Thursday, October 30, 2014

36 Week Doctors Appointment

On Tuesday I went to the doctor for my 36 week appointment. This marks the start of weekly doctors appointments, so every Monday I've got to get weighed, measured and poked. I mention the poking because this also starts the weekly cervical checks. I had been hearing about these from the women on my What To Expect App and from their accounts, these things sucked. Some women complained of extreme pain and bleeding afterwards, and others said that it caused them to get Braxton Hicks contractions for the rest of the day. No bueno!

BUT....I was still really excited for the cervical check up because it would tell me if my body and baby had begun to prepare for birth. I am happy to report that I am 1cm dilated and 50% effaced. Which means, to those who didn't know this (like me before I got pregnant) that labor could happen tomorrow...or in three weeks....or a week past my due date. Pretty much, being dilated means not a whole lot at this point and most women begin to dilate within the month before labor. My sister was 2-3cm dilated for three weeks and then went over her due date!! So I'm not holding my breath that anything is about to happen but my doctor seemed pretty confidant that my body will go into labor naturally and not need an induction. YAY.

She did, however, give me some options. I asked her how long she lets patients go past their due date before inducing labor (a very important question because I sure as hell don't want to be waiting until I'm 42 weeks to meet my little one). She reassured me by telling me that she never lets her patients go beyond 41 weeks because "the placenta might start conking out"---her words.

She also gave me the option of scheduling an induction for a day she would be on-call in the labor and delivery unit, either the 19th (3 days before DD) or the 24th (2 days after DD). I have to say it was really REALLY tempting to hear that I could be induced a few days before my due date, especially since everyone tells me that I will be late because its my first pregnancy. However, inductions come with all sorts of other complications, including the increased risk of c-section, as well as a more painful experience (so I've heard). So after talking with Matt, we decided that at our next appointment we will go ahead and plan an induction for the 24th, but hope that things progress naturally before then. This may not be everyone's way to go, but we have a few reasons why we like this idea:
1. both of our lucky numbers is 24....a random piece of trivia we discovered about each other when we first met.
2. she will be born well before Thanksgiving (this year)
3. She will not share a birthday with any of the MANY family and friends we have that have November birthdays
4. If I get to my due date with no baby, at least there will be a light at the end of the tunnel
5. She will be a Sagittarius
6. Our doctor will be able to deliver her for sure....and we love our doctor

So there you have it. Baby girl Pontius will be born by the 25th of November!!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

35 Weeks

How Far Along: 35 weeks, 5 days
How Long To Go: 4 weeks, 2 days
Weight Gain: -.4lbs
Total Weight Gain: 17lbs
Weight: 136.8lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: I was prescribed Ambien 5mg at my last doctors appointment and I am in heaven. I can actually sleep!!
Best Moment This Week: Just finished buying and ordering EVERYTHING we need for the baby's arrival, including ordering my breast pump so I feel a lot more in control and prepared than I did. We also got our stroller for 60% off after a bunch of sales and discounts...a super satisfying moment!
Nausea: None at all
Craving: Pho
Miss Anything: being comfortable
Movement: Her movements feel like drags and they hurt. I described it to Matt as the feeling you get when you're running and you get a cramp in your side.
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: Holy shit these next four weeks are going to drag if I remain in this amount of pain. I've got bad SI joint pain, sciatica, and last night began the carpal tunnel that radiated pain through all the joints on my right side of my body: my hand, fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder and neck all the way to my back, hip, knee and ankle. Today is a bit better, but I'm sure it will get worse later since all my symptoms get worse at night. Also working it's magic today is my debilitating sciatica. I am in bed with my feet up because every step shoots pain up my feet and into my back. This past week I have also started to feel feverish/sick every evening starting around 3pm.
Wedding Ring: Still on! there's a coupe of moments of swelling here and there but it's on for most of the day every day.
Looking Forward To: Getting all the rest of our stuff in the mail from
Maternity Clothes: Just received my first nursing bra in the mail and I LOVE it already. It's from La Leche League and is meant to sleep in but I might wear it all the time. It's kind of like a v-neck sports bra and is not only super comfy, but it's kind of cute. I plan to see how much bigger my boobs get once my milk comes in adn then order a couple more of these. I also ordered some staples from H& including a new set of pajamas, a pair of maternity black leggings (it's cold now!), a flowy long sleeve top that I should be able to wear and nurse in and still look cute and casual once baby arrives. I JUST discovered the maternity line at H&M and wish I had found it sooner.
Fruit: Canary Melon (5.5lb, 19-22 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Had a dream about preparing for Christmas last night....I think I'm a little ahead of myself lol


