Friday, November 1, 2013

First trimester experiences ... yep, we're pregnant!

WE ARE PREGNANT!  WOOHOO!  We've been talking about it for a couple years and kept delaying, so we decided once we moved and settled in we would likely start working on a baby.  Our 5th year anniversary is February 14th and our present will be the baby!  We're due February 19th.  :)

The first trimester:
Around the date my period should start, I started having PMS.  I get this dull ache in the stomach plus periodic, horrible, sometimes bend over sharp pain that lasts 5-30 seconds.  I usually get this for 1-2 days then 1-2 days of calm before the actual period starts.  Well, this lasted for 5 days, so on the 6th we bought 2 pregnancy tests.  I took one that day around noon using the pee-on-stick method which looked positive.  I took another the next morning around 4:30 am using the pee in a cup then dip the stick in method which also looked positive.  It was Sunday and Father's Day, so we announced it to our parents.

After learning we were pregnant, some of my other symptoms made sense.  The week prior to the PMS, I noticed crazy mood swings, particularly in the morning like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed each day.  I'd wake up and feel down or grumpy.  This lasted about a week then the cramps started.  I also broke out on my face with acne worse than the normal period acne.  Another thing I noticed was not being able to make it to the next meal.  I would get hungry about halfway between like the pre-paleo days.

The PMS continued.  I could only sleep on my back.  Sitting was very uncomfortable and would trigger cramping.  After a couple days of this, I was feeling concerned.  My Mom had an ectopic pregnancy before, so this was in the front of my mind.  We went to a walk-in clinic to confirm the pregnancy and to see about the cramping part of the PMS.  They confirmed I'm pregnant, but did diddly about the cramping.  The doctor walks in with the urine test results going "I know what's wrong!" and looking at me like I should know.  He finally says it's because I'm not eating well and I'm burning ketones.  His solution was for me to eat more carbs/sugar.  /facepalm

The PMS continued for weeks.  I felt very tired and had a hard time concentrating.  We called the midwives to request their services.  Apparently, it's hard to get in with them.  While waiting to find out if I was selected we got in with an OBGYN.  We saw her for the first time at 7 weeks and she had us get an ultrasound because of my concern about the cramping.  The dull ache and low/mild cramps are normal during the first trimester, but sharp cramps should be looked in to.  The ultrasound showed everything looked OK, but I did have a tiny bleed spot.  She said it should just absorb into me, but if I notice any bleeding to contact her.  I had no bleeding and the next ultrasound at 20 weeks showed no bleed spot.

Pre-paleo I would wake up in the night a lot with horrible poop cramps.  This started happening again around the 2nd or 3rd week of the pregnancy.  It calmed down and went away after a week or two.

I was very motivated to eat well for I think the first half of the first trimester.  I was drinking bone broth, eating salmon, organ meats, avocados, etc.  I was trying to get in each day as much nutrient dense foods as I could per the recommendations of Wellness Mama, The Primal Parent, and The Better Baby Book by Dave & Lana Asprey.  Well, that came to a halt about half way through the first trimester as the extreme nausea started.  The OBGYN prescribed some medicine that had B6 in it, but we didn't fill it.  What got me through the nausea phase was: eating small meals throughout the day so I didn't get hungry as getting hungry made it SO much worse, sucking on ginger chews, and nibbling on slices of mozzarella cheese.  I only vomited one day during the first trimester.  It was a stressful day and we were running around town early in the morning trying to find a notary to notarize the papers to sell our house in the states.  I think between the stress, the car ride (I got motion sickness a lot before being pregnant. Being pregnant just upped the nausea level.), and being pregnant my stomach just could not take it.  Luckily I was carrying around the little doggy poop bags, so I managed to contain it in that and not all over my husband's car.

I didn't just have morning sickness.  I had all day sickness.  It would come and go in severity throughout the day.  Fun, eh?  It didn't help that we lived in an apartment.  Our neighbors below us would cook the most horrible smelling things (boil bamboo???) and it would drift up into our unit.  Our neighbor next to us smokes cigarettes and pot.  Every time he would go on his balcony, he would start hacking up a lung and would smoke.  I would have to run and close the windows and balcony door multiple times as it would come inside.  I already had a sensitive nose prior to being pregnant, but the pregnancy nose?  Ugh.  The nausea lasted a little into the second trimester as it slowly died away.  I do still get nauseous sometimes, but I believe it's mostly from anxiety and car rides.

Sitting hurt and still does.  Sometimes I can sit Indian style and recline a bit and manage to be OK for a while, at least until I stand up then my tummy aches a bit.  We set up my desk as a standing one again.  I used to have it this way before moving.  Standing was much better, but then my ribs right below my right breast started hurting.  Some days it hurts all the way around the side and to my back.  My shins also start hurting.  Haven't figured out how to solve this dilemma yet.  I have a cushioned bar seat to sit on, but my tummy protests right away.  I end up standing back up and dealing with the aches until I attempt to sit again.  Rinse and repeat.

