Tag Archives: pregnancy

incubating: week forty-one (a.k.a. a very long birth story)

Paige’s birth was nothing like we had imagined, though I will be the first to say that it truly doesn’t matter as in the end she and I are both healthy. For whatever reason, I’ve had this need to get down the chronology of everything that happened. I suppose it’s just my way of processing. I don’t really have any negative emotions about the birth to work through, I’m incredibly thankful I avoided surgery and that I had the support team I had. But, the data nerd in me needs to see it all laid out, so here we go… 


Monday, 2/23

Forty-one weeks today! Never really thought I would be pregnant at this point, but I’m thankful to not have been induced yet. Greg and I went to an appointment with the midwives for an NST and an ultrasound. The NST showed a great heartbeat on the baby and some regular but mild contractions for me (I could only feel about 25% of the contractions the machine was  picking up). The ultrasound showed plenty of amniotic fluid left for baby to continue on cooking. I was only 1cm dilated though, which was a bummer. I was hoping for something a little more given how far along I was.

Because things looked good, we were given the option of inducing on Thursday or Sunday evening, if the baby hadn’t come on it’s own. We picked Sunday, wanting to give the baby as much time to choose it’s own birthday as possible.

Tuesday, 2/24

Woke up pregnant again. It’s getting more and more frustrating each day. I took the dog for a walk to return a library book that involved a mile downhill and a mile uphill. Was hoping the incline back up might help, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I’m was getting funny looks as I walked around. I guess I was really big, just hard for me to notice as it’s been such a slow progression over 42 weeks.

At 5pm I went to my first acupuncture appointment. The midwife I saw during week 40 suggested I set up a few appointments to help get things moving. It was very relaxing and only  a tiny bit painful. I had heard so many stories of “so-and-so tried acupuncture and her water broke when she got off the table”. That didn’t happen for me, but I was looking forward to my next appointment on Thursday.

Wednesday, 2/25

Today was probably the hardest day of my pregnancy. I just felt defeated. The clock to induction was ticking very loudly, but still days away. I had no plans or appointments and the day felt like it would be never ending at 7am. I told Greg I was going to make reservations downtown for dinner just so I had something to look forward to.

I spent the day reading then walked to Whole Foods and picked up $9 worth of cut pineapple. I sat in the dining area and at it all (1.2 lbs). I was getting desperate and while I’ve never known anyone that went into labor via pineapple, it’s all over the internet. I also picked up bacon and dates because I read that six dates a day will bring on labor. I walked home (imagine, for your enjoyment, a nine plus months pregnant lady walking a mile home in the rain with a reusable bag full of eggs, dates, an bacon) and made myself some bacon wrapped dates.IMG_7073_edited-1

That night I met Greg at Bell + Whete for yet another “last dinner”. The upside to this delayed birth was trying a ton of new-to-us restaurants in the last few weeks. The food was fine but we were both just a little tired and not so much into it. We went to bed early and I tried to convince myself there was no way I could go another night without going into labor.

Thursday, 2/26

This is where things get interesting. A very brief background: I planned to have a natural birth (completely intervention free, preferably) for several reasons, but mostly because when I thought about labor, what stressed me out most was not being able to move around, being connected to a ton of wires, and not being able to feel my legs. I would panic when I thought about these side effects of pain medication, rather than when I thought about contractions, so for me it was preferable to avoid them. To help with this, we hired Jenne, a labor doula. Greg was totally supportive of my desires but since he is new to this too I didn’t expect him to know how to support me through it; Jenne was there to help us both and given how things went down it was a very smart decision.

I knew as my induction neared the chances of being able to stick to this plan were slimmer and slimmer, but I wanted to keep to it as much as possible. Spoiler alert: our first lesson in parenting was learned the hard way. Something about the best laid plans…

(To keep this from being insanely long and to not share more information than some might want to read, I’ve simply referred to each intervention by name and linked to a description of it rather than detailing them out.)

9:15am Left the house and stopped by Cloud City to drop off canned goods for the food bank and pick up a smoothie for my appointment. At the last NST I had to drink a carton of kids apple juice. I brought my own sugar with me this time to wake up baby, who is a day time sleeper and night time partier.

Note: I had planned to be gone for a few hours to attend an appointment with my midwives, another accupuncture session, and coffee with my friend Becca. I was going to come home and cook a big dinner, hoping that standing in the kitchen for a good long while might start labor.  

9:40am Hooked up to the NST machine at the midwives’ office. It’s showing some steadier contractions and I feel most of them though they are not painful. I was reading a book and didn’t notice how long I’d been in there. In the end, it turned out to be lucky that they were running really behind (for the first time ever).

10:30am My appointment that day was with Deborah, who came in once I’d been hooked up for 50 minutes (I had been scheduled for 20 minutes). We talked about next steps and she called the hospital to schedule us for our induction starting at 8pm on Sunday evening. As she reviewed the strips that print out from the machine, she noticed a big drop in baby’s heart rate. She told me to get dressed and she’d be back in to finish up.

10:45am Deborah returned and told me that she had just talked with Cindy (the midwife on call at the childbirth center (CBC) that day) and together they decided I should head over there for a longer evaluation.

The CBC is not a free-standing birth center. It is part of Northwest Hospital and where my midwives deliver. It is very mom and baby friendly but also has the benefits of a NICU and OBs on call 24/7 should the need for a serious intervention arise. These are pretty popular around the PNW and I’m thankful to have an option between a regular hospital and a home birth.  

11:00am On my way to the hospital, I call and cancel my acupuncture appointment and then call Greg to let him know what’s going on. He asks if he should meet me, but I see no sense in both of us being stuck in a room for a two hour evaluation so I tell him to stay at work and I’ll keep him posted.

11:30am I am put in a room in the CBC and hooked back up to the monitor. Within ten minutes of being there, the baby’s heart rate has dropped twice. My nurse, Amy, takes a few minutes to explain to me why it’s worrisome. The baby’s heart rate was dropping at the peak of contractions, which is a sign of an aging placenta. However, it wasn’t happening with every contraction which is not something that they usually see. I went the next hour with no drops.

