Monday, October 2, 2017

October: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

Image result for october infant loss

I've been a statistic for awhile...I am that 1 in 6.  
But 16 months ago, I became the 1 in 4; miscarriage..
I should see something more...
Two of them, back to back.     

Being a fertility patient for so long, with no history of loss, a miscarriage was the furthest thing from my mind.  After all, I was young and healthy.  Embryos from a 21 year old don't result in a miscarriage, and certainly not twice!  But the truth is, miscarriages don't discriminate, and even at 21, it was still considered normal.  

That day, I wasn't caught completely off guard; I had a sneaking suspicion.  And when it was confirmed a week later...I'm so thankful for the friends that rallied next to me.    

If you're the 1 in 4, you're not alone.  
If you're the 1 in 4, and you feel robbed of not only what could have been, but all the beauty that then comes your way...you're not alone.  
If you're the 1 in 4 and you question your body's capability...you're not alone.  

Even being more than halfway through a healthy pregnancy, I still attach an 'if' to it's presence, not a when.  
I still have moments when I panic. 
People are still afraid to openly talk about my pregnancy to me.  
1 in 4.  

If you're the 1 in 4, I want to tell you something: one day, you'll get to the other side.  You might feel unstable, and insecure, and nervous, and paranoid...but the other side awaits you, one day at a time.  One day, you'll feel the weight lifted...
One day, you'll think about it a minute less...
One day, you'll smile just a little more...
One day, you'll laugh a little louder...
One day, you'll feel peace...
One day, you'll see the beauty...the rose among the thorns...

Image result for you don't spell it you feel it

Check out my profile on The Layers Project where I talk about pregnancy after miscarriage.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bumpdate: 24 Weeks: Viability




I can't believe four weeks has flown by and I'm back with another bumpdate!  And...we're on the heels of October-how crazy is that?!? 

Total Weight Gain: So, interestingly enough, my weight has creeped up, putting me at at total gain of 20lbs. I anticipated that I'd gain similarly to my other pregnancies, and the fact that at my last appointment, at 25 weeks I was only up 20lbs, is nothing short of a miracle considering I've been eating maraconi out of a box, and my exercise until two weeks ago was whatever box I was unpacking!  I do hope to start eating more home cooked meals, and getting more consistent exercise in, which will hopefully help curtail the weight gain.  I had to lose about 50 with Hannah, what's another 10?!?

Maternity Clothes: I have bought a few maternity specific items like exercise tops and pants, a pair of maternity leggings and jeans to wear under dresses when it gets cooler, and some everyday tops.  I think I'm starting to look more pregnant, but there are times, like when I wear the tighter exercise clothes, I don't think it's completely obvious I'm with child.  Thankfully my trainer frequently talks about the baby and the pregnancy, so people around me might not actually think I'm just in need a good butt kicking!  I hope in the next few weeks to showcase more of a capsul maternity wardrobe I've put together, and some reviews on the maternity clothes I've had to buy this time.  

Sleep: With the cooler temperatures, and a cold that required me to work on finding a good fan placement, I've been sleeping much better.  Of course, lots of pillows are necessary.  

Best moment this month: in my last bumpbdate I mentioned that at 20 weeks I was finally able to feel the baby move from the outside, but at 23 weeks about, the movements became much more pronounced. I went to a Saturday night religious service with live music, and the amount of movement that could be felt from the outside was incredible! I thought that baby would bust out!  

Movement:  Lots of movement, lots! Thank goodness!  I'm starting to notice a pattern; we have a party goer on our hands, every night!  I can also poke myself enough to get a response back, which is so reassuring.  There was even a time when Moshe came into our room in the middle of the night, and we had a brief conversation-and the baby started moving!  I couldn't believe we already woke the baby! 

Exercise:  I have had five sessions with a trainer-twice a week, for 30 minutes.  I love it, even though it wasn't until this past time that I wasn't totally sore from head to toe.  You forget how capable your body is, and even when pregnant, with the help of a professional-we can push ourselves to great limits.  I am so excited to continue this journey with a personal trainer.  For now, I've been limited in how often I can exercise, but when my event is over (Safety Awareness Day) I will have much more free time and I plan on a 5-day a week exercise schedule.  

Gender: No idea, and loving it! I think boy!

Labor Signs: I think I might have had some braxton hicks, but I'm not sure.  So, no labor signs, thank goodness!

Belly Button in or out: In! I still have that awkward belly flab; it's filing out, but it's still there.

What  I miss:  nothing really...

What I'm looking forward to: nothing specifically baby related, but I do have my glucose test on Monday.  

I had my first OB appointment with a new OB here.  To be honest, I felt very disappointed.  The care here seems to be much more lax, which I'm not used to.  And besides not being used to it, lax care does not work well for me.  I don't want to be told by a doctor that I'm fine, I want to know, from blood work, or whatever other test that I'm fine-sometimes rare things happen, and sometimes doctors are wrong.  I went into the appointment knowing that no one could possibly replace my OB, but also knowing I'm not new at this, having been pregnant three other times. I know how to advocate for myself and as long as advocating gets me what I need, I'll be ok.  I felt the doctor was pretty dismissive of my concerns, and I did have to push for blood work regarding my concerns with the itching I've been having on my hands, feet and now arms and chest.  I also didn't like that when he couldn't get the heartbeat on the doppler because it was moving around so much, he was "ok with that" because I feel movement. They also didn't check for protein in my urine when I said I didn't have to pee.  While I'm sure most people are fine, I'm not comfortable with such lax treatment.  

