Friday, September 10, 2010

The big reveal! And, easy pickles (recipe).

(because these things go together! Pregnancy & Pickles!)

So, it's finally time for the Big Reveal! Exciting, right?! Actually, I let it slip last night on Twitter (oops!), although I think only one astute person (hi, Maya!) caught on!

Today I went for the anatomy ultrasound and the gender was confirmed - well, as much as they will confirm it - she said she 'strongly believes' it's a....




Ha! Betcha thought I was telling there.

Really, I needed to hear and see it again. After all the input I've gotten from different sources, including you guys on my little poll up there - I had myself convinced it was a boy. Well, guess what?

Baby's a GIRL!!! Here she is - It's all looking good, only I have a 'low anterior placenta', which hopefully will resolve itself in the next couple months and not result in a C-section (eeks). All the development is right on schedule and there are no soft markers for any problems like Down's or neural tube problems. Hooray!

I am finally feeling more confident that things will be okay. Did I tell you I bought a crib off Kijiji? I got a white sleigh crib. It's still disassembled for now - I can't wait to start playing nursery. It's hard with my husband gone, as we like to make most decisions together. And in general, we like the exact opposite things (doesn't that figure?), so purchases for the nursery will have to be very well considered and approved by both of us!

I also am making the switch from OB to midwife. I'm going back to the midwife I had for my first pregnancy. I can't tell you the relief I feel about this. The OB I was seeing was professional, respected, and competent, but I'd wait an hour after my appointment time to see him for 5 minutes. And sometimes I felt like I was being rushed out the door, or that my questions were 'silly'. When I told him today, he actually seemed annoyed with me - and said, "Well, why did you even start with me?". Whoa. My family doctor referred me to him when I had an ectopic pregnancy, that's why. And after that I figured he was my go-to guy for OB/gyn stuff.

Anyway. Closing the chapter.

I found the midwife to be profoundly empathetic, calm, patient, and kind. She never acted like my questions were silly or condescended to me. She always treated me like a person, not a name on a list. She was incredibly giving of her time and so, so kind when I went through the first miscarriage. I am looking forward to being in her care. Plus, I trust her to avoid interventions as much as possible and aim for a more natural birth. The OB was already talking about C-sections, for goodness' sake. I'm 'only' 19 weeks along!

On to pickles - With an abundance of cucumbers in the garden and only me around to eat them, I decided to whip up some refrigerator pickles. This is super easy to do, doesn't require any canning experience, equipment or know-how, and I think you should do it too.

Refrigerator Pickles

you will need:
  • 2 cups of cucumbers (or zucchini, green/yellow beans, green tomatoes, bell peppers, whatevs), peeled (unless they're the skinny English kind) and cut into spears or slices at your discretion
  • 2/3 cup sliced onion (sweet, white, or red - or pearl onions, or quartered small onions, or a lesser amount of quartered shallots)
optional jar add-ins, as you like it:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 hot pepper (jalapeno, little red chilis, or 1 tsp of red pepper flakes)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried, or a sprig of fresh per jar)
for the brine:
  • 2 cups white vinegar (or apple cider, if you like)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar, depending on how sweet you like your pickles
  • 1 Tbsp salt (regular granulated will dissolve better, but you can use coarse pickling if you like)
optional brine add-ins:
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp pickling spice mix
  • 1 Tbsp of dried roasted garlic (I used PC's Blue Menu)
  • any spice you like (try turmeric + curry powder for an Indian flavour, or caraway, or groud mustard)
Take all your cut up vegetables and optional jar add-ins, and fill up your jars. I used two 2-cup jars. (Actually, I doubled the recipe and made four!) You don't even have to use canning jars - any old waterproof container with a lid will work (although the hot brine could cause icky chemical seepage in plastic containers - if you want to use those, prepare the whole mess in a big glass bowl and ladle it into containers after it's cooled). Don't pack too tight, you need some room for the brine. I probably could have packed a little tighter. As you can see, cucumbers and onions float!

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and your optional brine add-ins in a pot on the stove and bring it to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once it's all dissolved, ladle it over the vegetables, cover, and put in the refrigerator.

Now, the hard part. DON'T EAT THE PICKLES for at least a couple days, if you can stand the wait. They will keep for months in the fridge, but I guarantee they won't last that long because they are super yummy! And easy enough to make any old time.

