Postpartum Food

Toddler Version

I talk about food kind of a lot on this blog.  It’s right up there before school and after the girls (mostly…ok, sometimes it’s tied for first).  I’ve blogged a couple of times about how I dislike the food restrictions of pregnancy more than morning sickness or stretch marks.  In true Confer style, then, it should come as no surprise that my first meal home from the hospital, two days after giving birth, was a huge, rare steak and a FULL glass of wine.

Adult Version

Doesn’t this look amazing?  Amos is such a thoughtful husband.  He bought the steaks earlier that day, then let them rest out on the counter for a while so we could get a truly delicious rare steak that could also handle a nice sear on the outside.  Because he did that Hazel could also have some of the meat without having to cook it further.  To top the steak, he melted a homemade compound butter (butter, parsley, and sour cream) down with the pan juices to make an incredibly rich sauce that perfectly complimented the meat.  On the side we had roasted asparagus and snap beans, and to round out the meal (mostly for Hazel) we had a small amount of basmati rice.  The malbec we shared is the same one I was raving about earlier.  It’s called Alamos, and it is diVINE.  Do your mouth a favor and try some – I’m telling you, it is by far my favorite wine right now.

This is one of many lovely postpartum meals I’ll be talking about as I climb back to my normal palate after all the restrictions, aversions, and cravings that pregnancy brings.  I don’t know what’s next on the list, but I’m sure another rare steak isn’t too far away.

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Hello, Julia!

Julia is here!

Julia finally made it here!  I was 41 weeks and 6 days when I went into the hospital to try induction this past Monday.  Luckily, when I arrived I was already in labor, dilated to 3 cm!

Julia came 14 hours later at 6:51 PM, weighing in at a crazy 9 lbs., 13 oz., and is 21.5″ long.  She’s got dark hair and gray blue eyes that I think will turn green like mine.  We got home this afternoon, and I’ll put up some new pictures in the next couple of days.  Until then I’ve got to get used to nursing, then napping, then nursing, then napping my days (and NIGHTS!) away!

One Day Past

I am one day past my due date and still pregnant, meaning I’m now in the ultimate death-zone countdown.  Seriously, up until your due date everyone is very laid back about a normal, low-risk pregnancy.  Once the due date passes, though, it’s suddenly a very intense situation.  I am one day past my due date, and because of it I had to undergo a non-stress test for the fetus and an ultrasound to measure how much amniotic fluid I have in my uterus.  It’s such a weird situation that I find it hard to describe; for months now I’ve felt more vulnerable, exposed, and discussed while my midwife was really unconcerned (I mean, I had nothing medically to concern her), but literally OVERNIGHT I’ve become like a time bomb.  I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that makes sense unless you’re in that place, but trust me – it’s weird.

So, update:  Julia is fine, had over double the amount of fluid that is normal for post-term babies, and did very well on her non-stress test.  She has definitely dropped, which is awesome because Hazel was not even close to Julia’s position at the comparable time in that pregnancy.  I’m just waiting it out until next week.  If I make it to that appointment we have to do the non-stress test and ultrasound for amniotic fluid AGAIN, and my midwife will at that point also strip my membranes in hopes of bringing on labor.  That’s the plan, anyway; I am going to research that a bit more before I go in next week, but I hope we don’t get to that point.

So, we wait.  And I waddle around.  And anytime I make a noise while not in Amos’s line-of-sight, he hollers, “Are you OK?!”  and I reply, “UGH yes!”  It’s a fun game 😉

Another “First”

Sometime during the teenage years people start to be fixated on the firsts in their lives.  Our culture places a lot of value on the firsts, especially for women – your first prom, kiss, day at college, whatever.  The big two are your wedding day and the first baby.  Then, when the wedding is over and the baby is actually here, in all its drooly glory, it becomes all about the many firsts of the baby – diaper change, bath, tooth, laugh, smile, solid food.  They go really fast and are super exciting when the baby is young, but it slows down quite a bit after the first year; those firsts just seem more like evolution instead of baby book memories.  So while I’m anticipating these firsts with Julia, I don’t really look for them with Hazel anymore.  Tonight one actually came about, though, one that I can’t believe we have overlooked until this point!