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Latest Craving: Olive Oil Cake

I have never been one for overly sweet desserts or intricate baking, so when a client requested this for their final course of a tasting menu I happily obliged. The recipe was simple, and although I wasn't sure what it would ultimately taste like, I knew it was a blank canvas for a truly spectacular dessert. I paired this recipe with a homemade rosemary orange syrup (recipe below) and fresh whipped cream. The end result was a sweet and savory dessert that tasted a lot like an orange Creamcicle (without the artificial aftertaste).

photo by James Ransom

Recipe (adapted from Maialino's)
makes a 9-inch round cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rye whiskey or Grand Marnier (optional)

*For Rosemary Orange Syrup:  1 to 2 ratio of orange juice to granulated sugar, 1 tsp dried rosemary, pinch red pepper flake. Reduce by 1/2 to a syrupy consistency and cool.

Heat oven to 350F. Oil, butter or spray your 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep. 
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, juice and whiskey. Add the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine, but don't over whisk.
Pour batter into your cake pan and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges and remove cake from cake pan and set on a wire rack to let cool completely (about 2 hours). Serve at room temperature with the orange rosemary syrup and some fresh whipped cream.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Nesting: Baking Edition

So I've got about a month left of pregnancy. I'm bored, I'm anxious, and I am in fear of the unknown.

All of these factors lead to some serious nesting. Nesting is a syndrome that most women experience in different ways and at different times. My nesting has come in different forms, but I first noticed it in the second trimester when I all of a sudden became a clean freak. If you know me well, you know that I am FAR from a clean freak...some would even describe me as messy or dirty. All of a sudden I was doing daily loads of laundry, keeping the bathrooms clean and making the bed daily. Unfortunately, as I eased into the physical exhaustion of the third trimester my nesting has switched gears from cleaning to cooking. For example, as I sit here writing this post, my bathrooms counters and toilets are in desperate need of a cleaning and disinfecting...and what am I about to do? Bake oatmeal cookies.

Pregnancy has turned me into Betty-fuckin-Crocker and I HATED baking before. I am a private chef and would always try and convince my clients to choose an ice cream or cheese plate for dessert because of my serious disdain for the pastry arts. Now, 8 months pregnant, I am whipping up banana breads, cookies and cake recipes for pleasure. This has been the biggest and most noticeable change in my personality since entering the third trimester. My husband loves it by the way. He has always had a sweet tooth and grew up with a mom who just kept tupperware full of homemade fudge and baked goods on the kitchen counter at all times.

So I'm off, to bake cookies...not clean my bathroom like I should. And I can't feel at all bad about it, because as everyone keeps telling me these stress-free days of daytime t.v. watching and leisure baking are numbered. Soon a little squishy tyrant will be calling the shots and running the house and I will be lucky to shower and eat in the same day, let alone bake anything or Clorox a bathroom counter.


Friday, October 17, 2014

34 Weeks

How Far Along: 34 weeks, 6 days
How Long To Go: 5 weeks, 1 days
Weight Gain: .4lbs
Total Weight Gain: 17.4lbs
Weight: 137.2lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: I was prescribed Ambien 5mg at my last doctors appointment and I am in heaven. I can actually sleep!!
Best Moment This Week: My whole weekend. The baby shower with friends and family, my bestie Rachel coming into town and staying with us! I haven't spent that much time with her in years and it was so freaking great.
Nausea: None at all
Craving: nada
Miss Anything: being comfortable
Movement: She is maintaining her amateur gymnast status
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: back pain like nothing I've ever felt! thankfully I have some prenatal massages from my parents to use! I'm also starting to notice some bloating in my face and arms...Matt doesn't see it but I think I can.
Wedding Ring: Had to remove it this morning because it was tight.
Looking Forward To: Hitting the milestone of once-a-week doctors appointments...sounds weird but it means I'm in the home stretch. Also, looking forward to finishing up our registry by getting all the essentials we need and finally cleaning and putting it all away so we are ready to go whenever little girl Pontius wants to make her debut.
Maternity Clothes: The dress in my picture this week isn't a maternity dress but it was on super sale from $80 down to $20 so I couldn't resist. It fit over the bump so I got a medium and will just alter it if I need to once I'm no longer preggo...but I LOVE it! I've come to realize that whatever can fit over the bump is now maternity wear.
Fruit: Pineapple (4.9lb, 19-22 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Dreamed about our daughter last night. Saw her face and her hair was just like Matt's. I also changed her diaper like a champ in my dream, but she has some serious poop going on.


