The “experts” out there disagree with exactly when the third trimester starts, so I’m just going to go off the math—two-thirds of a 40 week pregnancy is 26.666 weeks and considering today I’m at 26 weeks, 5 days—I’m calling it! Welcome to the third trimester, kids.
I am so happy to be in my third trimester. It hasn’t been a secret that pregnancy hasn’t been fun for me, and I’m thrilled that I’m closing in on the end. Yay! Yippee! Woohoo! I know a lot of people consider the third trimester to be absolutely miserable, and I’m sure it will be no different for me, but it feels a lot more manageable considering the short time frame. In a little over 90 days, this season of my life will be over (and a whole other, crazy adventure begins).
We haven’t really gotten anywhere since my last update with the nursery. We, unfortunately, had a much bigger tax bill than expected so a lot of our nursery budget is getting rerouted to paying Uncle Sam, which means we’re doing a lot more reworking of pieces we have and using hand-me-downs than we had originally planned. Such is life. That’s alright, I don’t think Baby J will mind!
We have a lot of big DIY projects that we need to really get-to-gettin’ on in there. I was desperately hoping that second trimester burst of energy everyone talks about would kick in, but it never came. So I just gotta deal with it and get to work. My biggest project over the next few weeks is sewing curtains. We ordered some blackout liner and beautiful fabric to make curtains to cover up the floor-to-ceiling windows in the room—because I can make nice blackout curtains for so much cheaper myself than buying them.
Craig is in charge of furniture painting. Since we’re using a lot of hand-me-down pieces and pieces thieved from other rooms in the house, we need to do some painting and reworking to make it all work together. Right now, we have a red dresser, a light blue changing table, a black crib and a wood rocking chair in there. It’s a bit crazypants, but we’ll make it work with a few coats of paint.
Honestly, we’re not too stressed about getting the nursery “done” before Baby J shows up. She’ll be sleeping in our bedroom for the first few months in a bassinet, and then we’ll (hopefully) transition her into her room, so we’ve still got a while. Although it would be nice to have the room at least set up as a place to stash all of the accoutrements that come along with a kid.
We made the decision early on that we weren’t going to do a lot of buying for baby (especially before our shower in April). What we don’t get at the shower, we’ll be thrifting and finding on consignment. Of course though, it can be seriously hard to deny buying some (keyword: some) of the adorable clothes and toys out there. We’ve picked up a few cute things here and there.
We also bought our carseat! After days and days and days of research, we found our perfect carseat and managed to find it on mega sale, too. So instead of waiting for someone to (maybe) buy it for us at our shower and shelling out a ton more money, we just bit the bullet and bought it ourselves while on sale. I also found the diaper bag we wanted on clearance during all my carseat research, so I threw that in the cart, too. I need stuff to stop going on sale or there’s not going to be anything left on our registry!
One of the biggest baby purchases for us is going to be a new-to-us car! We’ve been a one-car family since we were married seven years ago (minus a year where we had a second car that we barely used). It’s worked for us as a child-less couple. But we both agreed that we’d feel a lot more comfortable having a second, reliable mode of transportation with Baby J around. Craig works about 35 minutes away from the house, and we live in a rural area sans public transportation, so at the very least, one car would probably be a logistical nightmare for everyday stuff (going to doctor, etc.) and at the worst, could be a disaster in an emergency situation.
Also, after this horrific winter, we made the executive decision that we have to own a four-wheel-drive vehicle to live where we live. Our car is great. And it does great in snow and ice—in the city—but not so much on our very hilly, very curvy, rarely plowed country road. Craig has literally had to call off work for entire weeks at a time this winter because he can’t drive down our country road (even though the highway it connects to is completely clear and dry). Now, we just gotta find the right car before baby gets here! And every time I think about buying a car before baby, I think about this This American Life episode (the third act) where the woman is in labor while she goes to the car dealership to buy a car. I hope we find our car before I’m in active labor.
I’m still dealing with morning sickness, although nothing even close to what it was like a few weeks ago (it’s been an entire two weeks since I threw up—yay!). At my last midwife appointment, she told me I was one of the lucky 1% of pregnant ladies who deals with morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy. I feel special! Although, I would prefer to feel special for some other reason than my consistent queasiness. She also warned me that a lot of women who struggle with morning sickness see a strong resurgence in their third trimester because of all the pressure on the stomach. I guess the benefits of morning sickness never really going away is that when it comes back toward the end, I’m used to it.
Health wise, my midwives are thrilled. My blood pressure is good, I’m gaining weight at a normal clip, and other than my consistent discomfort, I’m doing well. And so is the baby! She’s growing well, has a great heartbeat and is measuring right on schedule. And she’s kicking and dancing a storm up in my belly.
