I am clearly insane…

I have decided to do something great.  Or it could be crazy.

I have decided to have a full and ready freezer by the time this kid makes its’ appearance in March.

So what does that mean?

It means that I will have a complete plan of every meal we will eat from the middle of February through March.  It also means that I will have a goodly number of those meals in the freezer ready to pop in the oven.

No, I do not plan to keep Stouffer’s or Banquet or even Schwann’s in business for the next 6 months.

I plan to cook almost everything myself.  Yep, mostly homemade stuff.

I realized that after Phoebe was born, there was about 6 weeks where we ate a lot of junk because I was just not up to cooking healthy meals and Moo wasn’t up to gourmet cooking either.

Don’t misunderstand that.  My husband is a great cook.  He’s the only man I’ve ever met who doesn’t know how to grill, but he’s a great cook.

It was just that by the time he got home from dinner, listened to whatever post-partum rant I had going on, and decompressed from work, the only thing to cook were burgers or hot dogs.

I have decided this time will be different.  I have decided that this time, the only grocery trips right after the Nugget arrives will be for fresh milk, bread and whatever I’m craving.

So how to plan something like this?

First, I needed to know how many meals we were talking about.  I decided that this calendar needs to start the week before my due date because I’ll have the c-section about a week before that.  My meal planning cycle starts on Saturdays so I started my calendar on the Saturday of the week before.  I also decided that since I will at that time be 9 months pregnant, there’s no way that I’ll want to do anything much besides lie on the couch like a beached whale anyway.

I want the meals to be planned through March and again, since my plans always run Saturday through Friday, that takes us through April 1st.  That is a total of 6 weeks.  That’s 6 weeks of breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  I also wanted to include snacks but decided to give up that – at least for now.

So 42 breakfasts, 42 lunches, 42 dinners!  WOW!!!

The next thing is to come up with things to fill in.  I came up with a list of everything I can and like to cook.  I decided the like to cook would be important since I don’t want this to be a huge mountain of dread.

I came up with a list of 50 items that I can cook/prepare.  I say prepare cuz I’ve got cold cereal on that list.  YES, I COUNTED CEREAL.  MY KID LOVES IT!!!

Not every one of these meals will freeze beautifully to quote “Steel Magnolias”.  So I had to notate which ones will have to be made from scratch – like a big salad – we love big salads in this house - and also the ones that were slow cooker meals.  I also noted where something was a good lunch option or would also work for breakfast (this is important cuz who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?)

My goal is for every meal to be something that requires less than 20 minutes of prep time.  Note, I did not say 20 minutes of cooking time.  Most of the meals that I plan to cook ahead need to thaw in the fridge overnight and then be cooked in the oven for at least 30 minutes.

I already do a lot of this now.  It’s why I love my slow cooker.  Take 10 minutes in the morning to put together an amazing meal, throw it into the cooker on low and it’s magically done in time for dinner.

One example of something that totally fits my requirements is my homemade veggie beef soup.  It’s simple simple simple.  It takes 2-1/2 to 3 hours to cook, but most of that is simmering time.  There’s very little prep work – only about 10 minutes of chopping.  Then, all I have to do is keep an eye on it.  If I want to add homemade cornbread, I just set a timer for an hour before dinner is done to remind me, then at that time, I throw together the ingredients and stick it in the oven.  It adds maybe another 10 minutes of prep time.

Part of what I’m trying to avoid come March is that feeling that there’s nothing to eat – even though I’ve got a cabinet full of stuff – but it’s all going to TAKE SO MUCH WORK… <insert whining> when I’m already tired… <more whining> and then we’ll have to go to the groooooooccccceerrrrryyyyyy stoooooooooorrrrrrrreeee.

In my head, I’m thinking is that if I’ve got something already planned and the majority of it is in my freezer or thawing in my refrigerator and all I’ve got to do is wander into the kitchen at 5:30 and throw it into the oven, then I’ve got no real excuse.

And Mickey D’s will not make any money off of us this Spring cuz I’m too <whining> TIIIIIRRRRRREEEDDDD

I’ll post my list when I get it done…

Adventures in Pregnancy

Last week was… interesting.

On Tuesday, I went to the perinatologist’s office for the 16 week ultrasound and the second blood draw for genetic testing.

