more and no one expected anything of me. Today looked more like me being a disaster for not dragging myself out of bed, then taking Banana Girl to gymnastics, heading to a store where I was looking for an item I found impossible to describe so I couldn't ask where I might find it, somehow ended up buying a bookcase for a space that when I got home I discovered was imaginary. Then heading to Sausage Boy's school for a Thanksgiving meal his class had prepared. Hardly surprising that by the time I get home cooking dinner is the last thing on my mind, 5 and a half years ago cooking dinner was the only thing on my mind, the only thing to gauge the success of a day by!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We had a frustrating weekend, we danced well, but placed badly - and by badly, I mean last! My partner has more experience of competivite dancing and our coaches are saying the same thing, which is that sometimes, when you are judging and ranking things in order you do get bad days. It worked out for us 3 weeks ago at regionals, there were 2 judges that didn't like us, but 3 that placed us fairly meant we got an ok result. This week we were out of luck, 3 judges out of 5 didn't like us, 1 was still lower than we hoped and the other gave us 1st place in 2 dances and 3rd in another - which was one we mucked up in the middle of and that I certainly feel weakest on.

We have class tonight, so we'll have to see what our coach says, our next competition is out of town, which might be good for us, different judges and different couples to dance against. At the moment I feel my dancing is still getting better, I have less energy, which affects practice, but when the adrenaline is flowing at a comp I seem to get through fine. There are still a lot of technical improvements I can make, but at some point my altered shape will start to make that harder.

Sausage Boy competed for the first time and it was the cutest thing ever, I haven't downloaded the pictures yet and they don't really capture it, but despite being the worst dancers by a long way (the next youngest couple was probably at least a year older and has been on the competition circuit a year or so), they got the biggest clap or anyone when they collected their 3rd place ribbons. It was a real lesson to me as how much things can deteriorate on the dance floor, which I've not really accepted before.


Andrew had some good emails today, some bad, one was telling him he got a promotion and thus a slight pay rise (good!), the other was asking him if he'd be able to spend 2 weeks in India no sooner than May, which forced him into announcing that I was expecting.

I wonder if we/he will ever make that trip to India, for all sorts of reasons, a lot of work he does gets transferred over there eventually, then there is a cross over where he is working with people there and it can be challenging communicating with the time differences. Him taking a trip has been discussed several times and taking us with him has been agreed, however I'm not that sure I'd want to spend a month in Bangalore!

One sixth!

If I got my calculations right, it's 6 weeks since we found out I was expecting, which assuming 36 weeks of pregnancy means we are 1/6 of the way there, which is a pretty good number in my book! It's also potentially getting closer to when sickness and exhaustion might relent a little bit.

I'm coming to the conclusion that a little bit of caffeine may well be better for me than trying to avoid it completely. Not that I was trying to avoid it completely, but as tea was making me sick, I've cut out that (very wierd as tea was my lifeline in both my other pregnancies). I'm not a regular coffee drinker anyway, though it's not making me sick this time. My other caffeine source was an almost daily can of coke, not great and I was already working on cutting down and was at roughly every other day.

A recent article on the BBC was urging pregnant mothers to cut down on caffeine, this is a tough one for me as the problem it causes, low birth weight, happened with Sausage Boy and it's hard for me to rationalise whether I did anything to cause that, or was it just random.

Before I got pregnant, I'd bought a supplement that contains berry extracts and caffine, so it's supposed to give you energy and when I tried it I found it did help. I decided last night that I'd take it this morning and I've gone from the typical dead on my feet feeling to ready to face the day. I don't want to do this every day, but I think it's going to be better on balance for the whole family if I take it at least some days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dead in my feet....

....would be a good description of how I feel right now. Fair enough tiredness is normal at this stage, but it does make me feel guilty about how that impacts the rest of the family.

We had brunch at woman's bible study this morning and a couple of people shared testimonies, both of them were born into horrific family situations, it's amazing to see how God has work through that and brought them to where they are now, but I could help but hear the devastating effect actions of their parents and possibly grandparents impacted the next generations. It would be easy to get all cosy and thing well at least I'm not an alcoholic, but I flipped to thinking the opposite way, how much is my behaviour now, and in the past, effecting my kids? Apparently one of the women had seen Nathanael last week and asked him how Mummy was and he had just kind of shrugged his shoulders.