I have my glucose screening next week—which I am not looking forward to. I’ve pretty much figured out how to keep my morning sickness at bay, and part of that is eating as soon as I wake up and not drinking any liquids until my breakfast digests. Drinking anything (water, milk, juice, coffee) before I eat in the morning is an automatic ticket to hugging the toilet, and considering I’m not allowed to eat 12 hours before my screening, and the screening involves downing a cup of sugary drink first thing in the morning (and then hopefully keeping it down for an hour so they can draw blood)—I am not looking forward to it.
Eating wise, I’m doing a lot better than I have been. My appetite is normalizing a bit, and I’m bringing back in some healthier eats. This week, I upgraded from white bread to multigrain bread! Victory! I’ve even eaten real dinners (as in, not cereal) a few times in the past few weeks. I don’t expect I’ll be eating kale salads anytime soon, but I’m thrilled that my diet is trending a bit more normal lately.
My biggest issue, far and away, now (and has been since my last update) is my Symphsis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). As promised by my midwives, it continues to get worse the larger I get. In my last update, I was saying that some days I feel mostly fine, and some days I can’t walk. Now, I just have a baseline amount of pain that doesn’t go away. It’s hard to explain what it feels like. It’s not only pain, but it’s also an incredibly uncomfortable feeling like your legs aren’t connected. It feels almost like, every time you take a step, someone is attached to your leg, trying to pull it out of your hip socket and another person is standing in front of you kicking you in your pubic bone with a steel-toed boot. Pleasant, right?
I have found that a minimal (very minimal) amount of light (very light) activity helps me manage the pain. I have to be very careful not to overdo it, or the pain is can’t-get-out-of-bed bad, but getting up and doing some slow walking for 5-10 minutes every now and again helps seems to keep my joints from getting stiff. I also have to keep my walking to flatter surfaces—stairs, hills and anything that requires me to be on one foot is extremely painful.
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss exercise. Or at least, I miss the idea of exercise. I miss feeling healthy and feeling strong. I miss feeling like I could trust my body to take me anywhere and do (almost) anything. It is so crazy to me that I was healthy and strong enough to do a 40-mile charity walk only a few years ago, and now, I’m barely able to walk a city block without being in pain. I think that’s the biggest emotional challenge I’m struggling with. Honestly, I feel a lot like I did before I started to get healthy. I just feel…yucky. And I’m trying to do the things I know help make me feel unyucky (eating healthier, drinking water, moving more), but there is only so much I can do in my condition. It’s frustrating to want to feel good and there not being much you can do about it. I much preferred when I had the power to make myself feel better.
I know this sounds all really depressing, but I’m actually in very good spirits. Spring is around the corner, I have a healthy baby in my belly, my husband is incredibly good to me—life is good!
Yup. We’ve got one. It’s the same one I mentioned in my last update. We love it! Although, we’ve made the decision not to share it with folks until Baby J is here.
And, you guys may hate me for it, but we’re leaning toward not sharing her name at all online. The online presence of your child is a very personal decision, and it’s something Craig and I have been talking about since we found out I was pregnant. Obviously, we have no way of knowing how we’ll feel about it once our awesome daughter is here, but our plan right now is to really limit her online profile.
Craig and I are both fine with our lives being out there for everyone to consume online, but I feel like part of my job as a parent is to protect my daughter long enough so she can make that decision for herself. Chances are, she’ll be all over the interwebs like the kids are now-a-days, but if she happens to want to be a more private person, we want her to have that as an option. I’m not saying you’ll never see a picture of Baby J or hear any stories about her, but I wouldn’t expect the same level of detail about her day-to-day life as you get about mine. This isn’t a commentary on how anyone else makes this decision about their children—it’s a totally personal, and we’ve figured out what we think will be best for us and our family.
This all being said, Baby J might show up, and we won’t be able to resist posting a million photos of her amazingness to every social media account we own. And considering Craig and I both have family living thousands of miles away, we might have to come up with a more private way (ha! privacy on the internet—like that exists) way of sharing photos and stories of Baby J with far-away family (locked down Facebook accounts? a private blog? old-fashioned letters and prints?).
We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Not only are we headed to a baby fair and tour at our birth center, but we also start our birth classes this weekend! There are a ton of options for how you want to go about learning about birth, at the suggestion of our midwives, we decided on a middle-of-the-road series of classes. It’s a six-week series that will teach us about all kinds of birth options—natural, medicated, and everything in between. It was very important to me to not be in a natural-only or a medicated-only birth class. I’m not ruling out any of my birthing options, and I want to know as much as I can about all the options. I’ve never done this before, and I have no idea how I’ll react to childbirth. So my only idea of a “perfect” birth is one where Baby J comes out healthy. That’s it. And I think pretending that I have control over the process to get there is setting myself up for disappointment. So I figure the best way to get myself prepared for birth is to be educated about all the different directions it could go, instead of getting my heart set on one way or another.
Alright, I think that brings you up to date! I’m gonna go sew some curtains. Have an awesome weekend!