See, a lot of the food I love the best is verboten in pregnancy:  moldy cheeses, raw oysters, caffeine (yeah, that’s a whole food GROUP), rare steaks & burgers, wine, raw bean sprouts.  It doesn’t seem like a lot, but in my two pregnancies I have had to find myself being hyper vigilant because I apparently eat this stuff kind of a lot.  Anyway, so while I’m pregnant I mourn for the foods I love and get a little depressed about the foods I crave.  Now, at the very end of my pregnancy, Amos decided that I should at least have something good, and we decided on a burger.  I refuse to order these out because if they are cooked to the temp that I need to nuke the creepy, fetus-killing bacteria, the burger turns into a little hockey puck of what we have named “meat gum.”  It’s grosser than it sounds.  Amos took pity & made a delicious, pink-free burger for me tonight.  We were setting up for dinner when I realized that Hazel has never had a burger!  This would be her first one, even if it had to be deconstructed for her tiny hands to handle.  She, of course, LOVED it, just like Amos and I both did.  My husband can seriously cook, you guys.  We had burgers with sharp cheddar, a little wilted asparagus, and fresh strawberries and Greek yogurt for dessert.  I think it was the best meal of 2011 (so far – just wait until I’m not gestating!).

Hazel's First Burger

I think she likes it.

The Oven is Still On

I am still pregnant.  And I really shouldn’t be so weary about it, seeing as I still have five days before my actual due date, but holy moly if I don’t feel like a Hot Pocket most of the time.  I am FULL of baby.  And I waddle.  Things are looking good, though, according to my midwife.  She estimates Julia’s weight at about 7.5 lbs., give or take a 1/2 lb. either way, and I am choosing to look at this as a sign that maybe she will come before the dreaded 42-week mark.  Hazel was 42 weeks and 8 lbs, 2 oz, which isn’t super large for a baby that late.  I hope Julia’s around the same (although I read that the second + babies are usually larger than the first one).  All in all, everything looks to be on track and normal.  I have 5 days left until my due date, and I hope to fill them with knitting, rocking on the birthing ball, visualization techniques, and maybe some chocolate.

One Last Ultrasound Picture

Julia at 37 weeks

We went in this morning to check up on Julia, and everything looks good!  She is head down, which is awesome, and facing generally up or to the side, which is fine.  I am totally effaced, not dilated, and generally looking ready to give birth soon.  The midwife said that I could reasonably go into labor any time now.  This is FANTASTIC news, as I remember hearing “no, not anytime soon” over and over with Hazel until we hit the 42-week mark.  I am so, so ready for this baby to be here.  In the picture above, she’s looking right at the ultrasound wand with her hand tucked up under her chin.  Can you see it?  It took me a while to see her face because I was searching for a profile.  Her face looks so shmushed!

The House that Sickness Built

Dudes, we have been sick up in this house.  I mean feet dragging, no appetite, taking really hot showers just so you can cough up stuff sick.  First Hazel came down with something respiratory and nasty.  After she spiked a fever at 102 I took her in to the doctor, who diagnosed her with a sinus infection.  Ok, not too horrible – two missed days of daycare spent on the couch watching movies and hanging out with Corduroy (her bear).  Kind of nice, actually, to have her home and snuggly with me, although it sucked that she was feeling bad.  The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and a strong cough medicine, and within a day of the first dose she was noticeably better.

And then I got sick.  All during this pregnancy it seems like I’ve kept a cold, or a sore throat, or a stomach bug.  My immune system has just been in overdrive since last June (yep, I’ve been pregnant since JUNE), so any tiny virus or bacteria that was on anyone’s anything has made me deadly ill while everyone else sailed merrily along.  At Christmas, in St. Louis, I got a pretty bad virus that presented like the flu.  The doctor there told me that no medicine would help, so I just weathered it out for two weeks or so.  Last week I felt the same – absolutely fatigued, no appetite whatsoever, hard cough, difficulty breathing, and no voice.  I didn’t go to a doctor here, expecting s/he to tell me the same thing I heard at Christmas.  When I visited my midwife, though, she sounded concerned at how hard it was for me to breathe and prescribed an antibiotic, saying that if it had been a cold it was now a bacterial infection in my lungs or chest.  I just finished the z-pack yesterday, and while I still have a hacking cough I am otherwise better.