I'd love to hear if you make these! It takes hardly any time at all and is so worth it. Ready? Go!

Winner - Tropical Traditions Household Cleaner

Here's the winner for some awesome non-toxic household cleaner from Tropical Traditions - picked...who is...

Don't forget about the two AMAZING giveaways that are still running! A super nice maternity/nursing top from BumbleWee that you get to select, AND a fun gender test for you pregnant mamas with cradle cream for your newborn too from IntelliGender/IntelliCeuticals! Get your entries in because as of right now, odds are pretty good!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What happened

So, as you know, my husband is working across the country until Christmas. He comes home every other weekend, so I'd booked our anatomy ultrasound more than a month ago to coincide with one of his visits. Well, wouldn't you know it... that ended up being a weekend he now has to stay there and work - no way around it - and the appointment couldn't be moved.

We had planned for me to go out and visit over the Labour Day weekend anyway, so we decided to go ahead and book a 2D/3D ultrasound for when I was there. That way we could be together when we found out the baby's gender! It wasn't something we'd originally planned to do at all, since we've seen 3D videos of ultrasounds and honestly, they're creepy. But we really wanted to experience that moment together.

I am SO GLAD we did! We had a great tech, Rhonda, who spent a lot of time with us. The first thing she did was use the 2D to locate the baby - and there it was, in a perfect position to see everything. I could tell the gender right away! It was so obvious!The tech took lots of pictures and we got a dvd of the whole ultrasound as well. She did do some 3D stuff, but I found the 2D was actually easier to see.

I was at 17 weeks and 6 days, and Rhonda told us that 17 weeks is the peak for movement. The baby sure was moving around a lot, and this was my husband's first time seeing so much movement, since the techs at our previous ultrasounds made him wait outside until the last minute or two. This time he got to be there the whole time and saw everything, which was great. The baby did some yawning, stretching, and lots of arm movements. We could even see the four chambers of the heart!

I had heard stories about little boys having their hands between their legs, and little girls playing with their face, and it held true in our case!

Totally worth the money, for us. If you're thinking of doing this in Calgary, I can recommend the Ultrasound Preview clinic and Rhonda! Totally different from the diagnostic ultrasounds I've had (and I've had, oh, 8 or 9 in the last year or so). Their couch (more like a couch than a cot) is even comfy, and you get to see the action on a second wall-mounted monitor, so you don't have to crane your neck to see what the tech is seeing.

I know, I didn't tell you what gender we're having! Honestly, I'm still in shock about it. I have the anatomy ultrasound on Friday, and I guess I will feel like it's really true once I see it again! Meanwhile you can still vote on what you think it is at the top left!

The whole trip was so amazing. We spent three nights away from his 'home away from home' in Calgary. The first night we went to Emerald Lake Lodge, near Field, BC; the picture I posted earlier was of the lodge. The lake really is that turquoise colour because of all the limestone in the mountains. We did a slow hike (I get winded easily now, and the mountain air is thinner than I'm used to) around the lake in the afternoon and had a ridiculously good dinner that night. It was very luxurious (and very pricey - this was our babymoon!). We had a cabin with a wood-burning fireplace and a balcony looking right out at the lake. It was lovely. This is our view from the room!
The next day, we drove to Kimberley, BC, a tiny little ski resort town. We stayed at a B&B called Solace, and explored the town and a few hiking trails there. We even went to a model home just for fun. There are some truly beautiful houses there. I can't imagine living there, though - so isolated. By the way, did you know that Ponderosa pines smell fabulous? Like cinnamon, vanilla and apples. I could have just stood around sniffing trees! This me and my belly on a little hike we did in nearby Marysville.
The following day, we drove down to Montana and stayed in West Glacier overnight before driving the Going to the Sun Road through Glacier National Park the next day. It was so beautiful there. It was snowing on the mountains at the top of the road, and we saw a wolverine (!). I have to say, there wasn't much to the parts of Montana I saw in terms of towns, but the landscape sure was beautiful. Here's us among the mountaintops. I had such a great time away. Now it's back to the grind for a while, and another three weeks until I see my husband... it's hard to be away from him so long. Meanwhile, I keep getting bigger!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We know!

But I'm busy being here for a few days (well, we were there last night - we've moved on since)so you'll just have to wait!