11:45am Cindy comes in and asks me if Greg is on his way. I ask if he should be. She says yes, based on what they are seeing the next time I’m leaving the hospital will be with a baby.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 1.15.24 PMThis is so not how I imagined leaving for the hospital. I thought we’d finish packing our bags, take one last picture with us and the dog, etc. 

12:00pm I order lunch from the hospital menu, a spinach and chicken salad with a side of mashed potatoes. You can order one entree and as many sides as you want every hour.

12:30pm Greg arrives and they move us to our actual room, 203. One of the reasons I picked this hospital was that you labor, deliver, and recover in the same room. Little did I know I’d be spending five days and four nights in room 203.

1:00pm Time for my hep lock. This is the one thing I had agree to pre-labor. If something was going to go wrong (ha!), I wanted to make sure they could administer any needed medications as soon as possible. My nurse attempted to insert the lock twice, on the two good veins on my left hand. This is not a painless procedure, FYI. Because she wasn’t able to salvage either one, she called in another nurse to help.

1:30pm Hep lock attempt number three. Unfortunately the second nurse had to use my right hand as there were no good veins on the left use. Ideally, you want this on your non-dominant hand so that it’s less in the way for however long you have to have it on.

2:00pm Cindy (along with Anna, the midwife in training) comes in to talk about induction options. Because my Bishop’s score is still really low (my body is not really in labor on it’s own at all), we have to do two rounds of induction. They suggest that we use the Cook balloon method, which is the method I wanted to go with for induction number one as it’s non-medicinal. They told me they’d come back at 3:15 to do the procedure.

2:30pm Amy has me change into a hospital gown. Up until this point I was just wearing the jeans and sweater I had on from the morning. It seems more real now that I’m in a hospital gown and slippers.

2:45pm My first unwanted intervention – I’m told that I will have to have an external fetal monitor on at all times until the baby is born. The original plan was that once I was in labor, they’d use an external monitor for 20 minutes to make sure the baby is okay and then I would just have a check by my midwife every 30 minutes with the doppler. When I’m in bed I’m hooked up to the machine next to my bed, but I do have the option of a travel pack so that I can be mobile.

3:00pm Greg and I decide that if we’re going to be in the hospital for awhile, it would be nice to watch some Top Chef. He heads out to get cables at Best Buy so we can hook up our iPad to the TV, get his own lunch, and drop one of our cars off at home.

3:15pm The birth clock has started, it’s time for my first induction! The baby was not happy with me laying on my back in bed, so I had to switch to my side. It took three attempts to complete the procedure given that I wasn’t flat on my back. I would rate the procedure as very unpleasant, but not necessarily painful. For the first hour post-procedure I was pretty uncomfortable and after that (12 hours in total) it was more of an annoyance.

4:00pm Greg returns from errands and we settle in to watch Top Chef for the evening.

6:00pm We ordered dinner, but at this point I have no idea what I ate.

7:00pm We ordered a second entree so Greg could have dinner. Again, no memory of even getting the food, but I know we ordered two dinners that night.

8:00pm I start to feel decent contractions! I’m really hopeful that this is my own body and not just the Cook balloon causing contractions. They are not active labor type contractions, meaning I can still talk and walk through them. But they are something.

8:30pm We start to feel a little stir crazy in 203 so I request my travel pack for the fetal monitor and Greg and I spend some time walking up and down the hall. Unfortunately we only have a hallway about 50 yards long where we can walk. If we go out the L&D doors the monitor won’t pick up the baby’s heart rate.

We happened to be walking while a tour of the center is going on. It was a little awkward to be in my gown and robe and somewhat on display. We also ran into Evash, one of the dad’s in our birth class, coming out of the snack room while we were walking. His wife, Lisa, had delivered a baby boy that morning.

9:00pm I call Jenne, our doula, to let her know what’s going on. My contractions are about 5 minutes apart, but still walkable and talkable. We agree that I’ll give her a call once I can only breath through them.


9:30pm There are only so many episodes of Top Chef we can watch in one evening. Greg unfolds and makes up his couch bed and we decided to try to get some sleep before the next procedure in a few hours.

Friday, 2/27

3:15am Cindy comes in to remove the Cook balloon. The procedure has worked well and I’ve progressed from 1.5cm to 4cm. I also am much more comfortable and able to fall into a decent sleep finally.

5:45am We learn our first hospital lesson – the louder the noise, the less scary the problem – when we are woken out of deep sleep to a very loud beeping from the machine monitoring my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. Turns out it was out of paper to record the data.

Also, I notice that my contractions are gone. Turns out they were caused by the Cook balloon and not my body actually moving into labor on it’s own.

6:00am The night nurse is in to check my vitals. Routine procedure, until she notices baby’s heart rate has dipped and the usual flipping to my side isn’t bringing it back up. She hands me an oxygen mask and says “I’m going to press a button that’s going to have a lot of people come running”. She was not kidding. Several nurses and Cindy come running and after a bit of moving me around baby is doing well again. I’m pretty shaken up, but also crazy impressed at how quickly the room was full of care providers who fixed the situation.

6:15am My hep lock is put to use much earlier than I was hoping or expecting when they decide the baby could benefit from fluids. Now I’m tethered to both the heart rate / contraction monitor and the IV pole. Cindy had planned to start my second induction (pitocin) at 7am, but lets us know we’ll push it back to closer to 8am to give the baby more time to recover.

7:45am The real fun starts as Cindy gives my nurse the go-ahead to start the second induction. A bag of pitocin is added to my IV pole and a low dose is administered. The plan is to keep an eye on how the baby reacts and slowly increase the dose every thirty minutes until I’m in a sustained active labor.

10:00am I’m officially in active labor! Contractions are regular and I’m having to concentrate and breath through them. The baby is handing the pitocin fine so we’ve steadily been increasing it.

11:00am We have a decal and Mary Lou and Anna want me to stay in bed on my side to help the baby. The contractions are getting worse and I’m not able to move around or use gravity to work with them. Frustrating given that this was my birth plan. I ask Greg to call Jenne at this point. I’m ready for her to arrive for more support.

12:00pm Jenne arrives and I’m still in bed on my side, but now flipped to the other side. This is not a fun way to labor at all but I need to stay on this side for another hour. My early active labor has helped me progress to 6 cm. This gives me a little boost to keep going as I am.