Hindsight is 20/20 and I think the OB, and myself learned a valuable lesson.  One of the blood tests I pushed for was to check for parvovirus-after a community member had her baby very prematurely due to her baby being anemic from having been exposed due to the mother not having immunity.  It's extremely rare to have a manifestation like she did, but it happened, and  apparently this virus was being spread in Baltimore, and pregnant women were being urged to have a blood test, a simple blood test.  While there is no treatment for not having immunity, knowledge is power.  Knowing if you have immunity or not will help you be cautious and navigate certain situations.    

I pushed for the blood test and thankfully I did!  "Interestingly enough..." I've never been exposed to parvovirus and there's nothing to do about it.  However, I now have that knowledge, and I can move forward with the right information, caution, and power.  I also hope that this experience helps the doctor remember that while being cautious can sometimes cause extra annoyances and work on their end-sometimes rare things happen, and you can never be too safe.  

It also showed me that it's completely ok to be that "crazy person" because you are well within your right.  I feel so relieved I pushed for that information, because you never know, as rare as something may be, hey, sometimes we fall on the wrong side of statistics.  

For comparison, you can check out Hannah's bumpdate here.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Matters of the Heart: Fetal Echocardiogram





A couple weeks ago, I had a fetal echocardiogram.  In my previous pregnancies, back in NY, this was standard care for IVF patients.  Here, now that we're in Ohio, they thought it was an odd request, but obliged.  The ultrasound tech was slightly annoyed when she found out she was scanning due to an over-reactive preggo #dontmess but, the scan was faster than usual, we made nice small talk, and all was well.  

For starters, the scan is very boring.  Yes, I'm always relieved to have the chance to get a peek at the baby-but this is not one of the ultrasounds where you walk away with cutesy pictures.  In fact, the tech even told me I could watch on the screen!  I just told her this was a boring ultrasound, plus, it's all black and white with flickers of red and blue (to show the blood flow) what's to see anyway? She just chuckled...

The scan is scheduled to last between 45-60 minutes.  Mine was about 35 minutes, as the baby was rather cooperative.  And for those that are wondering-i did not budge on my desire to not know the gender.  I told her I didn't want to know, so she was careful where she scanned because it's legs were up over it's head.  Now, people suspect she must have seen it was a boy, or she wouldn't have made that comment-but she told me she makes a habit of not ever checking the gender because it doesn't matter for what she's looking for.  I think she knew based on seeing the legs and feet above the head, not to scan further down.  



I had never been told this before, but I was told that since I was before 27 weeks, I needed to have a full bladder.  The receptionist had mercy on me and let me pee when I arrived because there was no way I could arrive with a full bladder, and then go though an hour scan!  But, the tech was not thrilled with that and claimed that was why the baby was so low down and slumped making it a bit more difficult for her to get the images she needed.  

All in all, there were no concerns going into the exam, I requested it because it was standard in my past pregnancies, and peace of mind is highly valued in this pregnancy!  At the end, the doctor came in and told me everything looked great: all the right holes, no holes where there shouldn't be, everything flowed the right way, and there were no concerns!  


Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Now that we are well into the holiday season, I wanted to share some seasonal holiday recipes that we can all enjoy!  To be honest, I can't believe I've never shared our traditional holiday recipes; and unfortunately, this year I was on hiatus, so those recipes will have to wait until next year!!!

Until then, let's browse Pinterest shall we...

These chewy Maple Glazed Apple Blondies taste like sweet apple pie with a warm maple icing! This homemade apple blondie recipe is the perfect fall dessert! It's easy, super flavorful, and always a crowd pleaser!

How mouthwatering do these maple glazed apple blondies look?

pumpkin_spice_butterscotch_popcorn(v6).jpg

Who doesn't love popcorn?

Iced Pumpkin Coffee Cake - super moist, bursting with fall spices, and easy to make! Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Tis the season for pumpkin spiced everything! 

Classic Minestrone soup with a tomato vegetable broth base and loaded to the max with fresh veggies, beans, and tender pasta. Simmer with some spices and you have a delicious & healthy bowl of soup for dinner.

I always enjoy a nice hearty soup when it gets chilly!

Butterscotch Caramel Coffee Recipe. Perfect for a cold night! LivingLocurto.com

#butfirstcoffee 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Munchies: One Pot Meals

We're nearing the one month mark since our move...and unfortunately there isn't an end in sight to the boxes! Which means we've been eating a lot of boxed macaroni #truthbomb 
BUT-with these recipes, once my kitchen is slightly unpacked, I can quickly get myself back in the game!  

If you try any of these out, you'll have to let me know which ones are keepers! 

One Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Vegetables

Honey Mustard Chicken & Potatoes | https://cafedelites.com

One Pot Greek Chicken and Rice with roasted lemon halves is a quick weeknight meal with garlic, lemon, and super flavorful seasoned rice pilaf.

One Pot Skinny Creamy Garlic Noodles, a dinner recipe idea by Favorite Family Recipes


Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowl recipe is a perfect summer one pot meal. Full of crunchy flavors and a sharp and tangy Asian inspired dressing. Healthy and delicious. Vegan and Gluten-Free too.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Bumpdate! 20 weeks

I'm so glad to be back in this space! So much to share with you, but I'm mostly just thrilled that I get to come back and be in this current place. 21w6d...we've come a long, long way, thank God.  


Although I'm still wondering where my bump is exactly?  I definitely had one at 18 weeks with Hannah..now, people are still surprised when I tell them I'm pregnant!  

Total weight gain/loss: this is interesting: in my previous three pregnancies, I've always gained a lot of weight-it ranged from 40lbs-55lbs in total; first trimester was always a gain of 10lbs!  I exercised a lot less with Hannah, which is probably why I gained more than I did with my other pregnancies.  There's the idea that how you eat impacts the weight you'll gain, but this pregnancy has made me question if that's really true, or it there's some truth to the theory of you eat what you need and your body gains what it needs...
I gained 20lbs pre-pregnancy over the past year+ with treatments and miscarriages and just life in general!  I assumed once I got pregnant either I would buckle down on nutritious eating and exercise and keep the weight gain to a minimum, or, I'd gain the typical 40lbs-50lbs I gain in pregnancy.  Of course, I really hoped I could keep it to a minimum because I do plan on losing it all post baby.  Here's where it gets interesting, and I am not condoning this at all, but this is just my reality given my personal circumstances these days (moving, previous weight gain, lack of exercise, feeling overwhelmed, lacking the ability to cook my own food, etc) so far, at 21 weeks, with lack of exercise, and no conscience eating what so ever, I am up about 12 lbs. That, is very odd to me...but hey, I'll take it! Has anyone ever had an experience like that?

Maternity Clothes: I have some stretchy skirts and tunic tops I'm living in.  My maternity clothes remain by a friend and I was not able to get them before I moved out of town. Either I'll get them soon, or I'll have to buy new.  Either way, I figured that after having gone through my pregnancies and her pregnancies, combined with probably being completely  out of style, I was digging the idea of doing a capsule maternity wardrobe!  I've picked up a few pieces as needed, but I hope for at least my weekday staple wardrobe to be done through the capsule.  

Sleep:  Sleep has been somewhat challenging.  I have become uncomfortable sooner than I remember with the other pregnancies, and I requires pillows at this point.  But, I don't always have all the pillows I need and we have a shortage of pillows around here, so that makes things difficult at times.  I also seem to have been hit with heartburn all of a sudden! Heartburn was always my classic pregnancy symptom, beginning around the time of a pregnancy test!  This time, it wasn't until 20 weeks I experienced heart burn AND I already experienced that dreaded choking on your acid reflux in the middle of the night! That hasn't happened to me until the third trimester, oh boy!!!

Best moment this month: Our anatomy scan confirmed we have a seemingly healthy baby on our hands, thank God.  We weren't so fortunate with Hannah, but this baby is not presenting with the same issues!!!  We will follow up with another scan in a few weeks, and I have requested a fetal echocardiogram.  This is not being recommended to me, rather in NY, these were standard for pregnancies conceived via IVF.  That ultrasound gives me a lot of piece of mind, so I asked for it, and the doctor happily obliged! That is coming up in the next couple of weeks!  

Movement:  I have been feeling movement since 10 weeks, as crazy as that sounds!  I have heard from other women that the more pregnancies you have, the earlier you feel movement.  So, while I will never be 100% sure that what I felt was the baby, I know what it wasn't. But, what made that difficult is that having felt movement, makes it harder to not feel movement.  Not only is it not common to feel movement so early, even when fetal movement is normal, around 14-16 weeks, it's not consistent.  So that was challenging for me-that lack of fetal movement didn't mean fetal demise. Now, just after 20 weeks, I was able to feel movement from the outside!!

Exercise: For so many reasons, I haven't been exercising.  I know that I can't jump back into the routine I was doing pre-pregnancy, but I do plan on securing a trainer for 2-3 times a week (she recommended 30 minute sessions) and then doing some other form of exercise 1-2 times per week.  A friend invited me to barre, so I'll look into that!  Although exercise and dieting hasn't been an issue for me when I needed it to work, pregnancy is an easy excuse to be lax, and I don't want to end up in as out of shape as I was after Hannah, but I know unless  I make exercise an appointment, like everything else in my life now, I won't willingly take myself away from my crazy, unpacked, upside down house!  

Gender: For the first time, I succeeded in not finding out the gender of this baby!  I really, truly, don't want to know and I am so enjoying just finally bonding over the baby.

Labor signs: No, thankfully! And at the anatomy scan they offered me a cervical check, and thankfully mine was measuring solidly above their requirement, at 3.4. 

