Monday, June 29, 2015

Mommy Mondays: The First Few Weeks with Thatbaby


Thatbaby continues to be my oppo-baby in almost every aspect. 

* While Thatkid was induced and I was in the hospital from Friday-Monday, Thatbaby came on his own, and quickly!  Went into the hospital Tuesday morning and were discharged Wednesday afternoon.
* Almost a pound bigger than Thatkid, and measuring an inch and a half longer, he's a bigger boy. In fact, Thatkid stayed in newborn clothes and newborn diapers until he was 6 weeks old.  Thatbaby is slightly under 3 weeks and we've moved him to size 1 diapers and with his length, we have a problem since he's too tall for anything newborn with feet, but still too small for 0-3 months.
* Unlike his older brother, Thatbaby doesn't have even a touch of jaundice.
* My breastfeeding struggles the first time around involved  Thatkid's laziness.  He was such a sleepy baby it took forever to wake him and get him to eat.  It took over 2 weeks for him to regain birthweight.  Thatbaby is an avid eater.  He latched right away and took to breastfeeding like a champ - surpassing his birthweight in a little over a week.
* Once Thatkid got over his early sleepiness, he stopped sleeping.  He would sleep, only when held, and hardly ever at night.  Thatbaby is a phenomenal sleeper.  He sleeps all the time, can be put down once asleep, and he gives me fabulous chunks at night.  Which is not to say we don't have nights where he's up every 2 hours, but more often we get a 4-6 hour chunk at the beginning of the night.

The only  thing both my sons have in common, other than the way they look, is that neither of them is big fans of the car.  Both scream their heads off in the carseat.  Which is ridiculously unfun.  It's also been hard because when Thatkid was a baby, we pretty much could hang out at home for weeks.  This time around, we're far more active, because we have Thatkid who isn't happy just hanging out at home.  Plus, Thatboy goes back to work this week.  Wish me luck this week!

Thatbaby weighs: 8lbs 7oz
Next Appointment: Thursday, July 2
Sleep: Getting a lot less sleep overall this time around.  Thatbaby usually goes to bed at the same time as Thatkid - around 8pm, although lately it's been later because we've been out till later.  I should go to bed shortly after, but I never do.  He wakes up around 12-1am, and then again around 3:30/4am, and then 6am, when Thatkid also wakes up.  And when I usually get up too.
Best moment this week: Saturday I pretty much spent the whole day on the couch, feeding and napping with Thatbaby.  It's so lame that it's the best moment of the week, but really, we've been going nonstop and I'm exhausted!
*Thatbaby is starting to focus on our faces.
* Pretty sure we're going through the 3 week growth spurt.  There's a lot of feeding going on!

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Homemade Life: Buchons Au Poulet

We have a pretty typical routine for Father's Day.  Out for a pancake breakfast, then a day at the beach.  So naturally, when I talked to Thatboy about what he wanted to do for Father's Day, that was what I expected to hear.  

With a 1 week old in the house, he wasn't anxious to head out to the beach and lug everything that would be required to keep our newborn out of the sun all day.  So we made slightly different plans.  Only slightly different because like every other Father's Day, this one started out the same.

All the boys at our usual pancake breakfast.  Because it wouldn't be Father's Day without.

Instead of the beach, Thatboy thought it would be great to spend the day at the pool.  But ever since we moved from the apartment we don't have access to the complex pool anymore.  So we found a new place to play The Wave Waterpark.  We rented a cabana for the day which gave Thatbaby and I a nice, shady place to hang out.

While we laid in the shade, Thatboy and Thatkid took advantage of the rest of the waterpark.

Thatkid's favorite part was the lazy river.  He loved those inner tubes.

They also spent a lot of time in the actual pool.

Thatkid was too little for the waterslides, so Thatboy played there without him.

While I took Thatkid over to "Rippity's Rainforest" which had a splash pad and playground.

We stayed until the park closed and then headed over to Plan 9 for dinner.  And beer.