I don’t remember a lot about the next eight and a half hours in terms of timelines. I took my glasses off so that I could focus inward a little more and not be distracted by everything going on around me, but that also meant that I couldn’t see a clock.

I tried laboring in several positions that would work with gravity, but the baby did not like any of those, including walking. It got to the point where it was more stressful for me to try new positions than to just lay on the bed because I didn’t know how the baby would handle them. Being in middle of a contraction and told to flip around or move into a new position while a heart rate monitor is beeping much more slowly than it should be is pretty awful. I was able to get into the tub for a while in a laying position that supported the baby, which was helpful.

These eight hours were not fun, to put it lightly. The pitocin was inducing contractions one after another. At some points I would have five contractions in a row with no break between them. I used everything I learned in prenatal yoga and suggestions from Jenne to get through it. I did very little speaking, if any, during these hours and had a little liquid that Greg was able to get me to get down. I was completely in my own world as that was the only way I could handle each contraction. 

Eventually I make it back to the bed. It had been hours and I was hoping to hear a good progress report from the midwives… 

8:30pm I’m checked again and hear Anna tell Mary Lou “no change”. I’m hoping I heard wrong, but they quickly confirm that I’m still at 6cm after all these hours of hard labor.

I decide that after 12+ hours of natural labor on pitocin, I’m done. All the complications that I had been hoping to avoid by not going with an epidural (not being able to walk around or easily change position, not being tethered to anything) are part of my reality now, so I decide to ask for relief. Everyone agrees I need rest and that this is the right decision. Mary Lou calls for the anesthesiologist.

Also during this time, I’ve had three more interventions. The external fetal monitor is no longer picking up the baby’s heart rate very well so we are switched to an internal fetal monitor. This has me tethered to the heart rate monitor with no ability to get out of bed. While they did that, they also switched the contraction monitor to internal. My water was broken in hopes that it will move labor along. The downside to breaking water is that it starts the twenty four hour clock to a c-section.

8:40pm Of course I have a fever! A bag of antibiotics is added to my very crowded IV pole and I’m told that the baby will have to have at least four doses of antibiotics because they can’t rule out an infection causing the fever.  Also, we will be required to stay an extra 24 hours in the hospital. As much as I want to say no to the antibiotics for both me and the baby, I realize that as a nutritional therapist I understand the risks of getting antibiotics. What I don’t know are the risks of not taking them on both me and the baby and at this point I’m in no shape to ask questions so I decide to trust my providers.

8:50pm Mary Lou and Anna let me know that they found meconium when they broke my water. Of course they did! They let the neonatologist on call know that he will need to be present at the birth in case the baby needs to have his or her lungs suctioned.

9:00pm Dr. Lubeck arrives and is very matter of fact. She’s an ex-military anesthesiologist and I found her to be hilarious. I also found her to be awesome because within about eight minutes of being in our room, for the first time in twelve hours I felt like I could function like a human being again. It was an awesome epidural – I couldn’t feel my contractions but was still able to move my legs, and my body in general, on my own.

The epidural adds another wire over my shoulder and taped down my back plus I now have to have a blood pressure cuff on 24/7 as it automatically takes a reading every 15 minutes. I’m also no longer allowed out of bed (though I couldn’t anyway with the internal monitoring) and can only have water and ice chips. I really should have eaten something (as everyone suggested) before Dr. Lubeck arrived.

Funny note: As soon as I had the epidural I immediately popped back to life and started questioning how I would approach the birth of baby number two. Try for natural again? Go straight for the epi? Jenne was looking at me like I was crazy but my sweet husband knows me and just let me talk. I can’t help being a planner, it’s just how my brain works. If you’re curious, I’m totally undecided. Right now I’m leaning towards adoption. 🙂 

9:15pm It’s been fifteen minutes, so of course we should have another intervention! This is actually one that Greg and I had never come across in our birth class, a sort of reverse breaking the waters if you will. To help avoid a c-section, we start fluid injection back into the uterus. I think this is the point that I laughed – what else was there left to do? A c-section is pretty much the only intervention I haven’t had at this point.


I asked Greg to take this picture of my IV pole. Earlier in the day the nurses had been laughing that there were so many hooks on it (this pole was from another floor, not typically the one that they have in the CBC). By the time I was done, they were nearly out of hooks to hang new bags on. This is totally what the natural birth I had envisioned looked like…

9:30pm We have another major heart rate deceleration and I flip around back and forth (with the help of nurses now that I’m somewhat numb) until we land in child’s pose with a big bean bag supporting me. This seems to be the only position that makes the baby happy so I stay in it for three or four hours. I didn’t realize how sore my hips were because I was numb, but this made pushing later on quite difficult.IMG_0146_edited-1

Thumbs up to epidurals. There are no pictures of me in labor pre-epidural, which is probably a good thing. I’m not sure I will ever enjoy child’s pose again. 

11:00pm I’m starting to feel some pain from contractions, which I let my nurse know about. She calls in Mary Lou who suggests that we have Dr. Lubeck come back and top me off. I get the top off a few minutes later and while it takes the contraction pressure away, it also makes me legs go completely numb. Of everything that’s happened, this is the first thing that almost makes me break down. I could not stand the feeling of not being able to move my toes voluntarily.

11:30pm The midwives tell me I really need to sleep, so Jenne goes off to find a place to rest and Greg remakes his couch bed and settles in for the evening. Unfortunately my nurse has left the sound up on baby’s heart rate monitor so I spend most of the night awake listening to it and monitoring. It’s a very helpless feeling to not be able to fix something like this. The few times there are decelerations, nurses quickly come in (they are monitoring from their station) and flip me around as I’m unable to do it myself now. I eventually ask them to turn the sound down as I’m making myself crazy and know I need sleep.

Saturday, 2/28

12:30am Anna and Mary Lou come in and we talk about the reality of what’s going on. It’s been almost 36 hours since my induction started. More worrisome, it’s been four hours since my water was broken and there has been no progress. They give us a deadline of 2:30am (two hours away) to show progress or we will have to really think about a c-section. They have been in contact all evening with the on-call OB and everyone is comfortable giving me another two hours.