Belly button in or out: IN! Due to my pre-pregnancy weight gain, my stomach is still looking flabby and not necessarily pregnancy, so it has that concave shape a little...almost 22 weeks and still in an awkward pregnancy stage! #help #wheresthebump

What I miss: besides my clothes (specifically having enough underwear) and my house not being upside down-nothing!  

What I'm looking forward to: every week is a step in the right direction! Next Friday I have my requested fetal echocardiogram. 

Poll: Boy or Girl???

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

16 Week Check Up!

Here I am, solidly into the second trimester...thank God.  

I said I'd feel more relaxed...I don't.
I said I'd feel better...I don't.
I said I'd be more optimistic...I'm not.
I said I'd be more motivated...I'm not.
I said I'd stop worrying as much...I haven't.
I said I'd stop being convinced the baby had died...I haven't.

Anxiety is real...trauma is real...

I said all of these things, and they make complete sense!  Up until this point, I was still in that risky time.  Although I'm presently 16w2d, I hadn't seen the baby since 12w4d. So when people would excitedly remind me I was well into the second trimester, I just replied, "I don't know if the baby is in the second trimester!" That was to be confirmed today-and thank God it was! But this is how real and irrational anxiety and trauma are:  at almost halfway through this pregnancy, things are looking more and more positive. I should let myself breathe and think that maybe, just maybe, I'll bring home a baby in January.  I thought once I get there, I'll be ok. I'll stop worrying so much because I have every reason to be less worried! But anxiety tricks you-when you think you're comfortable, when you think you have a plan, it finds a new way to rob you of being comforted.  

Today it took some time to find the heartbeat again.  I got a sense the nurse was getting a little nervous, but eventually a heartbeat popped on the machine, "150 beats per minute," she proclaimed, and then just as quick as it was found, she turned the doppler off.  Relieved for half a second, I texted my husband:

It's alive, but I don't believe it. 

It took too long...
I only heard it for a second...
It was probably my own heartbeat...
How does she know...

I got to this place, this place I waited to be in for so long, this place that I thought would give me comfort, but I'm not comforted, now, not even a doppler can convince me all is well. 

You can follow my story this week at The Layers Project where I'm discussing my story and more about my anxiety and trauma resulting from the past 18 months...

     

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Munchies: Firecracker Chicken

Sounds like summer huh? 
I am not one to experiment with meats or poultry; probably because no matter, I never end up eating it.  But, I contributed to a Shabbos lunch meal this past weekend, and I said I'd make chicken.  I knew I needed to spice things up #nopunintended 

We don't own a grill, or a fryer, or any fancy shmancy meat contraption.  So I needed something simple. What I loved about this was although it took a few steps, nothing was too complicated or overly time consuming. What else was nice, is that by cooking it in the pan first, you greatly reduce the overall cooking time!

Baked Firecracker Chicken

1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar or honey (I used brown sugar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 tablespoon cider vinegar 
2 cloves grated garlic (I buy the pre-minced)
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper

Heat the hot sauce, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauce pan until sugar is melted and it looks like a sauce.  

Then, begin heating the oil in a skillet (the original recipe calls for using an oven safe skillet so you can brown it and then bake it in the same pan, but since I don't have an oven safe skillet, I just transferred the chicken to a tray.  

Salt and pepper the chicken, and when the oil is hot, brown it in the skillet; 3-5 minutes per side.  

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees, about 10-15 minutes. 

If you like spicy, this is the recipe for you! 



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Home Tour: Entryway


I hope you'll join me over the next several weeks as I showcase our current apartment.  It's pretty bittersweet, as we'll be moving on in less than a month.  You may remember, we moved to Baltimore in July of last year, and in August we'll find our way to Columbus, Ohio.  I've always regretted not taking the time to showcase each of our current spaces-yes, each...there have been seven in almost ten years!  While I don't consider myself a decorator by any means, I've always fallen in love with the spaces I've created. We've only rented, so you have to make do with what you have, and part of that is budgeting too!  All things considered, I think I've done really well making it stylish, functional, and meaningful.  My "houses" (and currently apartment) have always been homes, and for that I'm so thankful.  

Without further ado...c'mon in


Entryway mats had always been a dilemma to me: function, yet stylish-only to dirty...it wasn't until I thought to find a doorway mat that was cheeky and just me...this makes me smile every time.  This was bought on Etsy, but you can find several on Amazon.  


And chances are, you can usually find me at home with donuts.  
Is it a real baby, or a donut baby? 



Since we're moving to Columbus, where there isn't a kosher Dunkin' Donuts, you will find me like this for the next few weeks...

A common theme you will notice throughout the apartment, is maximizing walls and corners.  That chalk board wall is really blocking a door into the kitchen. But, just to left of the bikes is the dining room with an entry into the kitchen as well.  Two entries into the kitchen within a matter of steps was just not necessary.  When we moved here, we lost our garage, so bikes and strollers now had to be stored inside the apartment, in addition to lacking space in general. So, we made this a little entryway nook.  It looks tight, but there is plenty of room, even with the bikes hanging on the wall.  And they aren't too terrible to get down and put back, I just try to avoid it.  