Father's Day is the perfect way to cater to the men in your life.  And I think I did a pretty good job of that in planning our Father's Day.  In general, I tend to cater to Thatboy in almost all aspects.  Except the kitchen.  I still cater to me in the kitchen.  Which means we never have fish for dinner and there are no cans of tuna in the pantry.  

I can't stand tuna.  I won't even kiss Thatboy if he's eaten a tuna sandwich.  So there was no way I was going to make Wizenburg's Bouchon Au Thon.  Over the past (mumble mumble) years I've learned that chicken makes a pretty good substitute for most tuna dishes (except seared ahi....seared chicken just doesn't work for me).  And in this case, that proved to be true yet again.  Because of the tuna base, I was concerned how these would turn out.  Which is silly because it's chicken and cheese.  Which work well together in all circumstances.  These were much lighter than I was expecting, and much better.  They make a perfect lunch, or even breakfast.

Buchons Au Poulet (Adapted from A Homemade Life)
6 oz canned chicken packed in water, drained well
1 cup shredded gruyere
1/3 cup creme fraiche
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 eggs
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Grease a muffin tin.  Put the chicken in a medium bowl, using a fork to break it into small pieces.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well, mashing as you go.
  3. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes, until they are set on top and around the edges.
  4. Transfer the tin to a rack and let cook for 5 minutes, run a small thin knife around the edge of each bouchon and remove them from the the tin.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Homemade Life: Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Glazed Oranges and Creme Fraiche

So I never really got a chance to celebrate my birthday this year.

I guess that's not entirely true.  This was pretty much the extent of my birthday celebration:

There was no cake, no singing, and my birthday meals consisted of a lifeless quesadilla for lunch and sorry hospital stirfry for dinner.  Let's not even get into my beautiful birthday attire.  Let's just say hospital bracelets were not really what I had in mind when requesting jewelery.

During one of my poor "woe is me" bitching sessions to L&O about how I am officially done with celebrating my birthday because we will now be celebrating Thatbaby's birthday instead, she mentioned that my amazing group of friends would never let me celebrate alone.

Which gave me a great idea.  The girls had been planning for the past month to come over after the baby was born and make up for the fact that I missed my spa day.  They promised to bring food and good company.  And I decided we would also use the opportunity to celebrate my birthday.  Yeah, I kind of threw my own party.  And L&O was right, my friends didn't hesitate to happily agree.

Mrs. Pirate asked what my favorite foods were, and was quick to organize a meal that included all of them.  The girls brought drinks, gnocchi, salads, and even cake.  (This was all that was left after our evening).

And M brought Thatbaby's newest best friend.  K was born just 4 days before Thatbaby (but look how much tinier she looks!)

It was one of my favorite birthday celebrations - just having some of my closest friends over to eat, drink, and chat.  It was also nice to not have to do much other than be present.

I'm especially happy that I got some cake - because really it's not a birthday without.  Horsewhisper asked me what my favorite kind of cake was.  And I answered her truthfully - anything with frosting.  This cake is lacking in the frosting department, which makes it a complete failure as a birthday cake.  But perfect for a weekend tea, or a non-birthday gathering of friends.  This is Thatboy's favorite cake from A Homemade Life.  Which he admits was unexpected.  Even without the oranges and creme fraiche, he liked the sweetness and denseness.  Almost pound-cake like.

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Glazed Oranges and Creme Fraiche (From A Homemade Life)
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oranges
creme fraiche