I was looking forward to getting back to normal this week, but that’s not in the cards.  Hazel woke up with a rash on her face and lightly sprinkled across her chest; by our 11 AM doctor’s appointment it had spread all over her body, even to the soles of her feet and in between her fingers.  It was FREAKING ME OUT.  She’s never been sick like that before, and I swear every time I took her in to potty I could see it growing down her legs.  The doctor told us it was either an adverse reaction to the antibiotic she is on for her sinus infection or the hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is just a virus that makes a small fever and a rash that covers those parts of the body.

Since it got worse this morning she’s actually gotten a little better.  It’s not in her mouth and it looks a little better on those last parts of her affected, so I think it was a reaction against her antibiotic (which we gave her like normal this AM before the appointment).  I feel so sorry for her little body!

So that’s what’s been going on in the Confer household.  We have been sick, and Amos has had to make very small, very boring dinners.  I am still knitting for the breast cancer shop, although I’ve put it on hiatus until after Julia is born.  I have had some special requests via email, so I’m still working on those!  It’s been awesome, you guys.  I’m so happy people are willing to pay for these things – we’re going to raise a killer donation for the walk!

Tomorrow we go to have another ultrasound, hopefully the last one, to double check my little acrobat’s position.  We are 99% sure she’s head down, but my midwife suspects that she’s also facing up (as in facing out the same way that I do, not back into my spine like normal).  This isn’t such a big deal except that it is usually the reason behind “back labor,” which you may have heard of.  It’s supposed to be more painful.  My midwife says this is because the baby’s spine contracts down along my spine, with all those nerves getting a constant pressure during the labor.  That sounds more painful!  Anyway, I don’t really care as long as we avoid a c-section!  Tomorrow I’ll put up a picture, maybe even a video of the ultrasound!  About three more weeks (and hell, maybe less if I’m lucky)!

 

Baby Update

I just got back from the midwife’s office, and I’m very happy to say that Julia is in a head-down position, just like she should be!  The chances that she will turn sideways or breech again are slight, but because she’s been so flippity floppity we’re doing an ultrasound again in two weeks to confirm the position.  I’m so excited – we are definitely planning for a vaginal birth, YAY!  I had completely prepared myself for a section, plus an ECV (to turn the baby manually), so I am really really happy that those things have now become less probable than a regular birth.  The only kind of weird thing about her position is that she’s sunny-side up, or lying on her back, looking up towards my belly and not down towards my back.  This is kind of uncomfortable, as her knees and feet are pushing up on my belly (explains the very high, very OUT way my stomach looks), but I think it’s kind of funny.  I wonder if she’ll be such a mover when she’s out of the womb.

February Baby Sweater (technically finished in January, though)

Last semester, in school, I was all worried about what I would do in the months before Julia is born.  Hazel still goes to daycare all day, and Amos is of course gone at work, and so I’m here alone until March 15th (or April 1st, knowing how my body likes to hold on to babies).  I even borrowed some books on feminist criticism from one of my professors, so worried was I.  Well, I’ve had a humbling dose of reality, since all I’ve wanted to do since getting home from our Christmas vacation is knit!  I’ve got projects for Christmas presents, projects for friends’ new babies and kids, and some projects for Julia planned.  Last night I finished one for Julia!

This gorgeous pattern is my first lace project and was written by the master of knitting, Elizabeth Zimmerman.  Her patterns are notoriously short and pithy, so I’m always really happy when I can get through one!  I had leftover yarn from a shawl I made for my grandmother last year, and so now Julia has a matching silvery lavender cardigan.

 

Julia Update

I just went to the midwife (well I just ate a boatload of chips and salsa, but before that I was at the midwife’s).  Julia is doing fine, about 16″ long at this point and 4-ish pounds.  I’ve only gained about 17-20 pounds (hence the chips and salsa craving, maybe?  LOL).  Everything is awesome, except that Julia is back to a breech position again.  She’s actually in an oblique breech position, which means that instead of being straight up and down she’s diagonally head-up in there.  What I thought were kicks are really punches!

She has several weeks to turn again, which the midwife said was likely.  If she’s still upside down at about 35 or 36 weeks, then we’ll start talking about what’s called an external version, during which my midwife and attending doctor will try to force her to turn as a result of outside pressure.  The worst case would be that I have to have a c-section.  I’m trying not to be very upset about the higher possibility of such a stupid birth, but it’s difficult to remain completely logical in this hormonal state.  Until then I’m going research a bit about encouraging the baby to turn on her own; there are some techniques that might help.

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