1:30am My nurse comes in to take vitals and I mention to her that I’m feeling new pressure sensations. She let Mary Lou know, who sends Anna in to check me. Finally some good news – I’m at 7 cm! Progress means tat the 2:30am c-section discussion is off the table.

I attempted to sleep through the rest of the night but only got a few minutes here and there. I would have nurses come in to change my position about once an hour or so when the baby’s heart rate dropped since I couldn’t move my lower body at all at this point. It was a terrible night of sleep in which I pretty much just looked out the window and waited for sunrise.

7:30am Mary Lou and Anna come in to say good morning and check progress. I’m not quite at a ten, so they decide to dial up the pitocin a bit to see if we can get me to a ten and get this baby out.

8:00am Baby is not liking the pitocin, so we’ve turned it off and the midwives decide that my 9.5 cm is going to have to be good enough. Deborah is now the midwife on call and Mary Lou and Anna come in to say good bye. (They also had another ‘problem’ labor going on at the same time that had ended in an emergency c-section around midnight. I can only imagine it was a very long shift for them.) You know you are in labor for a long time when you’ve gone through three midwives – they work 24 hour shifts!

8:30am Deborah is ready to go and we start pushing. I can’t feel any of the pushing but the epidural is wearing off enough that I can feel contractions again. This is really helpful for knowing when to push. Greg and Jenne help me with my legs since I still don’t have much ability to move them, no matter how hard I try. My hips are also incredibly sore from spending hours in child’s pose the night before, which does not make pushing a ton of fun.

While the pushing felt productive, it was exhausting. I hadn’t slept in about 36 hours (and hadn’t had good sleep in days) and I hadn’t eaten anything in 24 hours. There were a few times I seriously thought I could fall asleep right there and just not have a baby. I was alternating every other contraction between pushing and oxygen. By this time I’m really over oxygen. I’d been having it fairly regularly for more than 24 hours and my mouth and lips were so dry. It also feels much better to push during a contraction than to just lay back and breath in the oxygen. But it was helping the baby so it was worth it. 

10:00am Deborah says we are very close and calls the baby’s nurse and the neonatalogist into the room. She tells me we’re going to have the baby in the next three pushes.

10:07am I tell Deborah I’m not interested in three more contractions and I push the baby out on the next one (in retrospect, probably not the smartest idea ever). The baby is born 43 hours after my induction was started.

I’m not able to hold her immediately as the mystery of her heart rate is solved when we see that she has the cord wrapped around her neck. In the end it turned out to be a blessing that she had the meconium and we had the neonatologist in the room at birth. She let out a little squeal but not much else so was taken to the other side of the room where they regulated her breathing.

10:15am We all realize in the hurry to get her stabilized no one looked at gender. Greg walked over to where they were working on her and proudly announced “it’s a Paige!”. We had a girl name picked out but for a boy we had not settled on a name, just had a short list of five names going. We were both a little relieved we didn’t have to figure out which seemed most appropriate for a little guy.


10:20am Paige is brought over to me and laid on my chest. Greg and I just stared at her until Jenne suggested we talk to her. The next hour is a blur of being totally fixated on this beautiful little girl.

11:30am Paige’s nurse lets us know she has to take her to the NICU to get the antibiotics started. My legs are still numb and I can’t get out of bed so Greg goes with her. Jenne suggests I hand express some colostrum that Greg can feed her with his pinky, since we hadn’t managed to breastfeed before they needed to take her.

We spent the next two days in the hospital as Paige had to have antibiotics until her blood culture showed no infections at 48 hours after birth. We had a few visitors and mostly spent time cuddling our sweet girl and learning how to feed her. Greg quickly became the diaper changing king. On Monday morning both Paige and I were examined and given the okay to go home. I

We struggled for quite some time with adjusting the carseat to her size and were sure they were going to consider us unfit to care for this tiny human. But no, once we got it sorted out they made sure she was secure and sent us on our way. It’s sort of surreal when they tell you to take the baby home. After the slowest two mile drive home (and a stop at Chipotle to pick up lunch), we made it home to start this next phase of our lives as a family of four. Yes, Alfred still counts. 


introducing Paige Clara Martin


Paige Clara Martin was born at 10:07 on Saturday morning, February 28th. She’s a little nugget, weighing 6lbs 15oz. And that’s at one day shy of 42 weeks gestation! She is 20″ long with strawberry blonde hair and a possible dimple. IMG_8966_edited-1

To say we are smitten is an understatement. She’s captured our hearts completely. Every facial expression is the cutest thing we’ve ever seen and every squawk the cutest noise. We’ve gone from our comfortable adult only life to raving about how great that two hour stretch of sleep felt. Things are going well and we’re looking forward to adding Alfred back to the mix tomorrow.


I’m working on writing out Paige’s birth story as a way to process it myself. The way in which it occurred is so far from our birth plan it’s comical. But at the end of the day we have a healthy baby, and a healthy mama to take care of her. That’s what really matters. It’s not a short story, but it is one with a very sweet ending.

incubating: weeks thirty seven to forty

I wasn’t quite prepared for actually making it all the way through week 40. We are still hanging in here, but definitely ready for this baby to make it’s appearance. S/he has a great heart beat and is measuring right on size; I’m trying to focus on the fact that it is healthy and doing well and just taking it’s time before joining us. IMG_6961_edited-1The last few weeks have been pretty quiet. We didn’t plan a whole lot starting in late January, unsure of when the baby would arrive. We did host our third annual Super Bowl party for people who don’t really care about the Super Bowl. It’s quite fun. We have a ton of food, lots of conversation, and a little football. The last two years have been a little more football focused since the Seahawks have been contenders. This year Greg and I even got in the spirit (only because I happened to win two hats at a work event the week before). Clearly we are not good luck charms.


The biggest change for me is that as of last week I am now on maternity leave. I’m taking a six month leave of absence, with a return date in mid-August. I have no idea what will happen between now and then and am not stressing about it. We’ll make decisions that make the best sense for our little family. It feels a little like no man’s land right now – I’m eager to move on to this next stage of our life, but it’s not here yet. I spent the week walking, going to yoga, and reading. I’ve read five books already in February and am enjoying the freedom to stop in at Starbucks, have a coffee, and read for an hour. That won’t be the case shortly.