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9 inch springform pan with baking spray.  Line the bottom of the pan with a  round of parchment paper and spray it too.  Whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of buttermilk.
  2. Put 1 cup sugar in a stand mixer.
  3. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half from tip to tip.  Run the back of the knife down each half of the pod, scraping out the seeds and dump them into the bowl with sugar, rubbing the seeds into the sugar.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the vanilla sugar.  Beat on low speed for a few seconds.
  5. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the dry ingredients, along with the remaining buttermilk.  Beat on low speed until the ingredients are moist.  Increase the speed to mediuma dn beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a  rubber spatula, then add the egg mixture in three doses, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat for 30 seconds on medium speed. 
  7.  Scrape the batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove the sides and invert the cake onto a plate.  Remove the bottom parchment and turn upright onto the rack to cool completely.
  8. Supreme 3 of the oranges.
  9. Juice the fourth orange.  Add juice from the supremed oranges so that you have 1/2 a cup of orange juice.  Pour the juice into a 2-quart saucepan.
  10. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reduces to a deep orange gold syrup, about 10 minutes.
  11. Add the supremes, stirring them gently in the syrup and cook until warmed through.
  12. Serve oranges with wedges of the cake and spoonfuls of creme fraiche.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crave Wednesdays: Roasted Garlic Pizza

For me, garlic is a kitchen staple.  The one ingredient that is truly transformative.  If you have no other herbs or spices, garlic alone can bring complexity to a dish, turn the flavors from bland to vibrant.

Garlic also has the unique quality of being transformed itself by a little heat.  Raw garlic is sharp and biting.  It's use needs to be controlled so that it doesn't become overpowering.  Throw some garlic in a pan with warmed olive oil and that little bit of heat helps to create a richer, deeper flavor.  But roasting?  Roasting completely changes the quality of garlic.  It becomes mellow, sweet, and while raw garlic must be tempered, roast garlic can (and should) be consumed in excess.

A roast head of garlic really needs little else.  It becomes soft and pliable enough to be spread over bread - as creamy as butter.  On Father's Day my dinner came with fingerling potatoes and roasted garlic cloves - the cloves `requiring as much fork space as the potatoes.

This pizza makes exceptional use of roasted garlic.  There is little else to distract from the warm garlic flavor spread atop the crust. And this garlic is double roasted - once as a whole head, and again when placed atop the pizza.  Cheese, garlic, and a good crust - you won't even miss the tomato sauce.

Roasted Garlic Pizza (From Cooking Light)
1 garlic head
1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 1/4 oz flour
2 3/8 oz bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tsp chopped oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Remove white papery skin from garlic head and wrap in foil.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  Separate cloves and squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
  2. Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Place flours and salt in a food processor and pulse 2 times.
  4. Add oil to yeast mixture. and add to the flours in the food processor, with the processor on.  Process until dough forms a ball and then process another minute.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly 4 to 5 times.  Place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  6. Increase oven temp to 400.  Punch dough down, cover and let rest 5 minutes.  Roll into a 10 inch circle and place on pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal.
  7. Spread roasted garlic evenly over pizza, leaving 1/2 inch border.
  8. Top with cheeses, oregano, and pepper.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Cut into 8 wedges.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mommy Mondays: How To Throw A....

Being the mom of two Jewish boys I am now an expert at planning and throwing a Brit Milah - the Jewish ceremony during which a boy is circumcised.  This is a very specialized expertise.  For most, this is not the sort of thing they ever have to worry about.  However, the basics in planning are equally helpful in planning for Sip&Sees or Meet the Baby Parties - really any sort of get together that happens relatively soon after the birth of the child.  So here are my tips for planning a baby celebration following the birth of your child.

1) Prepwork:  The first few weeks of parenthood are a bit of a blur - and I say that as one who is deep in the throes of those first few weeks.  So if you're planning on having people come over to coo at your little one, you should get as much done as you can, before the baby comes.  For me, this means that around 38 weeks I started making and freezing challahs, cookies, and strudel - to serve at the bris (boy) or baby naming (girl).  Because we knew there'd be a Jewish ceremony involved, we also contacted a mohel (the doctor performing the circumcision) and our Rabbi ahead of time.

2) Keep invites simple: I absolutely love paper invites.  Mostly because they look so much nicer in memory books than evites  But when you're short on time, paper invites just won't cut it.  A bris occurs 8 days after the boy is born, which means I need to get the word out as soon as possible.  For both boys, we were out of the hospital the day after they were born, and I sent out an email the night we got home.  Which doesn't mean you can't get creative. 

