Sunday, December 20, 2009

Honeymoon over?

Something changed over the past few weeks. Ever since we got pregnant after our first IVF, I've been on a chronic high. Life suddenly seemed GOOD. The other stuff faded into insignificance. Career not going great - eh, who cared? I'd be a mother soon! Husband didn't take out garbage - well, it could wait until next week. After years of struggling with IF, I was giddy with happiness and gratitude that we might have our own baby after all!

Well, last night, as I was putting tabasco sauce on my burrito, the husband quips: "baby doesn't like tabasco". And how do you know, I asked. Since he refuses to read up about pregnancy, he has no idea that eating spicy food is fine during pregnancy.

Then later, when driving home, he insisted on blaring classical music really loud so that "the baby can hear and it's good for the baby". Never mind that the music was splitting my ear drums or that I was getting absolutely sick of listening to nothing but classical for several days in a row and he hadn't given me any solid evidence that it was in fact making any difference to the baby.

He's been leaving heaps of clothes around the house, stuff lying hither thither. I asked him to devote 30min today to putting his clothes away. He spent 5min hiding some of them behind doors and in closets and claimed he had done what I asked him to. I shouldn't mind this small stuff, but it is bugging the hell out of me. The euphoria is gone, it's back to arguing and fighting now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

MSG-less post

Yesterday I had a discussion with a few ladies on the DailyStrength forum. The topic was MSG - is it bad, it seems to be in everything, so how does one avoid it? The consensus was that it is bad and the only way to avoid it is to make food from scratch. Now this is great advice, except that it is hard to put it into practice in real life for working couples.

We try to eat at home as much as possible and I cook often - weekends for sure and a few days during the week. The other days are left over days or the occasional take out. Now, when I am cooking on weekdays, after a long day at work, there is only so much time I can spend in the kitchen. Add to that the fatigue of first trimester and it takes a Herculean effort to cook anything. The husband can only do so much himself, after taking care of dishes and laundry and the million other random chores.
So I often resort to pre-made sauces and soup mixes, which of course contain what? MSG. It's in broths, pastes, sauces, chips, anything that tastes good and expedites the eating process contains MSG. I do make several dishes 'from scratch' that don't have MSG, but there's only so many times one can make them without slowly drifting toward MSG for more variety. I've been craving jalapeno chips for months. I finally gave in and bought a big bag, which is also a big bag of MSG.

Yesterday's conversation however got me thinking. I mean, I really want to avoid this stuff. Sure, there's no concrete evidence one way or the other, but why take a chance? We've worked so hard for so long to come this far, why even risk jeopardizing the baby's health now? So I decided to get more organized about my MSG-less recipes. Usually I just wing it. I'll see what's around the house and throw something together. I don't pay attention to which meals I'm throwing in MSG and which not. Now, everytime I make a MSG-less meal, I'm going to record it in my blog so I can quickly search for them the next time. That way I'll have a quick reminder about the MSG-less possibilities that exist and hopefully I'll be able to steer myself away from the evil white powder. I hope others find them useful too. Here is what we had for last night's dinner.

Green salad

Ingredients (2 servings)

2 handfuls of mixed greens
Approx 12 grape tomatoes (or 2 vine tomatoes), halved or sliced
5 sprigs of cilantro, chopped coarsely
Red pepper, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper


Mix everything. If you have the time, allow it to sit for 10min or so, but it's not required.

Baked Salmon

Ingredients (4 servings)

1.25 lb salmon
1 tbsp olive oil


Wash the salmon and place it on a baking dish, skin down.
Coat the upper side with the oil.
Add salt, pepper, herbs (all optional).
Bake at 400F for 10min.

Note: I skip the salt if I plan to eat this with rice. In that case, I like pouring a bit of soy sauce on the fish when eating it.

Sauteed Bok choy with eggplant

Ingredients (2 servings)

1 lb bok choy (the ones with lots of green leaves), chopped coarsely.
1 large eggplant (chinese or american), sliced into half inch thick rounds.
1 big clove garlic
1 tbsp oil
Soy sauce or salt to taste


Heat the oil in a skillet.
When hot, add the garlic and eggplant. Stir and keep covered for about 3-4min.
Add the greens. Stir and keep covered for another 15min or until the eggplant is soft.
Add the soy sauce when done.

We ate the salmon and bok choy with rice and a bit of soy sauce. Each of these things are very easy and fast to make. This was tasty and nutritious too. No excuse for MSG in that meal!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Finally told parents

I've been hesitant to tell my parents that I'm pregnant in case something went wrong with the pregnancy. I've been constantly paranoid about one thing or another. Until I hit second trimester I wasn't going to feel safe. Well, second trimester is just 2 days away. Then there was the Down syndrome test from last week. I get the results on Mon. I could wait until then, because what if something bad comes back? Then there is the 2nd birth defect check at 20 wks. Apparently termination is still an option at that point, so really, nothing is final until then.

However, I decided to tell them today because, really, there will always be another source of worry around the corner. I have to celebrate each milestone as it comes. Ultimately that's all there is - a string of milestones, the journey.