Today when I picked them up from preschool/kindergarten, it was all I could do to stay awake driving the car. By the time we got home, I was in no state to start thinking about the contents of their school bags - get there coats hung up, lunch bags in the kitchen and school bags in their homes was about it. Thankfully Sausage Boy announced he had only one piece of paper in his bag, it was a letter from a girl in his class, at which point I did have the sense to ask him to show it to me and it really was just a note she'd sent him, it could have been an invite or something, but Banana Girl's bag is bulging - I do feel her teacher is sending home a bit too much paperwork, the arts and crafts she's done is fine, but she sends home a full newsletter every week (Banana Girl is only there for 2 days!), which might have some essential information buried deep within it. Add in that we get fundraisers (we always get two copies), school newsletter (same problem), homework (for BG, not SB) and I'm really losing the plot and feeling like a bad parent!

One of the activities Banana Girl got sent home was all about propositions - great, of course she should learn those, but personally I don't think formal learning is the way to teach that to a 3 year old, but by continual repetition of them in day to day activities, despite being a late talker, she knew them all anyway, I don't feel the need to cut out pictures and have her stick them places to prove that!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Natural C-sections

In the UK there has been some press about an obstetrician who calls his c-section technique "natural". In my mind there is nothing natural about a c-section, I'd prefer the word optimal, but as natural is the phrase he coined, I'm using it so the connection is made if anyone wants to search for information about it.

Here is an article from The Guardian,, as you might expect in the press, it focuses on the experience not the medical facts. However there are lots about the experience which would suggest that the medical facts are also an improvement on the typical situation post c-section.

The real big one for me is delaying cord clamping - the number of things that have been associated with immediate cord clamping is scary, to the extent it's not just a bonus if you have a healthy full term baby, but something that other than in very rare circumstances is NECESSARY for premature and sick babies. However there are still not many hospitals doing it routinely and I wouldn't be surprised if there are many doctors who haven't even heard of it.

Sadly there are some aspects of birth that are dismissed by doctors as mad desires of those desiring natural childbirth. However I'm coming to see that delayed cord clamping and to a lesser extent some kind of skin to skin contact is as helpful to the prospects of the baby as the existance of medical treatments to help when there are genuine problems. According to Nick Fisk some of the problems that require the baby to be admitted to special care can actually be prevented by his methods, yet the conventional wisdom is to whisk the baby away in case these problems happen.

One of the problems I can foresee is that the perceived wisdom is that giving drugs to separate the placenta from the uterus and to cause the uterus to contract down, which is essential at a c-section, require the cord to be clamped. This is in fact a myth, however just right now I'm struggling to find the indepth medical information on this, which I know exists, I've read it before, but didn't bookmark.

I'm planning to put together a document with all these details that I can hand to a doctor to explain why I'm asking for it, I hope that by providing the information with the links to peer reviewed papers in reputable journals I can make them rethink the ideas they have probably had since medical school, rather than see me as some crazy woman who wants to turn a c-section into a natural birth type experience. A good experience helps, but it's not fundamentally what I'm looking for, I'm looking to reduce the chances of all sorts of things and give my baby a good start in life, in particular I want to reduce the chances of it needing to go to the NICU.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I'm having a really dilemma right now about care for this pregnancy. In the end it comes down to probabilities, which are almost impossible to put a finger on.

I know two things, I have absolutely no intention of having a vaginal birth in hospital, this is both a psyhcological thing and a personal view of birth. First of my last hospital birth was so horrific, I think I'd freak out and lose the plot and the very idea of birthing in hospital, let alone actually doing it. I also feel that going into hospital and exposing yourself to things like continuous monitoring is opening up a big can of worms unnecessarily.

Problem is, I've planned homebirths twice before and both times ended up in hospital, which leaves me not all that confident of it working out this time and I'm fearful of putting all my hopes on to that, then something changing and that not being an option and having to transfer to an unfamiliar hospital, unfamiliar doctor etc.

On the otherhand, I really do not want to get prenatal care from a doctor, I don't like all that medicalisation and don't want to have to fight battles all the way about not getting lots of the tests they want. Even if I was certain now this would end in an elective c-section I still wouldn't want prenatal care from a doctor. However there are variables when having a c-section, I really want to have the opportunity to express my opinions on those and discuss them with a doctor, rather than take pot luck at the end - all of which is rather a clash of needs and I'm completely stuck as to what to do.