3) Outsource!  As much as I usually overdo it when it comes to entertaining, with a newborn in the house, you just can't.  Which means there is no shame in having prepared food brought in.  (Truthfully there is never any shame in having prepared food brought in - whatever makes the host happy makes the guests happy) For Thatbaby's bris we had Terriyaki sliders, coleslaw, potato salad, fruit salad, along with the challah, cookies, and strudel.

And Thatbaby's brit milah went off with only slight hitches.  Our original mohel was unavailable on the day, which meant despite my prep, I was left calling a different mohel the day I gave birth to introduce myself and ask about his availability the following week.

But the doctor we ended up with was wonderful and he did a great job at explaining all the parts of the ceremony to our guests who were unfamiliar - the reason for the circumcision, why it is done at 8 days, and the various roles of honor.  The circumcision itself went as well as these things go, meaning there were tears and blood, but both ceased after mere moments.

After the circumcision came the baby naming portion of the ceremony, where we bestowed a Hebrew name on Thatbaby.  This is where the Rabbi stepped in and gave his blessing, as we shared how the name we chose was a way to honor my cousin China.

And of course, after that, as with all Jewish ceremonies, the food comes out.  And the baby gets passed, and we all get a chance to chat and catch up - which is the part that translates to all get togethers following a birth.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Runday: San Diego Sundays

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Sunday Rundays are taking a bit of a hiatus.   At least until I get the all clear to run again.  As it is, Friday was the first day I even attempted any fitness, going for a 2 mile coastal walk with Thatboy and Thatbaby.

So when SDMom mentioned that she wanted to start up a "San Diego Sundays" link up, I felt the timing couldn't be better.  Especially since I'm home for the next few weeks and get to take part in all the great things San Diego has to offer this summer.

One of our favorite summer-time activities is Thursday Family Fun Night at the San Diego Botanical Garden.  In general, we're big fans of the Botanical Garden, but we tend to find ourselves there in the winter for Garden of Lights, and in the summer for the Family Fun Nights - which is their summer concert series.

As the name implies, Family Fun Nights take place every Thursday night all summer long.  Hamilton Children's Garden is open from 4:30 to 8:00, with live music from 6-7pm. The concerts are included with the price of admission - $14 for adults, $8 for kids.

All the music is "kid friendly."  Last week we were treated to the musical stylings of the Boo Hoo Crew.

With a new baby at home, Thatkid relished in being out, active, and able to shake his pirate booty.

The concert provides a grass area for the "grownups" which also serves as a great place for picnics - and my love of picnics is no secret. 

The front is marked off by bales of hay, which creates a perfect space for the toddler mosh pit that ensues. 

Following the concert, the Children's Garden stays open for another hour, which gives the kids more time to run off that energy.  There are tree houses to explore,

and loads of organic musical instruments - made from natural objects.

Thursday Family Fun Nights only goes on till August, so pack a bag and your favorite music lover and head over to the Botanical Gardens.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Homemade Life: Fresh Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears

This is another post where I tell you how Thatkid and I are different than Thatboy.  Today we're going to talk about ginger.  Thatboy is not a fan of ginger.  Sure he'll put away a gingerbread cookie ro two, but the minute I add ginger to a dish, especially a baked dish, Thatboy turns up his nose and tells me there's too much ginger".  It doesn't really matter how much I use - it's always too much.

Thatkid on the other hand, is a huge fan of baked goods with ginger.  Which is really surprising given his declaration that almost everything is "too spicy."  Black pepper is too spicy.  Garlic is too spicy.  But ginger? Apparently it passes whatever tastebud test he has. 

So this is a cake for Thatkid and I.  I had to rescue the pears from both Thatboy and Thatkid who are apparently pear-fiends, with the promise they would be used in a cake.  Which was rather cruel given that I knew Thatboy would not be eating the cake.  But that's really his loss.