The board was painted with chalk board paint and again, to maximize space, it provides my kids another area to play.  


But it also provides me with another nook on the other side, plus I can use the other door for door storage, and hanging laundry space-to be showcased later!


This is about as good of a command center I pulled off this year, and it was really a life saver.  The bins on top were bought from Amazon. During the year, it stored papers that were necessary to be saved, or time sensitive items that needed to be taken to school.  Now, it stores their summer packets.  

The hooks are from Anthropologie, they were a little pricey, but it gives such charm to this space.  I love personalization, and I especially love this industrial look-it just ties in the bikes and the chalk board.  


I appreciate any way that clutter is organized and off the floor-so this was the perfect solution since we don't have a mudroom or adequate closet storage.  It also gave the kids the opportunity to be responsible with their bags-emptying and hanging.  

Thanks for joining, and welcome...next week I'll show you our living/family room.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

First Trimester Screen Blood Results

A week and a half ago I got the call that my blood work came back with good numbers-meaning the ultrasound combined with the blood work indicates a low possibility this baby has trisomy 18 or trisomy 21.  I am to repeat blood work between now and 21 weeks with results that are 90% accurate.  
I am presently 15 weeks 2 days.  I was supposed to be in New York this past weekend, and I managed to get squeezed into my OB that Friday for a check with the doppler.  However, Dovy and I got sick en route,  so we turned around and I was forced to forfeit the appointment.  I have been trying my best to think positive and just hang in until my regularly scheduled appointment which is in a week from now, Tuesday July 25th.  I have had a very hard time connecting to this pregnancy beyond the here and now-which is why there has yet to be a bumpdate.  It saddens me because I have 6 week belly pictures from every other pregnancy, and I just can't overcome my fear and get that done.  But, I will have to, because I'll regret it. And just to clarify, this has nothing to do with a "4th baby" or "too busy" none of that, "youngest child" syndrome-this is pure anxiety getting in my way, which I hope to address here soon!

Typically, I will feel daily movement, but it is still early that it's faint and can easily be confused with any other bodily function we commonly feel.  So, the movements are not always reassuring-because it's easy to question them, it provides me little relief.  I know that statistically, things are ok in there, and I am just trying to be reassured by that.  

Check back Thursday as I'll have a pretty cool, new to me, type of update on the blog!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Just popping in...again #inserteyeroll 
It's Monday Munchies!!!!! But once again, we have to go with a stock photo because this recipe was used during a fabulous Shabbos lunch! 

"Strawberry watermelon soup"   This soup makes a refreshing first course for a summertime meal.

This recipe got several compliments-it's light, tasty, not overly sweetened with sugar, contains no dairy, and is so refreshing! 

2-1/2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained, and hulled
1/3 cup sugar 2-1/2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into chunksJuice of 1 lemonJuice of 1 orangeSprigs of fresh mint or lemon thyme

Slice one pint of the berries into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Set aside for 15 min. Transfer the sliced berries and their juice to the bowl of a food processor. Add the watermelon, the lemon juice, and the orange juice and process to a smooth purée. Transfer the purée to a bowl and refrigerate for 30 to 60 min., until cold.

When you are ready to serve the soup, evenly divide the “broth” among 4 dessert bowls; glass is nice. Slice the remaining strawberries thin, and add some slices to each bowl. Garnish with sprigs of mint or lemon thyme, and serve at once. 

4 servings

I tripled this recipe...you could definitely get away with cutting the sugar.  I would also recommend using orange juice if you're making such a large batch-and maybe even adding more than the recommended amount to make up for cut sugar, and/or changing the flavor a bit.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Phew...so glad I get to welcome you back here! I have so many new summer recipes to share with you! 
A week and a half ago, my wonderful doctor husband finished his medical training-10 years in the making!  I felt like I had to do something to recognize this momentous occasion, but being in a new city for only 11 months, we don't have too many friends, and money and time were both limited! So, I decided to throw together a Shabbos afternoon kiddish (aka a light lunch).  But, I spent Monday and Thursday in New York, so prep was fast, and most of it required fresh fruit and veggies, and minimal heating-which are all fabulous requirements for being amazing summer recipes.  Everything got rave reviews, seriously, so just follow the links, you surely wont be disappointed!


Image result for fruit skewers
This is a stock picture, follow this link to see what I followed. Although they took some time, they look so pretty standing in a vase.  My advice is to prepare all the fruit so you can easily assemble. 

Cucumber Basil and Watermelon Salad | foodiecrush.com
This salad screams summer-if you're lacking time, just cube the watermelon.  It does not last because of the liquid from the watermelon.

Green Goddess Veggie Dip Cups --- a fun, healthy, portable appetizer --- keep them in the fridge for quick healthy snacks, too/
This was such a fabulous way to get veggies in without adding a boring salad.  This is especially kid friendly! I used two different pre-made salad dressings: a Caesar and a basil vinaigrette.  