Third Trimester Update: fears, hopes and dreams

I am starting to slack off on doing these bump pictures. Mostly because I'm usually wearing pajamas, with no bra, and a face full of "I woke up like this". Last night however I managed to put on a cute outfit and actually do my hair and makeup because my in-laws were taking my hubby and I out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. You know it's been a while since you've gotten dolled up when your husband can't stop commenting on how pretty you are. He seriously raved about it, which made me realize that he hasn't seen me dressed up and looking sexy in quite some time. Something I hope to remember and do a better job at...even when baby comes (but we'll see lol).

So all four of us went to dinner at this great little Italian place on Sullivan's Island called the Obstinate Daughter. The meal was great and despite some awkwardness, the conversation flowed well and we all had a great time. It didn't hurt that Matt and both his parents probably drank a bottle of wine to the face (while I soberly sipped on my water) Aah in-laws.

So I am entering the phase of pregnancy that everyone dreads....the last month. I've got about five weeks left, give or take some days, and I have hit a weird phase. I am at once, both excited with anticipation and terrified. I feel like there is so much longer to be pregnant, and I also feel like this baby is coming fast! It is so bizarre to be on this knife edge of emotions and be going back and forth multiple times a day.

I am down-to-my-bones terrified of having a baby. I know deep down that I will be a great mom, I've always wanted to be a mom and I already love this little girl so much it makes me cry. What I am terrified of is the unknown, mostly the labor, delivery and aftermath that will ravage my body, mind and emotions. My mom had postpartum depression after she had me and she told me that it can be hereditary. In all honesty there is a history of depression in my family and I am terrified that it will rear its ugly head in me at the moment when I should be experiencing the greatest joy.

Besides the emotional fallout of having a baby, I am definitely scared of the physical act of birthing a human out of my vagina. Like, how exactly is it going to fit? I am well aware of my body and I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that the same lady bits that get a bit sore after some rough sex are going to stretch enough accomodate an entire person....that just seems like some crazy science fiction shit. Then, of course, being big and pregnant every woman wants to tell me their story or their friends story, or their cousins story about how they tore their entire perineum, or the baby had such a big head it broke their tail bone, or any number of other gruesome things that I do not want to be hearing. I still remember being traumatized from watching the birthing video in 8th-grade biology...I DO NOT need to hear about some other woman's emergency will NOT make me more prepared, or less anxious. The crazy thing is that almost everyone I've talked to said that the labor wasn't that bad!! That the recovery once you're home, and off the drugs, and taking care of the newborn is the worst. That you bleed for weeks and you're sore, and going pee is like a 30 minute exercise in hospital-grade hygiene. 

And then....there are the baby books. Matt and I decided it was a good idea to read up as much as we can about the first few months of having a baby because we really don't have a clue what to expect. So we bought three very well respected and recommended books and i can summarize all three in a few short words: It's all down hill from here. Yes there is the outpouring of happy hormones and you are all in love with your baby, but physically, you've just lived through the equivalent of breaking all your bones at once while being set on fire...and now, a tiny human is chewing your nipples off. I might be blowing the recovery time way out of proportion, and I do hear those love hormones really do send you into euphoria as soon as you hold your new little miracle...but while I'm over here on the still pregnant side of things, it just sounds awful.