The cake is a simple gingerbread, which I love in the winter.  What takes this past the simple gingerbread is the caramelized pear topping.  Caramelized anything makes something seem pretty fancy, and this caramel recipe is one of the easiest I've done.  Since I have a tendency to ruin caramel.

Fresh Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears (From A Homemade Life)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup sour cream
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp finely grated, peeled, fresh ginger
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 pears
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp brandy
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease an 8 inch round baking pan with baking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In another medium bowl, combine the molasses, sour cream, melted butter, brown sugar, egg, ginger, and lemon zes tnad wisk until smooth.
  3. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes.  Cool the cake in its pan for 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  4. Peel the pears and cut each lengthwise into 8 wedges, discarding the cores.
  5. Place them in a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  6. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  7. Add the pears and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally for 3 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle them with sugar and continue to cook, shaking the skillet and gently turning the pears, until the sugar is melted and the pears are tender.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears back to their bowl.
  9. Boil the sugar butter mixture over medium heat until it turns a deep shade of caramel.
  10. Combine the water and and cream in a small bowl or cup.
  11. When the caramel is the right color, remove the skillet from the heat and carefully add the cream mixture.
  12. Add the brandy and a pinch of slat and return the skillet to the heat.  Simmer, stirring until thickened slightly.
  13. Return the pears to the skillet and cook until heated through.
  14. Serve the cake in wedges, with a few pieces of pear alongside and caramel drizzled over top.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Homemade Life: Buckwheat Pancakes

Father's Day is quickly approaching.  And with the new baby, Thatboy has decided that all he really wants for Father's Day is a trip to the Original Pancake House for breakfast.  The man is nothing if not predictable.  In fact, I had told Thatkid weeks ago we'd be taking Thatdad for breakfast there on Father's Day.  Of course, now Thatkid asks every morning if we're going out for pancakes yet.

It's funny that Thatkid will grow up associating pancakes with his father, because I have a similar relationship with buckwheat pancakes.  In truth, as I've mentioned before we weren't really a pancake family growing up.  And going out to breakfast was no guarantee that pancakes would make their way off the menu and on to the table.  With one exception.  Thatdad was a huge fan of buckwheat pancakes.  Because of this, buckwheat pancakes always seemed so grown up to me.  They weren't sweet like your typical pancakes, but had more of an earthy flavor, something you had to grow into.

I remember not liking them much as a small child, but appreciating their complexity as I got older.   When I made these buckwheat pancakes from A Homemade Life, I was a little worried in promising Thatkid there would be pancakes in the morning.  What 3 year old likes buckwheat pancakes?  My 3 year old apparently!  Thatkid either has a very advanced palate or just doesn't discriminate when it comes to pancakes because he loved these.  For me, it was nice to bring a bit of Thatdad to the breakfast table.  The only one who wasn't a fan was Thatboy, who doesn't have much of  a taste for buckwheat pancakes whatever their form.  Not all of us are grownups apparently.

Buckwheat Pancakes (From A Homemade Life)
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. Pour the buttermilk and milk into a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk the gg whitesinto the milk mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, use a fork to beat the yolk with the melted butter.
  5. Whisk the yolk mixture into the milk mixture.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  7. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Brush the skillet with canola oil.  Ladle the batter in 1/4 cupfuls into the skillet.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook 1-2 minutes on the other side.
  8. Re-oil the skillet and repeat with more batter.  Serve warm with maple syrup.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Roasted Beet Pizza

Most normal people don't associate root veggies with summer.  Turnips and carrots usually grace fall tables.  Luckily I never claimed to be "normal people.:  For me, beets are a summer vegetable.  This is true even though preparation for them in this house always involves roasting.  Turning up the oven to an insanely high heat, which is something normal people avoid as the temperatures climb. 

But I brave through.  Because once roasted, the beets provide a sweetness that just seems fitting for summer.  Roasted beets, finely grated and tossed with vinegar serve as an excellent salad for picnics and barbecue.  Roast beets with goat cheese and arugula is the perfect salad to enjoy on a warm evening.   And roasting yellow beets, in thin circles resembling the summer sun, serve as a perfect foil to this light pizza.