IMG_7036_edited-1I’m only half joking when I say that my biggest accomplishment was painting my own toenails last week. At 40+2 it was not exactly an easy task.

IMG_7029_edited-1You can find us on the couch most nights, watching Top Chef. We’ve watched seasons one, two, and three in the last month. I don’t have a ton of energy by the time Greg gets home from work, so our typical evening includes dinner (that I don’t cook because I’m over cooking right now) and two episodes of Top Chef. One night we watched four episodes and felt like awful people, so now we limit ourselves to two, then I read and Greg works on his Lego project or work. I have to say my husband is a saint when it comes to eating dinner. He ate a burger four out of five nights last week because that was the only thing that sounded good to me. I tend to stick to one thing for several nights in a row then move on. We’ve had a lot of Pho this pregnancy (we’re talking two or three nights a week sometimes); I’m curious to see if I ever want to eat it again once the baby is born.

IMG_6950_edited-1The nursery is done, the bags are packed, we have a pack ‘n play set up in our room, and a changing station upstairs is ready. There’s really nothing left to prepare. Our house is more picked up then it’s ever been, laundry is constantly done and put away, and I’m even reading about how to re-season my cast iron cookware. I’m stretching for ways to keep busy.


I was surprised to see that I actually grew a little more over these last weeks. It makes sense as the baby is definitely putting on weight, but it doesn’t feel like I have gotten much bigger. I had even lost a little weight at my latest appointment (I’ve now gained exactly 30 pounds).

I’m 41 weeks today and have an ultrasound and NST scheduled around lunchtime. The ultrasound will ensure the placenta is still chugging along and the NST will ensure the baby is still doing well. We’ll repeat that again on Thursday at 41.5 weeks. At 42 weeks (next Monday) they will strongly encourage inducing. At the suggestion of my midwives, I have three acupuncture appointments scheduled for this week and my usual massage (she has started to do pressure points but clearly they haven’t helped). I’ve never had acupuncture done before but I’m willing to try anything to avoid being induced, so why not.

food for the hospital

Last week I put my google skills to work and found the “in room dining” menu for the hospital where I will be delivering the Martian. I try really hard not to rant on my blog, but I was flabbergasted. For example, one of the suggestions on the menu for a good choice when moving from a liquid diet to a solid diet is a Starbucks Frappuccino. I don’t know what to say. People are licensed by the government and paid to come up with these nutritional recommendations for the sick and recovering?

Rant over, but needless to say I decided to pack a decent amount of my own food. I clearly haven’t done this before so I don’t really know if what I’m planning is going to be what I want or not.


During Labor

As long as I don’t request or require interventions, I am able to eat and drink to satisfy hunger and thirst during labor. My thought is that I’m probably not going to want actual food, but I’m going to need energy. I tried to pick foods that will be really easy to eat and provide quick hits of energy without leading to sugar crashes. I wish sugar didn’t impact me quite as much as it does, but I kept that in mind when picking my carbs. Last thing I want during labor is the crash that I feel after eating something like a cookie or a cupcake.

I have baby food pouches that are full of starchy veggies likes sweet potatoes and pumpkins, some fruit leather snacks, a fruit smoothie, and bone broth (currently frozen, I have a note to myself to take it out of the freezer as soon as early labor starts). I tried to make jello with kombucha using a very simple recipe, but the texture is super weird. If I don’t go into labor today and get to the store, I’ll try again to make some sort of gummy snacks, maybe using this recipe.

IMG_8879-1_edited-1Post Labor

There are a few decent meals on the menu to choose from post-birth so I’m not bringing actual prepared food. Worst case, Chipotle is 2 minutes away and Greg can go on a take out run. I have heard though that I will likely get hungry in middle of the night when the kitchen is closed, and depending on how long my labor is Greg might need some actual food, so I’m bringing along the following snacks. (I talked about almost all of these in my post on stocking the pantry.)

I have Primal Pacs (jerky, nuts, and dried mango), Chomps meat sticks, and two protein bars (Rx Bar and Eco cricket bar). And a few treats as well – I figure if I have some decent treats I’ll pick those over the desserts on the menu. I am birthing a child after all, a treat will be in order. I have a dark chocolate bar and then sunbutter cups in milk chocolate (for Greg) and dark chocolate (for me).

If you’ve done this before, any suggestions for me? 

weekend update | while we’re waiting

First off: nope, no baby yet. Yesterday was my due date but I’m not really in a big hurry. We haven’t had this much down time…ever, maybe? It’s been so nice to just spend time together, relax, and make plans at the spur of the moment. I’m not feeling horribly uncomfortable, though sleep is a little lacking. I’m walking a lot and keeping my food pretty clean in hopes of continuing to feel good until it’s go time.


The baby did not get the memo that Martins are punctual. Let’s hope s/he understands that our family motto is “efficiency” and makes this a quick labor once it’s time.

My last day of work was Friday and as I was heading home Greg mentioned that he and our friend, KII, would be staying later at work to finish a project. You might think this means a work project, but no, it was to update their lego station in the break area to include our company’s new logo.


We’ve been doing Friday night happy hour (though it’s turned out to be dinner every week) with KII and his wife Becca lately, so us ladies decided to go out on our own while they nerded out. The point of Friday night happy hour is to try new restaurants as we all felt like we’d been in a rut (adventure is happening, people!). Last week we had dinner at Brunswick & Hunt in Ballard. Great atmosphere, delicious food, big portions. Since I’m not imbibing all I can say is that the drinks looked pretty tasty as well. Try the Merguez sausage and take the half you can’t eat home to enjoy with eggs the next morning.

Back to this weekend. Becca and I tried mkt. in Tangletown. It is super tiny (28 seats) with an open kitchen. Greg and I are currently watching all the seasons of Top Chef from the beginning and I love open kitchens and watching chefs do their art. We showed up right when they opened at 5 and got the only non-reserved seats they had for the rest of the weekend. Let’s just say that it’s three days later and Becca and I are still texting each other about the food. I’ve never lusted over green beans before. Or a beet salad. Or quail. I have lusted over hamachi before, but there’s was delicious as well.