I don't think parents have been as happy about anything else I've ever told them in my entire life. They've been closely involved during our trip through IF land. They've shared all our sorrows and ordeals. So glad I could finally give them this news. After the initial cries of joy, they immediately launched into what I should be eating :) Parents will be parents.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

12 wk ultrasound

Today the baby was screened for Down syndrome, Trisomy 13 and 18 (other genetic disorders). I went in bleary eyed and sleepy at 8:30am to the high-risk pregnancy center. The reception area smelled pleasantly of something perfumy, much like when you walk into the perfume dept at Macy's. A nice touch, maybe to help with morning sickness.

They explained to me that there are a few things they can see on the ultrasound that indicate the risk of a genetic disorder. One was the thickness of the fluid at the back of the baby's neck. Anything greater than 3mm indicated high risk. Absence of the nasal bones indicated high risk. As they explained all this to me, I got very scared. I hadn't even considered all this as a possibility. So far, "birth defects" had been a vague problem without a face, but hearing these details made it suddenly very real.

I lay there, stiff with anxiety. With every ultrasound, there's a moment before they confirm the heart beat when I fear the worst. She saw the heartbeat and I relaxed a bit. She checked for the presence of arms, legs, hands, feet, stomach, bladder, etc. So far, everything looked good. We could see the baby swallowing as the jaw was moving. That was supposedly a good sign. Fluid in stomach and bladder - good signs. Nasal bones in place, spine fluid was 1.3mm - what a relief!

The baby had its feet curled up for the longest time with its arms in front of its face. So we had to try to look at it from various angles until we could finally see and record the feet.

I was vastly relieved when everything was confirmed to be normal. There was still the bloodwork - they were going to check for certain proteins in my blood. I have to wait a week before that comes back.

I spoke to some friends who had babies before 30 and they didn't have to go through any of this screening. The perils of waiting until post-30..

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stuffed up and nowhere to go

It's been 6 days now that I've had a cold. I sneezed through Thanksgiving and it only seems to be getting worse.

I've been drinking lots of hot water with honey and lemon juice, apples, oranges, almonds. Last night I made a turkey soup out of leftover turkey, so I'll be drinking that for a few days now. I've tried walking in fresh (cold) air, I've tried staying in, nothing seems to be helping. I feel pretty miserable. I saw this list of 10 foods to eat when one has a cold on cnn. I've been eating a lot of them - probiotic yogurt, almonds, chicken(turkey) soup, red pepper (though very small amounts), green tea (again in small amounts because of the caffeine. What else has worked for people?

I was reading about listeria today and the symptoms of listeriosis. They say symptoms are flu-like. I keep thinking about the brie and cheesecake that I ate on Thanksgiving. It was downright careless of me to eat that brie. I just completely forgot about the soft-cheese ban and so did my husband. We are so used to eating that kind of thing (and so unused to being pregnant) that I happily gobbled it up as a matter of habit. I'm hoping that it was pasturized and that the cheesecake was baked and had no half cooked eggs in it. But every time my cold takes a turn for the worse I can't help thinking how horrific it would be if after everything we've been through, a bit of brie were to undo it all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Week 11 - The dream is alive!

Had my first u/s at the OBGYN office today. The baby looked great - alive and kicking, literally. It seemed to have long legs and was thrashing them around quite a bit. I'm going to be relieved and happy for a day now until some new worry creeps in.

Doc said that they'll schedule my C-Section about 7-10 days before my due date since they don't want to subject my current surgery scars to any amount of labor (for fear of uterine rupture). So I won't even get to experience labor. Not complaining too much about that.

About the fatigue that assaults all pregnant women - doc mentioned that progesterone was a fatiguing hormone. Luckily, progesterone is produced in big quantities only upto around 20 wks. After that, we are supposed to feel fine, with our usual levels of energy. I'm looking forward to that!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Gray skies and rain all day. It's cold and an unshakeable gloom hangs around the trees outside. Haven't spoken to a soul all day, on account of working almost non-stop and husband being out of town. Except for the breaks to sleep and walk outside. That was very refreshing, even though my head ached a bit in the cold. No one was on the streets, except for a cold wind and Click and Clack on my podcast. I bottle away any cheer I can find.

Listening to Madeleine Peyroux singing 'Weary Blues'. The best rendition I've heard so far. So many plans I had for today, but somehow the energy has slipped away. They say that the baby has a go at nutrients first, which may explain the sapped feeling. I've been eating all through the day, but I'll admit that some of it was junk. It's hard to find stuff to eat with low grade nausea humming in the background.

The jazz on radio cheered me up a bit, but even that can get tiresome after 5 hrs of it. Feel strangely ungrounded - acutely aware of how a thin wooden door separates the warm interior from the howling wind outside, the fragility of spaces and lives. My mind tends to come just a bit unhinged when I'm alone. I read that 1 in every 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage. That's not counting those who never make it to a positive pregnancy test. Lives that just disappear, fluttering hearts that beat for a few weeks and then go quiet. Each of them is probably a tiny piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle, one that is so big that we'll never be able to see the big picture.

Tomorrow, husband returns home. Maybe the sun will be out too!