Sleep?  Good luck with that.  Stomach was uncomfortable and would give me a horrible crick in the neck.  I've read to sleep on your left side.  I couldn't sleep on my right any more as something would hurt a lot: belly, knees, hips, ribs.  I mostly slept on my left for a while, but then the pain in the knees, hips, or ribs started and would start earlier and earlier so I was miserable all night.  I used all our spare pillows to put around me and between the legs, but it didn't help.  I ended up pulling out the wedge pillow and moving to the couch.  Yep, I sleep on the couch with my dog at my feet and/or my cat on my lap (he'd prefer to be on my chest or belly).  I miss my husband a lot.  Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning and there's just an hour to a couple hours left before we have to get up, I'll move to the bedroom and sleep on my side just to be near him.  Sleep is very important, so do what you can to find a comfortable or at least tolerable position and don't be afraid to try the couch!

Cravings?  Nothing really crazy like you hear about and nothing I just HAVE to have right away.  I craved sushi, so we went to a sushi place and I only had the California roll since it didn't have raw fish.  I was satisfied after that.  I craved ribs next.  We ate SO much ribs over the next week between Tony Roma's and the Saskatoon Rib Fest.  I still have no desire to eat ribs again.  I craved cheesecake, but it's not gluten free.  We ended up finding out about a gluten free dessert place and I was able to get my cheesecake fix there.  A gluten free restaurant opened in town.  We went there on my birthday and they happened to have apple pie as the special that day.  O M G it was amazing and gluten free!!

Aversions?  Red meat, particularly steaks, which is usually my favorite started tasting really weird and gross.  We ended up not eating it much for a while.  We cooked our first a week or so ago and it didn't taste so bad, so I think we're going to try another this week.  Hamburger is hit or miss.  I think the miss is mostly when we go out to eat with friends and family and just go with a bunless burger, most of the places use the same premade patty that is just absolutely disgusting.  Eggs fried in butter.  We have this for breakfast every morning, but I had to start cooking mine separately in coconut oil (husband can't stand eggs in coconut oil) as the smell would just kill me.  The worst has been the thought of eating salmon.  Just the thought makes my stomach churn and makes me feel like vomiting.

Sounds like a lot of complaining, eh?  I have not once regretted being pregnant.  The symptoms bite big time, but although my body feels like crap most days, my mind and spirit are happy and very much looking forward to meeting the baby!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Food/Product Recommendations

As I was writing the stew recipe, I thought I'd link some of the places we've tried and liked their products:
  • For those of you in the states, our favorite online grass-fed companies are: US Wellness Meats and White Oak Pastures.  I highly recommend liking them on Facebook and getting on their mailing lists.
  •  US Wellness Meats has a great newsletter with recipes, articles, what's been restocked, and what's on sale.  We've tried and enjoyed their ground beef, liverwurst, beef snack stick ends, pemmican, sugar free garlic hot dogs, polish pork sausages, and I'm sure others I can't think of right now.  I am sad that I no longer can eat their liverwurst.  I ate a pound a week by slicing it up evenly and having some with my eggs each morning.  I will have to find a new, good source or have hubby learn to make it for me. :)
  • White Oak Pastures periodically has sales.  We've tried and enjoyed their ground beef, beef stir fry, beef stew, NY strip steak, whole chickens, and chicken feet (to add to your broth!).
  • For those of you in the states and in the Auburn, AL area, we highly recommend buying local and going with Randle Farms.  They are great people with great products.  When we could get the meat delivered in Montgomery, AL, we purchased eggs and LOTS of ground beef then later participated in a meat share.
  • For those of you in Canada and in the Regina/Saskatoon, SK area the only company we've tried so far is Cool Springs Ranch.  They deliver once a month to Regina and to Saskatoon.  Make sure you check their calendar for when the "online store" opens and closes for your delivery location.  We've tried and enjoyed the rib-eye steaks, ground beef, stew beef, liver and eggs.  We've ordered more of a variety for our next pickup on May 25th.  Will update later on those products.
***More to be added later!

Please note: I am an affiliate of US Wellness Meats so I do earn a small commission if you purchase by visiting the website through my link.  I only recommend the companies/products I've tried and honestly like.