No different than other years, our Valentine’s Day was very low key. We started off with brunch at Liam’s in U-Village, another new-to-us restaurant. We are on a roll. There is nothing like the pending arrival of a newborn to make you get out of the house way more than you normally would! While cleaning out a coin purse last week, I found a gift card from our wedding in 2012. I looked up where it could be used and one of the places was Liam’s. Thanks, Smithskis, for our Valentine’s brunch!  The food was pretty good, but what we were really excited to see was a number of strollers and car seats. Another baby friendly place to add to our mental list.


We spent the rest of the day relaxing. We watched a lot of Top Chef season two, took the dog out to play fetch in the amazing weather and worked on our hobbies.IMG_7001_edited-1

I’m almost done with a giant blanket that I don’t particularly love but want to finish.


Greg continues to classify and rebuild all his childhood lego sets.


We had a very romantic dinner of burgers and fries (my request) from a restaurant a few blocks from us. I was enjoying the lazy downtime and didn’t want to bother actually going there for dinner so we ordered it instead. I don’t know when the last time I had french fries was. They were amazing. To make myself feel better about being good and skipping the bun and cheese, I added egg and bacon to my burger. We’re not total heathens and I did add a beet salad to our order. It might be because I was 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant at the time of consumption, but that meal was amazing. We watched the season two Top Chef finale while we dined and it was a lovely way to end the day. By 9pm I was pretty excited that the chances of having a holiday baby were getting close to zero. That was gift enough for me.


The weather continued to be amazing and yesterday we took the dog around Green Lake for a brisk walk. I consider keeping up with my 6″ tall husband at nine months pregnant to be brisk.

IMG_7012_edited-1Greg has gotten in the habit of making extreme statements every time we leave the house now, like “this might be the last time we ever go to brunch”. I did have to give him this one, though. This very well could have been the last time the three of us walk around Green Lake. I don’t really see a situation in which together we take the dog without the baby. Of course that means I had to commemorate it with a shadow picture. Turns out pregnancy isn’t great in shadows.

I’m writing myself a short to do list of the last few things I’d like to get done before baby, but otherwise plan to do a lot of reading, finish my blanket, and maybe even bust out the sewing machine. I’ve never not had a job since I was 16 so this feels a little strange, but definitely doable. And I will continue to walk briskly until the kid decides it wants to make an appearance. Have a great week!


what I want to remember | third trimester


Prenatal Yoga I started at 13 weeks and and in the early months being around pregnant women weekly was a sanity saver. The constant worry of ‘is this normal?’ eases a little when another woman mentions she’s experiencing the same thing. But now in the third trimester it’s a body saver. Just as soon as I think I can’t possibly stand the pain in my upper right back any longer, it’s time to go to yoga again. 75 minutes of stretching is pretty much the only thing that makes me comfortable these days.

Jamba Juice Until November, I’d probably had a smoothie twice since college. I’m not a smoothie or juice person at all, but something came over me one day and I had to have a Jamba Juice. Thus started a two month obsession with the Mega Mango. After the holidays I tamed the beast (I think I had one in January). The resulting heart burn and sugar cravings weren’t worth it. But I might need to have one more before the baby arrives.

Epsom Salt Baths I don’t remember why I started this, but I have an almost nightly ritual now of taking a (luke warm) bath. I use a ton of epsom salt, back from my CrossFit days, and read a book. It’s the most relaxing thirty minutes of my day. It also helps with aches and pains, I think just being in the water in general takes some of the load of my body. I am REALLY looking forward to a hot bath once I don’t have to consider heating amniotic fluid.

The Toe Watch So I had no idea I wouldn’t be able to see my toes at some point until a friend asked if I could still see them. This was around week 28 or so and I became obsessed with checking every morning. They finally disappeared during week 34. Not sure why this made me so happy, but I question nothing about feelings in pregnancy. Reference my newly established love of smoothies as proof nothing makes sense while you are growing a human.

Walking Always high on my list of favorite activities, but now it’s even more enjoyable. I’m not sitting and I’m not standing, both of which are less comfortable than moving. We’ve been doing Green Lake on the weekends and lots of neighborhood walks (when the doodle is willing to cooperate) during the week. Starting this weekend I’m hoping to do three miles a day as part of my eviction plan…

what I read | pregnancy edition

I’m finishing up the last book on my pregnancy reading list and thought I’d share which books made the list and a few thoughts on each.

IMG_8835_edited-1Quick disclaimer: I didn’t read very many books. Up until six months, I was working full time and finishing my NTP certification. There wasn’t much extra time in my day for reading non-school books. But even more, I had little desire to read most of what is out there. I’m not into ranting, but I will say that I hate the way we view pregnancy and birth in the US. End rant. I chose to read books that support a non-pathological view of pregnancy and birth and that do not engage in expectant mother fear mongering. There are still more books that meet this criteria than I could or needed to get through in three months, so I picked a few and didn’t worry about the rest.

Great With Child by Beth Ann Fennelly. This memoir is not what most people would categorize as a pregnancy book, but I loved it. It came highly recommended from one of my favorite blogs and it was a breath of fresh air to read in between the more “technical” pregnancy and birth books. The collection of letters from mentor to mentee are beautifully written and captured both the highs and lows of pregnancy as well as motherhood.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. Happiest Baby came highly recommend from several sets of parents whose parenting style we admire. Greg and I both read this book, and while it is highly repetitive (seriously, it could be twenty pages long instead of two hundred), we learned a lot. As Martian isn’t here yet I can’t comment on whether or not the techniques we learned will work for us, but having a common ground to start from on that first long night is what we were hoping to get (and got) from this book.