I think in the end, that for now, I have to put this on hold, progression of the pregnancy will probably give me a better idea of the chances of a good outcome and I don't need to have these things settled now. It's just had for me to stick to that, I generally like to fix things to know what is going on, to have my plans all worked out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It's obvious that as this pregnancy progressed I will have some readuced mobity. Some people do us a scooter in the house, but I think that is too restrictive. So I'm thinking of getting a wheelchair, self propelled by me, stairs will be a challenge unless we are able to get some coverage under insurance. I suppose crutches will be the first thing, I'll wait until I need them, but I don think it will be long. Actually sitting in said wheelchair will be the embarrasing bit will talk about that later

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Yuck, I thought I was starting a migraine yesterday, but it never got bad and was gone by the evening, I think I'll declare that to be "just a headache". Particularly in comparison to today, the headache started mid afternoon, I don't really have much aura but I'm feeling really nauseous, and oddly enough, it does feel different from pregnancy nausea.

When things are like this, I am completely non functional, I can barely sit up to type this, let alone stand up and be up and about. Thankfully I have nothing on this evening and nothing tomorrow that needs preparing for.

However, I am now completely and utterly bored out of my mind, I was dozing earlier in the day, but I'm now wide awake and will be until bedtime. I don't want to try caffeine as it's only an hour and a half away.

Thankfully I very rarely still have a problem the next day, I generally seem to sleep them off, which I know is not average, but it is one blessing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

more on achy legs

I realised I forgot to explain my theory on achy legs, I think what might be going on, is that I'm not consuming enough protein to cope with pregnancy and muscle repair after working out, dancing etc. When I move around my legs are very definitely behaving as if they just don't have any fuel to make them move. Not sure exactly how to deal with this, at lunch time I was trying to think of things I could eat, but everything I came up with repulsed me, so it was back to noodles and satay sauce, which must have moderate amounts of protein in. What I really want is a steak, but I don't want to deal with cooking it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

achy legs

I read somewhere recently that you don't need any extra calories in the first trimester of pregnancy, though I don't recall seeing that anywhere else I've read about nutrition in pregnancy.

My theory is the typical tiredness must come from somewhere, it's probably some kind of indication of the work our bodies are doing.

I also read an article yesterday about people who find it difficult to put on muscle bulk, despite working out. In someways I fall into that category, any greater muscle definition I've gained in the past few months comes from losing weight I gained post hip surgery, despite the fact I've been doing quite a lot of exercise. Not that I've been aiming to gain muscle bulk, but it was interesting to read how you could see if you fell into this category and what the potential reasons might be. Fundamentally it seems I probably don't eat enough, or not of the right kinds of things.

Having had one growth restricted baby, I do want to make sure to eat well throughout, growth problems in the uterus aren't well understood, later on it's thought to be a placental problem and the baby simply can't get enough regardless of what the mother eats, but early on the placenta is still being formed and if eating the right amount of stuff can influence that, then it's something I want to do. But when you're feeling sick a lot of the time, getting enough to eat is challenging, particularly as high protein foods are some of the least appealing for me right now.

I've never been a big milk drinker, but one of the things I did when expecting DD was finding ways to sneak milk into my diet, back in the UK, I ate a lot of Angel Delight, it's an instant dessert that you whisk with milk then leave for 5 minutes. Right now I'm going for hot chocolate with whipped cream. Another advantage to this is that we have vit D enriched whole milk.

There is one caveat that I only just realised, with Sausage Boy, I stuck to my usual very low milk diet (about a half pint or less per week) and he's had no problems with milk. With Banana Girl, she's borderline intolerant to the stuff, we never had a problem when she was breastfeeding, but she gets very mucousy when she consumes too much, but as it's not a complete intolerance or allergy it's not really a big deal, she has soy milk on cereal and occasionally to drink and doesn't appear to miss regular milk, she sometimes has chocolate milk, but doesn't seem to like it that much, just does it to copy big brother. Milk that's been processed such as cheese doesn't seem to bother her. You have to wonder if this is connected, it does seem anecdotally that it's often the mothers who are big milk drinkers who have babies with milk allergies!