I have decided not to post the ultrasound photo, because frankly, unless you are a trained professional, there’s no way that you’re gonna see anything.  I had to ask the technician to tell me what the picture showed and I still don’t see it…  Anyways, the Nugget measured in at 16 weeks 3 days and looked really good.  Placenta looked good; fluid was perfect.

Preliminary results from the first blood draw were back with my risks of Down’s Syndrome being 1 in 2000 and Trisomy 18 is 1 in 10,000 so again, I’ve got the risk of a 20 year old of having a child with these issues.  However, since I’m an asshole, my child has a 50% chance of that so you know.. whatever…

Wednesday, I spent the morning at the OB/Gyn’s office.  I had to do a 1 hour glucose tolerance test and they had to re-do my Pap smear from the 12 week visit.  They didn’t get enough cells the first time to get a reading. 

I met with a new doc this time: Dr Francis – a sweet lady about my age with 7 year old twins.  She was incredibly gentle during the pap smear procedure, but still there was a spot on my cervix that bled like crazy.  She said it wasn’t a polyp but rather just a really sensitive spot that bled the moment she touched it with the collection q-tip.  It bled enough that she used a little silver nitrate to make it stop.  I started cramping while she worked on me and the cramping and some light spotting continued for the rest of the day.

I drank the lovely orange Glucola before the examination so about the time we were done with the exam, it was time for my blood draw.  I wonder now if I was dehydrated because it was really difficult for the tech to get blood.. she ended up hitting my good donation spot and it fizzled out before she got enough so she ended up hitting the top of my hand.

I must digress here.. I do not have good veins and as this story continues you’ll hear about the adventures that causes.  The veins in my arms are small and roll like crazy.  I have one good spot on my right arm that once you hit it, will give whatever you need but you’ve gotta work for it a bit.  It’s for this reason that I don’t give blood.. it’s just too hard to stick me…

So I go home, feed the kiddo lunch and then lay on the couch the rest of the day.  The cramps were pretty bad and I will admit here and now that I was worried.  I even started timing them like contractions for a little while.  They kept coming in waves and I was concerned.

Thursday morning, I wake up with just a slight twinge of cramps and during the day, the spotting stopped.  I didn’t think anything else about it until about 6PM as I took a quick pit stop before I started dinner.

Y’all, I was bleeding like I had started my period and there were clots.. not big ones but clots nevertheless.

I freaked out.

I knew I needed to go to the hospital but I didn’t know whether I should go to Labor and Delivery or to the Emergency Room.  I called my OB’s office.  My hands were shaking so bad when they called back that I hit the wrong button on the phone and sent the call to voicemail.

Thank goodness, the nurse on call left a message telling me to go to the emergency room.

Moo would be home any moment so I moved fast.  I packed Phoebe’s diaper bag with extra diapers and snacks, filled her water cup up, and packed a few toys.  And then I found and put on my shoes, located my wallet and keys and sat down with my feet up to wait on Moo.

By 6:25, we were in the car headed for the hospital.

I freely admit that I was scared to death.  I freely admit that I cried all the way.

I was so upset that by the time I got there, my blood pressure was sky high: 180 over 101…

Now, I’ve had a problem with hypertension in the past.  I also know that I’m one of those delightful people that on the outside looks calm and peaceful but on the inside is seething.   I could go into a whole diatribe about how our blood pressure goes up to help us deal with stress at hand, getting us ready to flee if necessary.  Medical personnel see blood pressure like mine on Thursday evening and freak out.  They see me as a stroke waiting to happen.  I know that I am simply reacting to the problem at hand and given the opportunity to calm down, my blood pressure is perfect.

I sent Moo to the cafeteria with Phoebe for dinner.  Meanwhile, I’m sitting there scared.  Right before I get called back, Moo and Phoebe return from dinner. 

I get back to the examination room and I’m greeted by the most wonderful young doctor, a Dr Zirkin.  I explain the pap smear fiasco and tell him about my tendency towards hypertension when stressed and he says “Of course your blood pressure is up.  You’re upset. That’s what it’s supposed to do.”

At last!  A doctor with common sense!!

He orders an ultrasound and blood work.

The ultrasound reveals that Nugget is fine.  It reveals that I do not have placenta previa which was one of the potentially bad things causing the bleeding.  The ultrasound also reveals that my cervix is long and tightly closed, so the pregnancy isn’t in danger right now.

Having seen my little one waving at me on the screen and greeted with good news, my blood pressure drops like crazy. 