A fresh and easy Greek Pasta Salad just in time for summer! This crowd-pleasing side dish is tasty with grilled meats and at all your backyard barbecues.
This was such a crowd pleaser I've made this two weekends in a row! It's so light and filling-and kalamata olives give it such an awesome kick, what could be better! I left out the cheese because both of these meals involved meat, but it was totally fabulous! Definitely try to get pitted olives-so you're salad isn't a choking hazard,but also so you don't have to slave away pitting the olives.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle... A light and delicious trifle layered with strawberry sauce, angel food cake and whipped cream! This will be a hit wherever it is served!
This is like summer comfort food! My friend insisted I pass on some of the food obligations to her, so I gave her this.  It doesn't seem too hard to make, but I will say we needed more whipped cream and although the cake and strawberry amounts were fine, I definitely feel like I had to stretch it. So I would probably at least add another half of the recipe.

Dana's Crispy Coconut Chicken
I made this crispy coconut chicken in nugget form.  This was one of two hot meat dishes I made. I wanted simple, yummy, appetizers.  I put this out on a platter and it was delicious!

Barbecue Pineapple Meatballs - just 3 ingredients - barbecue sauce, frozen meatballs, and crushed pineapple and perfect as an appetizer recipe for parties and get togethers!
I was so intrigued by these meatballs-it's a twist on both typical versions: the regular meatball, and the sweet and sour.  I'm really all for cutting corners, but I was not able to find kosher pre-made meatballs, so I had to make my own.  I quadrupled the meat, and ended up using most of it with only doubled sauce.  It's a little overwhelming at first to deal with the uncooked meatballs in a sauce, but it all worked out.  I initially attempted to plate like this, but it just didn't work-they were too soft, and I was short on time, so we just served them from a bowl.  Not one single meatball was left!

If you're searching for a new summer recipe, I guarantee one of these will be perfect for you! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

First Trimester Screen

On Thursday I made my way back to NY for my last blood test at Dr. B's, and then my first trimester screening ultrasound and blood work.  I have heard that over the past few years there were new blood tests available as a screening tool, such as Harmony.  I did not receive that, rather I did the traditional blood tests, with some new ones as of four years ago-think 13 vials, and the nuchal translucency screening ultrasound.  

My ultrasound measurements looked great, but they aren't able to give a statistic until the combine the pictures with the blood results-which I should have later this week.  Then, they now recommend more blood work in the second trimester between 15-21 weeks where all of these results  combined, will give them a 90% likelihood of detection.  The more invasive option, but also more definite of an answer as oppose to a "prediction" is either the CVS testing or the Amnioentesis.  At this point, the blood work combined with ultrasound should be all I need G-d willing, but if the results come back concerning, we'll probably move forward with a test that can give us a more definitive answer.  



For now, things look good; baby movements are very reassuring, except for when I convince myself I'm making it up in my head, and then it's not reassuring!  I'm going to most likely schedule a quick heartbeat check for July 14 when I think I'll be in NY, and then about two weeks later I'll return for a routine OB appointment.   

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

First OB appointment

I drove into NY Monday-really for my first OB appointment, but since I was going, I also had my regular blood test by Dr. B first.  I took a goodbye cookie set, but I didn't say goodbye. I don't do goodbyes, and they all know I'll be back.  



Then I headed to my OB.  He's located in a new outdoor mall, so it's always fun to have an excuse to do some shopping.  It's known that afternoon appointments usually come with longer than normal wait times, and this was no exception.  I was particularly anxious because I'm not used to waiting so long into the day. I waited for about an hour and a half before they called me.  He joked I'd be in my third trimester before they saw me, but he had two emergencies earlier in the day!  We caught up, went over some records, and discussed my plan of care.  I am having my first trimester screening tomorrow (that was not without drama of course) and because of that, it wasn't necessary to do an ultrasound this appointment.  I did freak out that, "you're going to make sure it's alive today though, right?" Of course! We did my annual exam first, and then the nurse brought in the doppler.  When I went for my first appointment with Moshe, we couldn't hear the heartbeat via the doppler, so they rushed me for an ultrasound.  When it happened this time, the panic quickly set in.  The nurse just picked a random spot to start searching for the heartbeat, but it wasn't in the spot.  Thankfully, I feel the baby move, so I motioned for her to move to my left side, and right away we heart the heartbeat of 163.  "You know where that baby is!" she said.  

My ultrasound is tomorrow at 1:45 back in NY.  The ultrasound takes about 30-45 minutes, but they also told me to expect a wait since they're squeezing me in.  I will go in the morning for blood work, officially my last appointment with Dr. B, then run some errands, and then go to my appointment.  

I'm feeling consistent movement, plus having just heard the heartbeat I know this baby is alive.  However, this is a big appointment tomorrow-this is the first time we'll have the opportunity to look closely at the development and hopefully we'll have good results and all will be well.     

Taken last week at 11w0d



Sunday, June 25, 2017

3rd Ultrasound...

I'm sorry this post is so long overdue; the commute really tires me out, and because I miss an entire day of life, I often times don't have time to update the blog here as quickly as I'd like.  However, I do update Facebook and Instagram after each appointment, follow along there!  