One of my goals before Baby J makes her debut is to get my freezer filled. I’ve talked to quite a few parents, and other than the standard “sleep while you still can!” advice, the nugget of wisdom I’ve been hearing the most is how helpful it is to have a stash of pre-made food in the freezer for those first few weeks and months with a newborn. This is especially important with where we live—it’s not like we can just run out and get takeout or order delivery—if you don’t cook in the country, you don’t eat. And since you all know that I love freezer cooking, this task seemed like an obvious one for me to tackle over the next few months.
Unfortunately though, I just don’t have the stamina or energy to do marathon freezer cooking sessions like I did pre-pregnancy. So instead of stocking the freezer over a single day, my goal is to slowly fill my freezer over the next few months by adding a few dishes every week. Some will be specially made to fill the freezer, others will just be extras leftover from doubling or tripling dinner recipes. I thought it might be fun to show you all what I’m making each week. Feel free to suggest your favorite freezer-friendly recipes and I can slot them into my plan over the next few weeks. Alright, onto this week’s work . . .
With the nasty weather we had this past weekend (please tell me that was the last winter storm of the season!), I was all about some homemade, cheesy, gooey mac and cheese. Craig isn’t eating gluten or dairy right now for health reasons, so I had a ton of mac and cheese all to myself!
I used this recipe, quadrupled it and baked up a bit of it for dinner. The remainder, I popped into three, aluminum foil-covered square baking dishes. I froze them, and then once they were solid, popped out the wrapped mac and cheese blocks up and then stashed them into gallon freezer bags. They’re now ready to just pop back into the square baking dish when it’s time to cook. They’ll make a great main dish with a simple salad on the side later down the road.
The mac and cheese fresh out of the oven was awesome, and I expect it’ll be just as good baked out of the freezer. I know some folks have issues with freezing pasta-based dishes, but I’ve found that just as long as I cook the pasta just shy of al dente, it ends up working just fine out of the freezer.
Other than the mac and cheese, this freezer session was all about using up fruit on its last leg. We’ve been nursing our apple stash since the fall (did you know that in the right conditions, with the right varieties, apples can last months and months in storage?), but they are starting to turn—and no longer very good for fresh eating—so it was time to turn the bushel-or-so we had left into some cooked goodies.
First on the docket for the apples was freezer apple pie filling. Pre-made apple pie filling is a pretty common beginner recipe for canning, but I really couldn’t be bothered to head to the basement and pull out all my cleaned and stored canning gear, so I instead decided to freeze it up using a double version this recipe (reducing the sugar, plus subbing in some maple syrup and brown sugar, reducing the water, upping the spices). I ended up filling five quart-sized bags—which are perfect for an 8″-9″ pie.
Stashing apple pie filling may seem like a weird way to prep for baby, but since Baby J is coming in the summer, and summer and early fall in our family is chock full of pitch-ins and parties, having an easy-to-make, delicious dessert to bring will be awesome. If I’m feeling particularly advanced, I can whip up my own pie crust and have a pie in the oven in a few minutes. Or, if I’m looking for something easier, just put a crumble topping on it and call it good to go. And, if nothing else, we can use it on pancakes, ice cream or oatmeal. Plus, it’s just a great way to plow through a ton of sad looking apples.
Dinner seems like the thing that most freezer cooking focuses on, but I want to hit up all meals, and these muffins are going to be perfect for breakfasts and snacks. Of course, most muffin recipes are really just cake disguised under another name, so I tried to make these a bit healthified. I started out with this recipe, and changed it by using all whole wheat flour, cutting the sugar in half, using kefir instead of buttermilk, coconut oil instead of canola oil, plus adding a cup of raisins. I also added a ton more chopped apples than the recipe calls for (gotta get rid of those apples!). After doubling the recipe and adding more apples, I ended up with about three dozen regular-sized muffins. After they cooled, I stashed them a dozen to a gallon freezer bag and froze them. All they take is a quick trip in the microwave for 30 seconds, wrapped in a paper towel, to be warm and as good as fresh baked!
These are so great! Even though I reduced the sugar, by adding more apples, the muffins still taste nice and sweet. And the soft-baked apple chunks make it feel like you’re biting into apple pie. Yum.
Another fruit I had to use up was a whole bunch of past-their-prime bananas. I sent out a call on Twitter for the best banana bread/muffin recipe out there, and got lots of amazing suggestions! In typical me fashion, I didn’t end up using one particular recipe, but kinda merging a few ideas from different places. The closest recipe I can find to what I ended up doing was this one from King Arthur—although, I used more mashed banana, less sugar, all whole wheat flour, and no cinnamon chips. I also used the leftover crumb/streusel topping from the apple raisin muffins. Because streusel is never a bad thing.
These are quite possibly the best muffins I’ve ever had! With the chocolate chips, they’re definitely more of a dessert muffin, so I’ll probably stick to the apple raisin muffins for breakfast, and keep these guys around for an afternoon pick-me-up with a mug of coffee or tea.
I think that’s a pretty good start to my freezer fill-up! Again, if you have any suggestions of your favorite go-to freezer meals, I’d love to hear them and try them out.