It takes 3 people and SIX needle sticks before blood work is finally together.  Two nurses can’t get me, the experts in the lab are behind at least 3 hours so the nurse brings in the delightful Dr Zirkin.  He goes for the radial artery in my right wrist.  This is painful but not as bad as getting an IV in your foot – don’t ask.  Again, I’m stingy with my blood.

Blood work reveals that I’m clotting normally and blood counts are good.  The OB on call wants me admitted for observation and to see me the next morning.

So we got to the ER at about 7, got called back about 8, and I got put into the “Short Stay” unit at about 2. 

Dr Zirkin told us about 11:30 they were keeping me and I sent Moo and the baby home.  She was starting to get a little wiggy and there was no way she was going to sleep in the stroller.

The room I was in was nice, but very small.  Just big enough for the bed, a chair, a hospital tray on wheels and a door to a tiny bathroom with only a toilet and a sink.  No shower as people weren’t supposed to be in this unit for more than 24 hours.

The nurses finally left me alone about 3 and I used Airplane! to help me go to sleep. Well except for the hospital bed that seemed to be possessed.  Every once and a while, it would suddenly start “roaring” and the mattress would inflate and then deflate.  Weird.

So I finally got to sleep and slept until about 7 when the nurse woke me up to take my vitals.  Then Dr Schaeffer, the OB who wanted me admitted came in.

He asked me questions about my last pregnancy, talked to me about the exam on Wednesday and talked to me about what was happening in this pregnancy.

It’s been determined that I have cervicitis or inflamed cervix – I’m calling it an “angry cervix”.  Basically during pregnancy, there’s tons of extra blood flow to that whole area.  The cervix is already sensitive so if anything “disturbs the peace” like sneezing or coughing or sex or even going over a speed bump too hard, you can have a bleed.  It’s not dangerous – just scary as all get out.

I’ve been ordered to take it easy for a few days – not exactly bed rest but just not doing a ton of running around. 

And as a reward for all the aggravation, Nugget did major flip flops for me yesterday and today…

15 weeks and 6 days – when will I feel better again?

When I was pregnant with Phoebe, sometime around the 4-1/2 month mark, I started feeling better. I got some energy back. I wasn’t so nauseated.

I’m getting close to that same time now and I feel like dog crap. I ache all over. I’ve had a migraine off and on for 2 days now. I’m tired, tired, tired. I’m not able to eat more than a few bites before I feel like I’m gonna hurl. Oh the nausea has mostly passed, but it still rears it’s ugly head on occasion.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve got a lot on my plate right now.

Phoebe is in the middle of some kind of stage right now – she’s learning language really fast. We’re beginning to hear all kinds of words out of this kid, like “Mama, TREES!” while she points madly at the trees outside. Or “SHOES!” which usually means she’s either seen a pair of shoes in a book, on TV, or in the house or that she wants to put them on.

She’s fun to put to bed right now. She sings, talks or jumps in the crib for anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours every night. She’s also had a nightmare or something a couple of nights ago. When she finally woke up enough to start calming down, she did a lot of gesturing madly and telling me what had happened. I only wish I understood.

Add on that I’ve started a part time work at home job that keeps me busy during her naps and early mornings.

Still on the list are getting ready for an upcoming craft workshop and the PURGE.

THE PURGE is what Moo and I decided to do before we get the nursery ready for Nugget. Right now, Nugget’s room is a combo office/guest room. We’re gonna keep the bed in there, but Moo’s office has to come out and the closet emptied in preparation for Nugget’s things. We also need to paint that room.

Before we can really move the stuff out of Nugget’s room, I’ve got to move stuff around and declutter our bedroom to make way for one of the bookcases in the office. I still don’t know for sure where the other bookcase will go.. maybe the dining room?

Our bedroom is about 50% where it needs to be and I also want to tackle our kitchen which has already begun. We tackled the cupboard under the stairs a couple of weekends ago which is a closet in our kitchen – I don’t think you could classify it as a pantry… too strangely shaped.

Add on top of this that my foot – you know the one with the WART!!! – EWW EWWW EWWW EWWW EWWW – has been bothering me again. I went to the doctor last week, because I had a sort of.. swelling? on my foot and come to find out the swelling is the wart and it’s bigger and badder than before. So big and so bad that I’m putting acid – yes ACID – on it for the next 2 weeks and then I’m having laser surgery to take off the rest of it sometime next month.

So I’m kinda busy.

And tired.

And achy.