For some reason I was much more nervous going into this ultrasound.  I would think the second ultrasound would be much more nerve wracking, but considering I had two really good ultrasounds-statistically, things were going to be good.  When Dr. B walked in, he congratulated me on this being my last ultrasound with him before releasing me to the OB, so of course, I muttered under my breath as I was leaning back, if it's alive.  And almost, without missing a beat, he responded with
Oh it's very much alive! 


Supposedly it was jumping, so much Dr. B and the tech gasped! But, as soon as he turned the screen to me-it stopped moving...

At the first ultrasound I measured four days behind, and then two weeks later I measured three days behind.  I was expecting to measure 10 weeks 3 days, but instead I actually measured 11 weeks! Tomorrow I go back to Dr. B for blood, and then at 11:45 I have my first OB appointment where I'm sure we'll nail down a proper measurement and a due date!  
If it's still alive...
Of course I know, having only been five days, it's most likely alive and well in there. In fact, I have started to feel it move-I thought I was crazy, but I knew for sure what it wasn't. And then when Dr. B saw all the movement, he confirmed I should definitely be feeling it! So I don't feel so crazy.  It's usually reassuring, but then at the same time the movements are so subtle now that I start thinking that I'm probably just making it up-which then makes me nervous because how do I know if I've felt it or not?
One thing's for sure, I'll definitely know more tomorrow!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Munchies...

With the onset of summer, you will love this summer version of a common comfort food.  I made this recently for a Shabbos lunch, and it was perfect! It was light, tasty, and best of all-didn't require it to be piping hot.  Of course, it looked so yummy right out of the pot, but it got rave reviews at room temperature the next day (after having been refrigerated the night before of course).  


  •  I'm going to wimp out on you now and just tell you to follow that link. 
  • My pointers for this recipe:
  • 1) chop/prepare all ingredients before hand.  Having things on the flame/time sensitive makes it difficult to manage while also preparing the next step.
  • 2) my mini food processor did not accomplish chopping the pesto. I would use a knife next time and do it by hand.
  • 3) This definitely creates a sauce when hot, once it cools it does not have a sauce.
  • 4) I would even consider adding more ricotta to get more of a flavor.
  • 5) Be more on the generous side with the salt.

  • Enjoy! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Munchies...

When I travel back to NY, for those of you who've been around for awhile, you know that I like to bring in some goodies for the staff. Of course, only home made goodies are acceptable. But, I'm often left wondering what's something new and exciting, but won't take the whole night? As it is, I usually bake well into the night, surely I can't spend hours.  I have a Nestle Toll House Best Loved Recipes that I decided I would look through to find a new, tasty cookie.  Cookies are easy because the dough is made quickly, and bake time is much shorter than a cake and I can use disposable cookie sheets so all in all, I can get most of it done within an hour-an hour and a half. 

This recipe takes your classic chocolate chip cookie up a notch! It was so soft and chewy, and the coconut added just a hint of different flavor.  It was noticeable, but I think even someone who claims they aren't a coconut lover, would still love these.  




Island Cookies
1 2/3 cups flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (or margarine) 
3/4 cups packed brown sugar 
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 large egg
1 3/4 Nestle Milk Chocolate Chips (I used semi-sweet non-dairy chips)
1 cup flaked coconut, toast if desired 
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omit nuts due to allergies)
Preheat the oven to 375.  

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  

In the mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until creamy.  Beat in the egg.  Slowly add in the flour mixture.  

Stir in the chips, coconut and walnuts if desired.  

Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased baking  sheets.  

Bake for 8-11 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.  Start with 8 minutes because I had some burnt ones-even at the 11 minute mark, and you definitely don't want burnt cookies! 

Let cookies cool before moving to cool on a wire rack/second plate.  



Obviously, these can and will be eaten warm, at least some of them! 

Friday, June 9, 2017

2nd Ultrasound...



Meet Tweetie Pie, so affectionately named by Dr. B.
Heart rate of 178, measuring 8w4d.
One day at a time...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Hi everyone! Just popping in for some Monday Munchies-Shavuous edition!  Maybe one day, my life will be calm enough that I can pre-cook, take beautiful pictures AND showcase them to you in time to help you create your menu! But in the meantime, you'll have to just take my word for my awesome food, and the stock photos, and try these recipes out for yourself-it doesn't have to be Shavuous, any time is a good time for yummy food! 

Cheesy Garlic Bread Stuffed Challah

This wasn't as cheesy and buttery as I thought it would be, but it was beautiful and still tasted good.  Regular challah would work just as well though.  I'm thinking some buttery cheesy topping would be good and more than just a sprinkling of cheese on the inside.  



These looks pretty,even in a cup! I think this is a hard one to make a crowd pleaser-not everyone is into cannolies and it's a rather expensive endeavor.  


This on the other hand, is always a crowd pleaser! Always...


And for those that love blintzes, you can't get easier than this, truly! 

Try them now, try them later, try them next year, I promise you won't be disappointed! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

We have a heartbeat!

Sorry to have left you all hanging!  I spent the day, the fabulous day, with friends and I didn't get back until 1am!  What a difference waking up this morning was compared to yesterday! Knowing the day had only two outcomes...and I got the best outcome yesterday...a whole year later...all that work, and money, and effort, and pain, and tears, and praying...we have one heartbeat.  