Real Food for Mothers and Babies by Nina Planck. Obviously this book was right up my ally. I’m not sure that I learned new information given that I was going through a nutrition program at the same time, but for someone curious about nutrition during pre-conception, pregnancy, birth, and early months of baby this is a great read. I love that the pregnancy section broke down mom and baby’s nutrient needs by trimester. I used this as a guide for taking in more nutrient appropriate foods at specific times.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. If I had to pick one book to recommend, this would be it. I learned so much about what my body is capable of and what should be considered normal during pregnancy and birth that I feel empowered going into labor and bringing this baby into the world. I feel silly writing that sentence, but it’s true. I wouldn’t say that I feared labor and birth before, but now I am accepting of them. Again, I haven’t done it yet so the jury is out on if what I learned will be useful or not. However, just being in the mind frame that I am about the process is win enough for me.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn by Penny Simkin. After researching several pregnancy books, I decided to go with this one and ordered it from Amazon. Then we went to my first midwife appointment and they gave us a copy. And then we started our birth class series where they gave us a third copy (which I declined). Clearly it was the book I was meant to read. I highly recommend this book if you want a less conventional, less pathological (but not not-science based) book on what to expect during pregnancy and birth. In terms of labor and birth, this book (and our class) helped ensure that I will be a good advocate for myself and the baby. I understand the physiology behind labor and birth now as well as the risks and side effects of each potential intervention. Combined with what I learned in Ina May’s Guide, I am confident with my plans for birth but also know that if we have to deviate I’m armed with the knowledge that I need to make decisions.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger of La Leche League. I’m about halfway through the book and so far enjoying it. I’m glad I’m reading it now to get the information in my head, but I’m pretty sure it will be more heavily used as a reference in the first few weeks of baby’s life and as we come up on different milestones over time.

I’m collecting a list of parenting books I’d like to read, but I have no plans to start them anytime soon. Next up on the list is simply surviving the first six weeks with baby, which I’m not sure will involve all that much reading. But if it does, I have a few non-baby related books on my iPad ready to go.

incubating: weeks thirty three to thirty six

Time for another baby update. Crazy that this could be the penultimate update. Given that I’m sitting here at 37 weeks typing this up, there for sure will be one more, but unless I go over my due date this is the second to last. Time still is both flying by and standing still all at once.

IMG_8814_edited-1The baby’s room is 95% done! The last thing I have to left to do is hang my plan B for color above the crib, after the solar system mobile we ordered didn’t work out. I’m hoping to get that done this week, take some pictures this weekend, and share it next week. I’m loving how it turned out. I’m not exactly a home decor visionary so I wasn’t sure it was going to come together. But it has and I can’t wait to spend time in there with this little guy or girl over the next few years.


The highlights of this last month have been celebrating the baby. It started with my baby shower down in LA where I was able to spend time with all of my Southern California family. And then this past weekend, two of our good friends hosted a brunch for a few close friend couples. It was fun to get in a visit with people we probably won’t see again before the baby is born as well as get Greg in on baby celebrating. Becca and Amanda went all out on the food and decor, but I didn’t take a single picture. Not sure what I was thinking. It was cute and delicious, though made me seriously want a bloody mary!

Due to some changes at work in the last few weeks I’ve been able to cut back my hours. This has been really huge to keeping my sanity. I was exhausted coming home after eight or nine hour days. I’m working more five or six hour days now, depending on my meeting schedule, and it’s really allowing me to get more rest. It’s awesome to be able to sleep until 8am on the days where I’m up from 3:30 – 5:30 for no explainable reason.

The most memorable (and expensive) moments from this last month will probably be my two major pregnancy brain fails.

  • First, while sitting in my rental car after my shower in LA, I thought I’d check in and see if there was an earlier departure from Burbank up to Seattle. Something seemed off when I looked at the flight schedule but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me – I had booked myself two SEA -> BUR flights. Alaska doesn’t man the Gold status line on Sundays and I’m thankful for my road warrior husband who was able to call his important-flyer line and get me on the last flight out of Burbank that night (which happened to be two hours earlier than my “flight”). It was the last day of the holiday season and I was worried I was not going to be able to get a flight home. Despite the ridiculous change fee, it ended up working out just fine. I should also note that while returning the car I had to get out the manual to figure out how to open the gas tank and then I tried to return it to the wrong agency. I was on a roll.
  • My wallet has vanished. It’s been a week as of Tuesday so we’re finally calling off the hunt. We are 99% sure it hasn’t been stolen because there is no fraudulent activity on any account for which I had a card in my wallet. I’m also really quite sure it’s in the house somewhere. But I’m about to give up and give in. I’d rather cancel everything and reset up all our recurring payments before the baby gets here rather than after. We’ve done this twice in the last 18 months thanks to the Target hack and then our credit card switching from a Visa to a MC. Not thrilled about this but it is what it is.


Physically, I’m actually feeling much better than I was before. I’ve been making the time and effort to exercise four to five times a week and that has made a huge difference. I’m also eating about a thousand times better than I was over the holidays which is what really makes me feel well. I wish I was sleeping better, but I’ll take what I can get. I’ve gained 28 pounds so far and I’m really hoping to keep it to under 30 in total (revised from the original under 25!).

I am having lower back pain/cramping and I get a tightening feeling around the baby on and off that the nurse told me is likely Braxton Hicks contractions, but I have no clue. I’m hoping these are both signs that things are moving along. My midwives will allow me to go to the end of week 41 before inducing at week 42, provided the baby is looking good. While I’m thankful they won’t pressure me for an induction at 39 or 40 weeks like I’ve heard a lot of others being told to do, the thought of being pregnant until March 1st is not something I can even think about. So here’s to hoping that this kid decides he or she wants out sooner!

My clothes are definitely getting less and less comfortable, as you can see from the percentage of weekly photos that are taken in loungewear. I have yet to wear a hoodie or Uggs to work, which I’ve decided is the line I’m not going to cross. But that is basically my evening/weekend uniform.