I don't want to sound like I am bitching too hard. I know that being able to get pregnant in and of itself is a miracle and I honestly have had an easy pregnancy and enjoyed the feeling of growing my child...but I wouldn't be me and it wouldn't be honest to say that I am looking forward to every moment of the next six weeks. I've got about a month left of being pregnant and it is starting to suck. There's no way around it. Last night I ended up with such horrific back pain that I needed Matt to lean on in order to walk to the bedroom! I literally felt like I had broken my tail bone or something had gone seriously wrong. The baby is growing so much that the pressure on my ribs feels like I might pop one out of place and the pressure on my lungs is making it hard to breathe and causing my heart to race.

Alright....switching gears. No one needs to read any more bitching from an 8 month pregnant lady who didn't sleep last night. What I want to end this post on is a positive note, so now I will tell you all about everything I am excited for.

First and foremost, I can't wait to meet my daughter. It sounds really corny but I am so unbelievably in love with Matt that I think it is the coolest miracle in the universe that we have come together to make this brand new person that is our two souls combined. She is going to be a part of both of us and the greatest way to celebrate our love. I couldn't be more excited for Matt to be her dad, and for me to be her mom. I can't wait to see what she looks like, what her personality is like, who she is. I can't wait to raise her to love life, and to always look on the sunny side of things. I can't wait to watch her grow and change every day and to see her first moments. not even the big moments. Like, do you remember the first time you tried ice cream? or the first time you saw the ocean? I get to see those first moments in her life, the ones that she wont remember or think of as milestones. I get to watch this glorious little person discover the world!! I get to watch her be curious and excited about everything! I get to read to her at night and start family traditions that she will cherish for a lifetime. Matt and I get to show her what a marriage should be, and she will learn through our example that a happy home is full of music and laughter and silliness and cuddles. We will sing silly songs and teach her how to tie her shoes.

I can't wait for all of it. I am so in awe of it all. It really is the most amazing thing I will ever do with my life, and the most important. If I can live a long life, and have my only accomplishment be that I was a good wife and mother, I will die a happy old woman warm in my Rose from Titanic (lol).


Thursday, October 9, 2014

33 Weeks

How Far Along: 33 weeks, 5 days
How Long To Go: 6 weeks, 2 days
Weight Gain: 1.8lbs
Total Weight Gain: 17lbs
Weight: 136.8lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none..and starting to think I might be safe
Sleep: I don't think sleep in the third trimester is possible. It takes forever for me to get sleepy, and then when I do my back and hips hurt so bad that I have to move to get comfortable again. It's like the weight of my belly is crushing my bones!
Best Moment This Week: My birthday!!!
Nausea: None at all
Craving: nothing this week
Miss Anything: being comfortable, sleep
Movement: She is doing some crazy full body rolls that are now inching into my rib cage and sternum...kind of painful
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: still going strong with the back pain, leg pain, feet pain and overall feeling like a weeble wobble
Wedding Ring: on
Looking Forward To: my bestie Rachel coming to visit, and our second (co-ed) baby shower on Saturday. Also, I have my last even tomorrow so after this weekend I am officially on maternity leave!
Maternity Clothes: As fall approaches I am not as excited as I usually am for the change in wardrobe...mostly because my bump is enormous and i can't buy cute new fall clothes
Fruit: Honeydew Melon (4.5lb, 19 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Had my first "I'm in labor" dream. Woke up still pregnant...kinda disappointed


My 27th Birthday

I turned 27 this week and that means I am officially in my late 20's.

My birthday weekend was low key, which suited me just fine. I honestly don't have the energy for big crowds or parties anymore. I can't drink, so this was a sober of many to come I bet. My birthday fell on a Monday this year so instead of a dinner, we did Sunday brunch at Poogan's Porch downtown with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, and my great friends Ed and Tess. We ate some delicious food and I received some fabulous gifts. My parents got me two prenatal massages which I desperately need at this point! Carrie got me a very col bangle bracelet, and Tess got me a pedicure and baby some headbands and a pair of white baby Uggs. This baby officially has more pairs of Uggs than I do!

After brunch we went to a biergarten for the 1 o'clock football games and hung out until the Raven's and Giants games were over. My friend from culinary school Chris has a new bakery/bar/lounge opening on East Bay and he invited us to their friends and family party that afternoon. We stopped in to see the place and drink for free. Matt had a few glasses of wine, and I had bacon ice cream...seems about right. After about an hour there, we were both exhausted and sugar high from trying all of Chris's confections, so we went home to crash on the couch with our doggies, and ordered Chinese food. I honestly wouldn't have wanted to spend the night any other way.