No need for heavy sauces, a simple brush of olive oil helps to create a golden crust that needs no tomato to bring out the flavor.  Instead the sweet beets pair with salty feta, which, if cheeses were seasonal, would also belong in summer as it is often paired with mint, or watermelon, or bright tomatoes. A sprinkle of fresh herbs - a summer staple rounds out this pizza.

Roasted Beet Pizza (From Cooking Light)
1 golden beet
1 Tbsp cornmeal
pizza dough
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup vertically sliced shallots
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 tsp rosemary leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Leave root and 1 inch of stem on beet.  Scrub with a brush and wrap in foil.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  Trim off root and rub off skin.  Cut in half crosswise and thinly slice halves.
  2. Place a pizza stone in the oven and increase temperature to 500.  Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet with raised edges.  
  3. Roll dough into 10 inch circle on baking sheet.  Brush oil over dough.
  4. Arrange cheese, beet slices, and shallots evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border.  Slide dough onto preheated pizza stone.  Bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from stone and sprinkle with salt and drizzle with honey. 
  6. Sprinkle with rosemary.  Cut into 8 wedges.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mommy Mondays: Introducing Thatbaby!

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If I had known writing about my prodromal labor last week would bring on the real thing I would have written about it weeks ago!

On Monday morning I woke up around 4am with more annoying contractions.  The same ones I'd been having for weeks that never seemed to progress.  So I figured I was in for a long, uncomfortable day.  

I went in to work, where they were no long surprised to see me.  At this point, we all figured I'd make it allllllll the way to my induction later in the week.  Besides, my birthday was on Tuesday and there was NO WAY I was having a baby on my birthday. 

That night Thatboy and I were watching a movie when the contractions started again.  What's funny about them is that they were farther apart than the ones I usually have.  I started timing them and they were 7 minutes apart - the farthest they'd ever been.  It was 10pm at night and I figured I should go to bed.  That usually got my contractions to disappear and I definitely didn't want labor starting.

By 11:30pm, the contractions were pretty strong and now every 4 minutes apart, but I could still talk through them.  I called Thatmom, crying that I was about to have a birthday baby.  She headed down to come watch Thatkid so Thatboy and I could head to the hospital. 
Thatmom arrived at 1:00am on Tuesday morning.  My birthday.  By that time, I was in agony.  I could no longer talk through the contractions, it took everything I could to get through them.  I tried various positions to get relief - sitting, standing, moving around, on the ball, on all fours, nothing worked.  The contractions were being sporadic, usually 4 minutes apart, sometimes 2 minutes apart depending on if I was moving around or not. I was vomiting, which was causing more contractions. 

We headed to the hospital.  It was the longest 20 minute drive I have ever taken.  Sitting in the car was probably the worst position out of all I tried!  And I was still vomiting.  We arrived at the hospital at 1:30am and the front desk took one look at me and sent me up to triage.  It was very "Hollywood" with Thatboy double parking the car at the entrance and rushing me in where I could barely tell them my name because of the contractions.  When they checked me I was 6cm dilated and 100% effaced.  They immediately got me admitted.  I could barely get up and into the wheelchair to get to the labor and delivery floor, having them wait through another vomiting and contraction episode before I could stand. 

By 2:30am I was in L&D with the anesthesiologist on his way.  It took at least half an hour for him to place the epidural, but after that, things got back to normal.  From 3-4am I was able to actually answer questions about my medical history, give them my name and birthdate, talk about my pregnancy and thoughts on the upcoming process.

Before she left the room at 4am, the nurse did another check. I was still 6cm, pushing 7cm and my water bag was "bulgy." We talked about whether it would break on its own or need to be broken. The nurse said the doctor would come in after shift change around 7am and based on progress we'd talk about it at that point. She tucked me in and told me to get some sleep and left the room.