Beef Stew - Crockpot

My husband likes beef stew.  He's usually the one that makes it as I'm not a huge fan.  I figured I'd give it a go this time.  Here's what I remember doing:

  • 2 lbs grass-fed beef stew meat
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced to your liking (not a fan of carrots, so I prefer thinly sliced)
  • 2 large sweet onions, diced
  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced to your desired thickness
  • 1 jar of mild organic salsa (check ingredients for sneaky bad stuff). Hubby made it last time with medium salsa.  That's what we add to our scramletes.  It made the stew way too spicy for me.  Hubby likes spice, but agreed that mild would probably be better for the stew.
  • We forgot to thaw the meat ahead of time.  It didn't get moved to the fridge from the freezer until the night prior, so it was still solid as a rock the next morning.  I stuck it in the crockpot as-is.
  • Dumped the salsa over the beef.
  • Set the crockpot on high.
  • Chopped up the onions and potatoes and added them.  Forgot about the carrots.  They went in about 3 hours later.
  • Started gathering everything and adding the ingredients as they were ready to the crockpot around 1:30 pm with it set to high.  Carrots went in around 4:30.  I think I turned it to low around 5:30.  Then remembered it was still cooking at 8:30 so shut it off.  I work from home now, so I was able to stir it periodically.
  • We netted 6 2 cup pyrex bowls full of stew.  BTW, we love our 2 cup pyrex bowls.  They are the perfect serving size for lunch.  Once cooled enough, they go in the fridge over night.  In the morning, I put a 3 in the freezer and the other 3 remained in the fridge for hubby's lunch for the rest of this week.
  • You can add more of these veggies or other veggies so you yield more.
  • My attempt was a huge success! Got a text from hubby after his lunch "lunch was tasty. yooz a good cook."  LOL :)  I hope you enjoy it, too!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Canada, eh?

Wow, we've been on quite a ride for the past year and a half!  I do hope to one day start posting again, about anything and everything.  Here's an update:
  • My hubby got an awesome job offer late summer/early fall of 2011.  The only thing was, it was in Canada!  That's home for my husband.  We talked and talked about it.  Wrote many pros/cons lists.  Then decided to go for it.  Ultimately, we want to start a family soon and we felt that with our lifestyle and ideals, starting it in Canada would be best for us.  He signed the contract, we started my Canadian permanent resident process, and he moved.
  • My husband is the love of my life, my best friend, my soulmate.  Living apart from him was extremely hard.  Thank goodness for technology!
  • Well, the job ended up not working out after only a month.  He stayed up there a bit longer to see if anything else was available and to help his parents out around their home renovation.
  • After a couple months, hubby came home and started looking for a job around here again.  Man, the job market really bites!  It was tough living off just my salary.  I did not make enough to cover all of our expenses, but thankfully I have an awesome Daddy who helped us out when he could.
  • After another couple of months, we talked about moving to Canada again.  We had received the last piece of information pending to submit our application right before hubby was laid off.  We misread the application rules and thought that if hubby didn't make a certain amount of money, he couldn't sponsor me, so we didn't mail the application.  I started re-reading everything and realized that since we don't have kids the income restriction DID NOT APPLY! /facepalm
  • So, we decided to send in our application which they received on May 2, 2012.  The estimated processing time was 11 months, so we figured it would be sometime in summer 2013 that our application would be approved and we'd move.
  • Hubby went back to Canada to help his brother out with some things and to help his parents out some more with their ongoing home renovation.  It helped us, too, as they covered his living expenses.
  • Hubby came home mid-November for a 2-month visit so we could spend the upcoming holidays together.  He prepared our house to be put on the market while here and on December 10, 2012 I received my Confirmation of Permanent Residence! WAY earlier than expected!  It helped that we had been married and living together over 3 years at the time of application and had no kids.  Ours was apparently a pretty straightforward and easy application.  My husband attributes it to my "mad paperwork skillz".
  • He returned to Canada mid-January 2013 which meant we didn't get to spend our 4-year anniversary together; however, hubby had an interview on February 1st that lasted almost 3 hours!  We were pumped!  Who would spend that much time talking to someone they weren't seriously considering to hire?!  His next interview was on February 11th that took another couple hours AND they offered him the job!!  He started on February 25th. 
  • We picked a date to move.  As, I'm a tax accountant we wanted it to be after April 15th so I didn't leave my work in a bind and also we wanted it to be after the snow was finished.  Hubby flies in April 19th and we drive out April 21st!  Just a week away.  Omg, my stomach just did some flips.
  • Man, over a year with only one income.  I don't know how others do it and with even less income.  It was hard, but I think it was a blessing for us.  It really forced us to scrutinize our expenses.  It made us have to stick to a budget.  We cut out a lot of frills like a Smartphone, cable, turbo internet, online gaming with monthly fees, no vacations, etc.  We didn't buy each other presents for all the holidays.  Spending time with each other and family was the best gift.  
  • Now that we're back to 2-incomes, we still have our budget.  Yes, I will still be working after we move.  I am very thankful my company is keeping me on.  I've been their tax accountant for over 7 years now.  I will be able to remote in and have access to everything I need to continue to handle my responsibilities for them.  
  • After we dig out of the hole we're in, we have plans to continue to live within one income.  You never know when we might be at only one income again.  We have goals like saving up to buy some property and building a small house, saving for vacations, saving for retirement, etc.  Our plan is that the 2nd income will go strictly towards savings for our goals/dreams.
  • So, you can see it's been a crazy time for us.  I can't wait to see my husband again.  I look forward to this next chapter in our life.  Now if only I can get my Daddy to move closer to Canada ...