Monday, on my actual birthday, Matt worked while I did housework....typical Monday. Monday night was a different story altogether. Two Charleston chefs were doing a one-night-only event called Noodles Without Borders, collaborating Asian street food with traditional Italian cuisine. I could not have planned a better night of food in my wildest dreams. We were the first people in the restaurant and ordered 5 dishes to share. Each one was so unique, such a culinary mind fuck that we were both giddy. Each bite was familiar, exotic and like nothing I had ever had before. The dishes were a true collaboration between the two chefs and I was so insanely happy with the meal I could hardly stand it. I just hope that they do this event again because I will once again be first in line!

Full and glowing in a post-epic meal satisfaction, we got home around 7pm. Did I mention that we were old people and ate at 5:30pm? Anyway, we changed into comfies and posted on the couch for a movie. We rented Chef (very fitting after the night we had) and loved it! And so concluded my birthday. The next day Matt's gift for me arrived in the mail: a brand new Vitamix 7500!!! An essential and oh-so-exciting kitchen toy that we have been talking about purchasing for years. I'm already enjoying it as I sit here drinking a perfectly blended smoothie.

My birthday was great. I got to do my favorite things with my favorite people and I couldn't have asked for more. This next year of my life has so much in store for me already that I can only feel like I am about to embark on a huge new chapter in my life. I am going to become a mom in 6 weeks or so, and my whole life is about to change. I don't know how I got this lucky but I have never been happier in my life than I am married to Matt and growing my daughter. Here's to another great year in the Pontius house!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

32 Weeks

Okay, okay, so I missed last week. I have been fighting my lack of motivation in all things lately, not just blogging. I feel like my first trimester exhaustion has come back with a vengeance and nothing seems quite as good as curling up on the couch with a book and hibernating from the dreary rainy weather we've been having. Luckily I cut back on work for the month of October and have the free time to do so. I have written recently about my sense of guilt at slowing down my work pace and I think I am finally at peace with the decision. Perhaps it took me having another bout of excruciating sciatic pain that rendered me horizontal for hours. During those hours I contemplated how horrific life would have seemed if I had a client to cook for in my compromised state, and now I know that I have made the right decision. I have two more events scheduled already, one this Friday and another on the following Friday, and then I am on full-blown maternity leave. It seems crazy to me that we are here already. Just a few short weeks and I will be packing a hospital bag and preparing our home for the arrival of our daughter. YIKES!

Matt and I finally acknowledged out ignorance on the subject of child-rearing and ordered a couple of books from amazon and signed up for some classes at the hospital. I'll hopefully read and review these books before the baby arrives, or else I will be learning on the job and trying to stay calm. Our biggest priority is getting her on a schedule as quickly as possible. We already have three dogs that have a pretty solid that runs the household mind you, but that's a whole other story. To save our sanity we will need to at least have a slight handle on our new addition after a few weeks (although this might be wishful thinking).

How Far Along: 32 weeks, 2 days
How Long To Go: 7 weeks, 5 days
Weight Gain: 1.8lbs
Total Weight Gain: 15.2lbs
Weight: 135lbs
Belly Button: Total outie
Stretch Marks: none
Sleep: Getting hard to get comfortable again as my belly gets bigger
Best Moment This Week: Having some friends over for football
Nausea: some slight nausea last night and this morning
Craving: fruit and chocolate
Miss Anything: being comfortable
Movement: her kicks are becoming less often, but her full body movements are increasing...I think she is just a bit more squished in there and so when she moves I can feel huge parts moving. She is also probably getting ready to turn head down
Gender: bouncing baby girl
Symptoms: OMG back pain!! Sciatic pain to be exact. It is killing me!
Wedding Ring: on
Looking Forward To: My birthday on Monday!!
Maternity Clothes: I'm getting sad looking at all the cute fall clothes that I will not be purchasing this season because I am enormous and don't want to buy the maternity versions.
Fruit: Head of Lettuce (4lb, 19 inches)
Weird Dreams This Week: Tried really hard to remember my dream from last night but already forgot it...maybe it will come to me later.