I was anxious to get some sleep.  Other than the pain relief, I really wanted the epidural so I could get some sleep.  I'd been up for 24 hours at this point and I knew I wanted to rest before any babies showed up.  I closed my eyes and - my water broke. I called the nurse back in and got cleaned up, then she headed out again and I tried again to get some sleep.  After my water broke, I could feel the contractions, despite the epidural. They were still so much better than before, but still pretty
uncomfortable. I wasn't able to get any sleep.

At 4:40am the nurse came back in. The baby was experiencing Tachycardia (increased heart rate) and she was a bit concerned. She tried having me change positions, which didn't seem to help, so she called another nurse to bring an oxygen mask and internal monitor. The other nurse suggested they check me out and see where I was in terms of cervical progress. I was complete and the baby's head was almost hanging out. "If she pushes right now, this baby is coming out."

All of a sudden it was all hands on deck. I think every nurse on the floor was in my room, but no doctor. They were paging the doctor, but couldn't find her. I don't think they even broke down the bed. They had me start pushing anyway. Thatboy says after the first push, the head emerged, but it took about 4 more pushes for the rest of the baby to come out.

At 4:52am, less than 7 hours after my contractions started, less than an hour after my water broke, we met Thatbaby.  He was as blue as a smurf, but cried immediately and was placed on my chest for skin to skin as he was stimulated to help get the color into him. Apgars were 6/9 because of his blueness.

Thatbaby continues to be my Oppo-baby.  So very different from his big brother.  Breastfeeding has been so much easier this time around as Thatbaby has a voracious appetite.  Despite his rough start, he hasn't had the same issues as Thatkid, who suffered from jaundice for almost the first month of his life. 

We're finding the adjustment to being a family of four much easier than anticipated.  There's so much less anxiety the second time around, because we already know what to expect, and how to handle situations.  Thatboy remarked that this time at the hospital it was almost vacation-like, just sitting around and relaxing.

Although I do think the benefit to having a weekday baby (and a second kid) is that there were far less visitors at the hospital.  Which gave us a lot more downtime.  Our only guests were Thatmom and Thatkid - who is madly in love with his little brother.

We've been told about jealousy, that it takes several days for a sibling to understand the baby isn't going anywhere, that we could expect all sorts of behavioral issues.  We were expecting the worst, which could be why things are going so well.  Thatkid is ridiculously protective of his brother, he doesn't want to give him away.  He wants to be whereever the little guy is, traipsing behind to watch diaper changes, peering into the crib, asking to "carry him" (hold him) multiple times an hour.  He is often fond of saying "He's MY baby.  No one else's."  I'm already taking such delight in my boys!

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Homemade Life: Stewed Prunes

I'm about to get really personal with you, maybe too personal.  We're going to talk about constipation.  It's a pregnancy and post pregnancy woe. 

I was lucky enough to not worry about it at all this pregnancy, except towards the end, when it was less about the actual constipation, and more about rectal pressure from the positioning of the baby.  You hear complaints from pregnant women about the bladder pressure - that feeling of having to pee all the time.  No one talks about "the other end."  But when the baby descends, you constantly feel like you have to go, even though usually you don't.  It's been the bane of my existence for weeks.

Here's another dirty little secret - I really dislike prunes.  I think it stems from my childhood when Thatmom made us drink prune juice regularly to "keep us regular."  But after having Thatkid, I gained a newfound appreciation for them.  So while I normally wouldn't get excited about stewed prunes recipe, given the timing of this one, I was more than happy to make and try it.

Wizenberg recommends serving it warm, and it is delicious that way, but lately I've made it a regular part of my breakfast, serving it cold from the fridge and I don't think it loses much served that way either.

Stewed Prunes with Citrus and Cinnamon (From a Homemade Life)
1 orange
1 lb pitted prunes
1 cinnamon stick
  1. Cut the orange in half from stem to tip, then slice it very thinly, peel and all.
  2.  Put the orange slices in a medium saucepan with prunes and the cinnamon stick.
  3. Add water just to cover.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick, cool slightly and serve.