I arrived to Dr. B around 10, but because the ultrasound tech wasn't there, he was responsible for doing the scanning and meeting with everyone-so I had to wait until almost 11:30 for my ultrasound.  Finally, he comes in and asks, "what brings you here today?" 
"I'm feeling mentally unstable." I think I got a smirk...he asked me if I was ready, and said, "yup," and I laid down.  I could not see the screen, and I chose to focus on the assistant's face rather than his because of the scary "scanning face." What seemed like eternity, but was probably only one or two seconds, the assistant made eye contact with me, smiled, and nodded.  I will never, in my life, forget her face.  
We have one heartbeat. 

The ultrasound took some time, as he did several different measurements, and I even got to hear the heartbeat from the internal ultrasound, thanks to his fancy new machine.

The baby is measuring four days behind-but with a strong heartbeat of 128, he wasn't worried and said it was probably because it was frozen, and they take time to catch up.  But what is so incredible, is that he said had I gone for the ultrasound last week-when he originally wanted me to, because it's behind, there probably wouldn't have been a heartbeat.  He acknowledged my instinct, and told me it was good I followed it, that I made the right decision.   

I have more blood work to monitor the estrogen and progesterone since I'm still supplementing those, and then on June 7th I go back for my follow up scan. 

As a funny aside, because we all love Dr. B stories-I was originally going to go on Wednesday, but in the end needed to change it to Thursday.  But, Monday afternoon I got an e-mail that he wouldn't be in the office then and I needed to reschedule. Fridays are difficult, and I was really looking forward to seeing friends, so I opted to go on Tuesday.  But, after the scan, he said that he thought Thursday was the upcoming holiday of Shavuous-which is why he told his staff he wouldn't be in, and he cancelled his patients!  But, once he realized he was off by a week, he started putting patients back on the schedule-but no one called me!  I had left it open ended with them when I would come!  So, we decided that G-d just really had mercy on me, and saw how much I was suffering and decided to provide me with information, knowledge, peace and clarity...I am so thankful.  

He was also able to see a small subchorionic hemorrhage-which most likely explains my bleeding.  He said that if I do see more bleeding, to ignore it-unless of course it's obvious it's dangerous, but minor bleeding is totally fine.  

I was given the clear to lift upper body weights. really really limit lower body weights, and to eat green leafy vegetables and limit my carbs...laughing out loud!  

People have been asking me how I feel about the news that it's only one and not two.  I really had no intuition on what the end result would be.  I acknowledged a couple weeks ago I would definitely be ok with one. As the last couple of weeks progressed, it became so obvious to me how traumatized I am, and how anxious I am, so I am relieved that this is not a challenge I have to faithfully face presently.  There's always next time ;) 

I told him he's probably ready to see me move on, and he said, "nah, you have frozen embryos, you'll be back!" 

Having been through the losses, and the struggles of the past 16 months-I have a different perspective on this pregnancy.  I'll talk about it more, and the truth is I don't know how much I have to say right now, as this is all brand new, but I'm definitely not as connected, I'm afraid to connect, but I am beyond grateful at the gift that is just today.  If this should end, to make it past the point of last year's trauma, I am forever grateful.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blood Draw #6 and a change in plans

Today was probably the most aggravating of blood draw days. Typically, results are back within about three hours.  One time they were back in two, and one time they were back in four.  Today, it was about five and a half hours!  But not only that, progesterone and estrogen came back about half an hour before the hcg.  But in the midst of all this, I get an e-mail saying that my doctor won't be in for my scheduled appointment on Thursday, so I need to call and reschedule.  Let's just say that was enough to push me over the edge!  
Finally my hcg came back at 52,672-when it reaches such a high number, the doubling time slows down. I panicked when I realized even over four days it didn't totally double, and I texted my doctor asking if it was ok.  
His response: Absolutely ;) 
I called his office, and ultimately decided that my ultrasound will be tomorrow.  

I am so not ready for this. 
I wasn't expecting to have to sit down and compose my thoughts tonight-and of course I had to do some baking for the office tomorrow, but let me just put this out there: most people don't walk into their first ultrasound thinking there's a possibility they're not actually pregnant.  Who thinks they'll walk into an ultrasound, after several blood tests, to not see their baby?  To be told there's nothing there?  Well, I do.  Well, I don't-but because it's happened to me, I know that's a possibility.  It's also hitting me very hard that this is the exact same time period, to the week, that I had the first miscarriage.  To think that a year later, the exact same scenario could play out the exact same way is so upsetting.  I don't feel it's related to the miscarriage per say, but rather those moments of reflection catch me off guard.  I find myself going back and reading old blog posts from this exact time-not only calendar date, but also the same point in pregnancy-so it's a double whammy, thinking that I might relive this exact same nightmare again.  

But, the time has come.  
Tomorrow we'll know for certain. 

I'm not the type to ask for prayers, or well wishes, but today, I did, I am.
I'm not sure how I'm going to face tomorrow.
But I will.   

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