The Halftime Show

Yet another hurdle has been reached, jumped over, and left in the dust. Today is Saturday, which means that I’m one day into a new week. This week, baby BOY and I are in week 21. So if we’re keeping score, we’ve got 19 (hooray!) weeks and 6 days until D-day (delivery day/ due day).

On Wednesday, the little one was measuring in at about 20 weeks, 4 days (instead of 19 weeks, 5 days), which the sonographer told us was just fine since at this point, estimating the fetal age has a good 5-7 day margin of error. Not too shabby. Maybe we’ll have our 10-11-12 baby after all.

We are expecting a lil’ man, which was kind of a surprise, kinda not. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a little boy. Mainly because I want to dress him in little man suits. And before you ask, yes, I would ‘let’ him wear them all the time. I don’t think there is anything cuter than an infant in formal wear.

On the flip side, Jason and I had settled on a solid name for a girl. Complete with a first name that paid homage to both sides of the family, a power-name for the middle name, and a Hebrew name (after my maternal grandmother). Because of this, we were pretty well sold on living in Girl Town. Not the case.

Boy Town looks to be very fun, filled with little boy things. And we are grateful for the opportunity to live there. Our town does have a name, which we’re probably keeping under wraps until closer to the afore-mentioned D-day.

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Gender Bias

No, I am pretty secure in saying that we have no gender bias here. In fact, our little family is rather even-Steven when it comes to that issue. There’s Jason, Abner, and Ebeneezer for the boy’s side, and me, Millie, and Lillith for the girls. True, Abner, Ebeneezer, Millie, and Lillith are all cats and shouldn’t really count toward the family, but they do.

In just under twelve hours, Jason and I are set to discover the gender (or biological gender if we’re being PC) of our much-anticipated new addition. We’d thought about hosting a “Gender Reveal” party, like this one, but the prospect of pulling something like that off in less than a week appealed much less. So we settled for a Facebook Pole. According to our friends, 11 have guessed boy and 11 have guessed girl, so there you are–even-Steven again.

Both Jason and I are über excited to discover if we’re having a boy (in which case we’re really going to have to buckle down and figure out a name) or a girl (in which case we can breathe a sigh of relief because we’ve got the perfect name picked out already). In any case, we’ll keep you updated once we know more!

**Question: What do YOU think we’re having?**

Low-Five For The Negative

At my last prenatal appointment, I was told I needed to undergo yet another round of blood tests. But since I was a mere 14.5-ish weeks along, I had to hold off until weeks 16-18 to actually get the blood drawn.

Let me tell you a little about how blood draws go for me…usually: The phlebotomist  begins to tourniquet my right arm, pokes around with his/her finger to seek out a vein. No deal. I say: I have deep veins. He/She says: Let’s try the other arm. The phlebotomist tourniquets my left arm. Same story. Hands it is. My last two blood draws have seen me get poked three times, twice in the right and once in the left just between my third and forth knuckle.

With a week until my next prenatal appointment, I braved the wait at the Women’s Hospital and took care of business. After two misses (two pokes and you’re out is a fairly standard practice for phlebotomists) I had a new lab tech (what they’re called at my hospital) come out and right away hit a vein in my arm, easy peasy.

This test was no ordinary test. It wasn’t checking my BP (blood pressure) or whether or not I have diabetes. It wasn’t double checking my HIV status or if I’d been exposed to Hepatitis. No, this test was a screening. Something called a Quad Screen. Essentially it helps doctors determine the probability of the baby having some sort of chromosomal or neural tube disorder. According to my OB, there is a 20% chance of having an abnormal or positive test. Of that 20%, only 1% or so will actually have a baby that is born with one of the defects. This includes Trisomy-21 (Down’s Syndrome) as well as Spina Bifida.

Of course we were a little worried about the results. We were weighing our options if we did in fact have a positive result and what that would mean for us. Questions like: Are we prepared (mentally, emotionally) to raise a special needs child? ricocheted between us constantly. It’s hard to imagine, and we stand in awe of those families out there who are raising their beautiful children, who love them unconditionally, and thrive in the face of trials.

Nervously, we went to our appointment this morning. Crossing our fingers for good news. And, after a 30-minute wait in the doctor’s office, hearing that my uterus is currently about a half-inch or so beneath my belly button, and hearing a nice strong heart beat, we had our answer. Negative. Low-Five Tamara and Jason.

What a relief.

Granted, at just under half-way through pregnancy, there are sure to be other things to arise that will cause us to worry. We know and understand this. I think for us, this was a biggie. We’re grateful that our baby is growing normally and is healthy.