We finished our birthing, nursing, and baby care class series on Monday evening, so that means we’re totally prepared and qualified to take care of a mini-human, right?!

stocking the freezer for baby | week two

I’ve moved on from nesting to “oh my gosh, what have we done, we better get out of the house now while we can”. Which means this weekend I did absolutely no cooking. We met friends for happy hour, went to the movies, ate every meal out, and enjoyed a brunch that our friends hosted for us. But last week I cooked up a storm and just never shared it, so here it is…

This plan of mine is working really well. The kitchen freezer is slowly filling with pre-cooked meals and ziplock bags full of meat and veggies ready for the crockpot. Thanks to a few things going on at work I ended up with a four day weekend the weekend before last, which really helped. I was able to break up cooking over several days to avoid too much time standing in the kitchen. I much prefer a 3/4 work to weekend ratio over the current 5/2.

stewI haven’t made a beef stew in a really long time and with the cold weather it sounded good. I doubled a recipe I found on Pinterest, putting half in the crockpot for dinners this week and the other half (uncooked) in the freezer for later. It was really easy and decent, but it was more like beef and carrot soup, the broth didn’t thicken much like a good stew. The leftovers are a little thicker, but not quite what I want in a stew. On a positive note, the veggies were cooked perfectly. We’ll happily eat the freezer meal, but not sure I’ll make this one again.

breakfast meatballsLast Monday morning I made a double batch of breakfast meatballs and patties for the freezer. They turned out to be delicious. So delicious that I ate a few more than planned with leftover kale and roasted potatoes. Because I am prone to setting our smoke alarm off, I followed the directions for baking in a mini muffin pan. I also used a regular muffin tin and created patties so that I could bake both pounds at the same time. I immediately cooled them on paper towels so that I could get the grease out of the tins before it hardened. Then I popped them into the freezer just laying on a cutting board. This allows each ball or patty to freeze individually and not as a big clump. After about an hour I transferred them to a freezer ziplock for storage. These will be perfect to add to soup (I love soup for breakfast in the winter), to an egg dish, or just stand alone.


I roasted two chickens to make Lemon Chicken Kale Soup and have a little leftover shredded chicken for quick meals. I forgot a picture of the soup, but it was delicious. I made one batch to eat for dinners last week and have a second batch in the freezer ready to be thrown in the crockpot for a quick meal.

I also made, but did not take pictures of, double batches of 50/50 Burgers and Merguez Meatballs. I ate each for only one meal, so there is quite a bit in the freezer. At this point I’ve maxed out most of my freezer space with proteins. With the little room I have left I’m hoping to stock up on veggies (probably store-bought frozen and maybe some soups) and broth.


I threw together a little lunch for Greg and I as we watched the Seahawks game two Sunday’s ago. It’s completely Whole30 compliant and completely game worthy. I didn’t use recipes and it took maybe 25 minutes. Perfect for the upcoming Super Bowl.

  • Applegate mini sausages (compliant ingredients!) that I found at Whole Foods with a dipping sauce of 2/3 dijon mustard + 1/3 homemade mayo
  • Deviled eggs; the filling is simply the yolks + dijon mustard + homemade mayo
  • Bacon wrapped dates; pit dates, cut bacon slices in 1/2 or 1/3 (depending on how long they are), wrap around date, place on baking sheet with “seam” side down, bake at 400* for 12 minutes

stocking the freezer for baby | week one

At the beginning of the new year, six weeks out from my due date, I made the final list of what needs to get done before baby. There are a million things we could be doing and in an effort to not be overwhelmed or overtax myself, I made a list of what’s important to us. I’m letting go of the rest.

Knowing how good food makes me feel, having a number of meals stored away in our freezer is really important to me. My approach is to incorporate a little bit each week while doing my normal prepping. I’m battling both my own exhaustion (standing up for hours in the kitchen is much harder with an extra 27 pounds) and limited freezer space. Our 2015 meat shares just arrived in the last month so both my indoor and garage freezers are packed. But I’m going to do what I can. IMG_6868_edited-1

First up was making a plan. Please excuse the horrible picture, my phone came down with a case of gray spots last week and we haven’t had a chance to switch me back to my old phone yet. I want to have around 50 servings of breakfast and lunch/dinner items in addition to soups (an easy way to freeze veggies) and then be well stocked on snacks and shelf stable food.

All the breakfast food I plan to store in single servings so we have some food that is very easy to grab out of the freezer and defrost immediately if needed. Also, sometimes it will be nice to not defrost something that is 6 – 8 servings since there’s only two of us. For the lunch and dinner foods, I planned a mix of precooked frozen meals and frozen crockpot meals (FCP). I don’t have a reason for doing a mix other than it sounded like a good idea. I also made a list of snacks and shelf stable food to make sure to order and get organized in the pantry before the baby comes. I hear breastfeeding women are ravenous and I want to be prepared with good, nutritious food for the baby and myself.


So that’s the plan. I thought I’d share my weekly progress for anyone else looking for ideas to stock a freezer for a baby or maybe an upcoming surgery. Or even just for good crockpot and frozen meal ideas. Here’s what I completed this week. IMG_8787_edited-1Last year I made this sweet potato chili with beef and it was so good. Thankfully I didn’t just talk it up in my head over the last year. Greg doesn’t often comment on food, so I know when he asks not to have something again (raw kale salad) he truly doesn’t like it. If he comments on how good a dish is (this chili), it really is that good. I doubled the recipe but beware, it nearly overflowed in my crockpot. This made two servings for us for dinner (over sautéed kale), five lunch portions for me this week, and then 6-serving and 4-serving frozen dishes. Also known as a sh*t ton of chili. I’m excited to pull these out of the freezer next month. 


This is an incredibly simple salsa verde chicken that I’ve made several times in the past. You can eat it plain, in lettuce wraps, on a salad – totally versatile. It works really well as a frozen crockpot ready meal. Toss all the raw ingredients in a ziplock and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge and toss in the crockpot (or straight into the crockpot with a little extra time). I made three bags in under ten minutes. I would have made more, but at two pounds of chicken each that’s already quite a few servings for us. We’ll eat one later this week and the other two will stay frozen for post-baby. IMG_8778_edited-1

I’ve linked several times to this chorizo breakfast casserole (I skip the cheese and usually add spinach but forgot to buy this week). It’s one of our favorites and I made a double batch to slice and wrap in foil for the freezer. We ate a few of them for breakfast this week but I was able to make myself eggs most mornings so I added eight or nine servings to the baby stash.

IMG_6861_edited-1Previously I mentioned that one of my goals is to stop wasting food. On Sunday morning, after Alfred and I had gone on a 3 mile walk and Greg had gone to yoga, I really just wanted someone to make me brunch. But I’m staying strong to my Whole30+ (day 12) and we had some leftover brisket and half a bag of frozen kale that needed to be used or tossed. In about ten minutes they were transformed into a tasty dish: sweet potato hash + brisket + kale + a runny egg. It was so good and nothing was wasted. Success.