Up next: Second Trimester sonogram next week…gender may be revealed. Stay posted.

**Question: What is/was a big worry for you during pregnancy?**

Super Spaghetti

For those of you who know me, know that veggies aren’t really my thing. I’m not a big fan. But, as I am preggers and want to be sure the little chicken is getting all s/he needs nutritionally, I have to eat those veggies I tend to avoid.

Over the last few days, Jason and I have been scouring cookbooks, looking for veggie-rich or full-on vegetarian recipes. The prompt for this was Jason viewing a graphically horrifying video on YouTube about the poor treatment of pigs in slaughter houses. This, added to the affore mentioned baby-essential nutritional value of veggies, led to our experimenting with dinner tonight.

Years ago, even before I moved to Korea, I bought Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook “Deceptively Delicious.” I had never used it before this evening.

Now, I didn’t actually use a recipe from the book, but I did use her puree techniques for two of the veggies I added to our pasta dish.

The purees I made were spinach and zucchini. To prep them for puree, I first steamed about 3.5 cups of baby spinach in a pan with about a tablespoon of water for just under two minutes (until wilted). Then, I put the wilted spinach into the blender. I cut up the zucchini into 1-inch chunks and set them to steam in a make-shift veggie steamer we made with part of our busted rice cooker and a big pot we received as part of a house-warming gift. The zucchini steamed for about 7 minutes. I put the zucchini into the blender with the spinach and set it to puree for roughly 2 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and smooth.

In a pan over medium-low heat, combine 4-5 tablespoons of tomato paste and about a half cup of water. Mix until the water has been fully absorbed into the paste and the constancy is creamy. Pour in a can of stewed sliced (or diced) tomatoes with liquid. Combine.

Season with 1 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp oregano, 2 tsp crushed pepper, and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Originally, I added a dash of both onion and garlic salt, but adding a 1/4 to 1/2 an onion (include in the blender with the spinach and zucchini to puree) and 1-2 cloves of garlic (minced) will bring out a better flavor.

Pour the spinach-zucchini (and onion) puree into the tomato mixture and stir until well-combined. Don’t freak out when the mixture turns to a reddish-brown color.

I used the multicolored rotini–spinach, carrot, and plain flavored. I cooked it in a large pot of well-salted boiling water. After adding the noodles, I turned the heat down from high to medium and allowed the noodles to cook for about ten minutes or until the taste test confirmed readiness.

Finally, I added the noodles to the sauce and mixed the two together. Jason had requested that I include some chunks of zucchini, so I left out three from the puree and cut them smaller and added them at the end.

We made enough for four, and had two servings left over at the end. So tasty, and I even ingested more veggies than I’ve had in the last three days combined. This method of cooking, however “unoriginal,” is such a great way for ME to get my veggies.

In addition to our super pasta, Jason roasted us each two ears of corn. Hooray for nutrient-rich dinner!

**Question: How do you get YOUR veggies?**

We’re Bookin’ It

In my “here’s my first official pregnancy post” I mentioned I was considering writing about things like shopping for baby. And I did post recently about the ginormous bear Jason and I just got from Costco.

Even more recently–today in fact–Jason and I ventured over to the Hastings down the road to seek out great deals on “previously viewed” DVDs. Success in that area of entertainment was all mine. I found a newer Stephen King movie for less than $2, and a Hugh Grant / Drew Barrymore Ro-Co for under $3.

As we were scoping out the other departments, we finally ended up in kiddy bookland. Not wanting to spend too much today, we settled on a nice collection Mr. / Little Miss books and a Curious George compilation in hardback.

A while back, we were working through another bout of nesting. Only this time we were on the hunt for clothes. This is our collection so far. My mom is also compiling her own stash of baby things. Our shopping forays have resulted in a small collection of onesies. We are looking forward to finding out the gender in the next few weeks so we can branch out to colors like purple and pink, or dark blue and red.

Some Bear-Necessities

The other day, Jason and I finally made it to Costco. We absolutely needed to go on account of our not going since well before the wedding. We had our list already made, and it included such essentials as paper towels, toilet paper, and cat food.

But the very first thing we picked up was this:

To get a better idea of the real size of this guy (he’s 53 inches tall), take a look at him as he goes shopping with us. You can also get a glimpse of my growing belly.

Isn’t the bear ridiculous? But we had to have it for the baby and now he’s keeping good company with my and Jason’s childhood teddy bears. Don’t worry, the big yellow guy will be getting an appointment to see the teddy bear doctor soon.

**Question: What toy did you grow up with that you had to (or will) get for your kiddos?**