Our First Baby Picture

Not a very high resolution picture, but believe me when I say it's not much better in real life. The dark line on the right side of the embryo is what I think the doctor is concerned about, and the reason he's supplementing progesterone - there should be no line of demarcation.

Hopefully the next doctor visit will provide better pictures for us to share with you. :)


For the record, progesterone stinks. I've been lightheaded, nauseated, and exhausted for the last 2 days. And everything I read on the web states that this is a controversial treatment and has never been proven to work. I very much hope that's not the case here, because I'd hate to be feeling this way for nothing.

I'm a little sad, too. I find myself detaching from the pregnancy because I'm afraid it's not going to be viable. I know it's natural, but it still makes me feel bad. I almost wish I could rewind a few days and not know what I do, I was so much happier this past weekend. Thank God He's got control over this situation, and I can trust Him to do what is best.

But so far, so good. No bleeding, no cramping.

It's going to be a long 2 weeks before we see the doctor again. Please keep us in your prayers.


We Need Prayer

Well, the OB called yesterday with the results from my bloodwork, and my progesterone is low. He said it's not too bad, nothing to worry myself over, but he wants me to take progesterone suppositories twice a day.

I like the guy, but I have a distinct feeling that he's soft-pedalling his opinions for my benefit.

I started the hormones last night. Please keep us in your prayers.


Just A Quick Rant...

Yesterday morning Yasar and I trooped down to the Health Clinic for out intake visit. Filled out a ton of paperwork (including one talking about putting your baby up for adoption - that was different). Uh oh, there's a problem. Because we have health insurance, they cannot see me. It's not as if I'd hid this fact, both with Job & Family Services and with the Health Department. We have health insurance, but no maternity. But, because I'm insured, any services would have to be billed through the insurance, await denial, then billed to Medicaid. Which means I'm out of luck when it comes to the clinic.

By that point, I was pretty upset. I'd been spotting from time to time, and experiencing a little cramping. I was looking forward to this visit so I'd be able to get a little reassurance that the baby was fine. So Rita, the nice lady at the clinic, started calling OB's in the area that take the medical card - and she actually got me in to Dr. Cortez yesterday afternoon.

Everything's great. He did an ultrasound, saw a little more blood that will probably be making itself known in the next few days. And he showed me the pulsing of a little, tiny, miraculous heartbeat. What a relief - my risk of miscarriage is so much lower now that a heartbeat has been established.

I'm still a little confused by the way the system works, but I have to thank God for this dilemma. I don't really like the OB that works through the clinic, and I'm falling in love with Dr. Cortez. God really worked this out in the best way.

Oh, and we have the picture posted on our fridge. I'd love to proudly display it, but it's grainy and basicall looks like a bubble with a spot in it. There will be more to come, though, so stay tuned!


7 Weeks

Doesn't this picture just make you want to weep? Or is it just my hormones? My baby finally looks a little like a baby - no more tail! Woo-hoo!

Speaking of hormones, this week at church was embarrassing. I thought I teared up at worship before, but yesterday the pastor had an altar call, and the band was playing some Chris Tomlin, and it was all I could do not to sob all over the place. Poor Yasar, staunchly standing next to me praying for me to keep it together.

This week has been fairly uneventful. The only real food issue has been with Trent's breakfast burrito post, which caused me to run right out to Walmart and pick up some tortillas and turkey sausage. Yasar and Andrew both enjoyed them, too. Score one for the home team! Also, while at Wallyworld, I picked up the newest What to Expect book, which has a bunch more information that the previous one. And we took the time to browse around the baby clothes at Kohl's. (sigh).

Which brings me to my dilemma. Yasar and I have agreed (he more reluctantly so) to wait until delivery to know which flavor we're having. But it's going to be hard, because we're going to be thrift shopping for clothes and other things. I'm not too fond of yellows and greens. Has anyone else gone through this and been successful? Can I count on the Salvation Army to have a decent selection of both boys and girls clothes on short notice? Or should I just suck it up, find out the gender, and outfit accordingly? What are your thoughts?


When Cravings Are Satisfied

Life was so good this morning. For the longest time, I've been having problems sleeping through the night, and today it's obvious why. It appears my body was telling me that I need to start sleeping alone, at least until Yasar gets home from work. Also, a cup of warm chai and a dose of Survivor don't hurt. :)

I also chuckle at some of the weirder things I want to eat. Like a mustard (and a little bit of ham) sandwich for breakfast. Or today, I went straight to Subway after leaving work, just to take advantage of their new All Footlongs $5 deal. Did I want Subway? Not really, I was just thinking how awesome horseradish sauce would taste on a Subway Club extra banana peppers extra pickles. Oh, and Wednesday Yasar took me out to lunch. We ended up at the local Japanese joint, and I couldn't get enough of the pickled ginger (before you panic, we only had California rolls, which are made with imitation crab - or, as my sister puts it, "crab with a K").

And oranges. Mangoes. Salad. I thank God I'm not burdened with cravings that are bad for the baby, and at the same time my waistline. I read somewhere that the diet a mother keeps while pregnant has long reaching effects on her child, possibly determining if the child will have elevated blood pressure by the preteen years. Lots of incentive to keep my foods in check.

The downside? I just got the 6 boxes of Caramel Delights I ordered from the Girl Scouts way back in January, and they don't look the least bit appetizing. D'you think I could sell them on Craigslist?


New Grocery Strategy

I'm still a novice when it comes to grocery shopping using coupons, but (with the help of my girl Brenda) I'm learning quickly. It goes against everything I've ever read about the "How To's" of shopping with coupons, but it seems to be working better, and it definitely employs a more thrilling result.

My first upgrade was my coupon box. Gone is the index card file of old - those are for novices. I went out and bought one of those dollar plastic shoe boxes. And some of those giant index cards, and little Post-It tabs for the dividers. I spent last night setting this up with the different categories, and moved all my coupons into their hip new pad.

Next, it's important to have people. We're so lucky to have a pizza driver at our store who also delivers the newspaper. And who still enjoys pizza. So we hook him up with food, he hooks us up with multiple inserts. Can you say free coupons? Yes! Also, I highly recommend subscribing to the All You magazine, published by Walmart. just glance through one next time you're on a shopping trip and you'll see why - they have loads of great coupons tucked into their pages, easily bypassing the cost of the subscription. It's a great investment!

Brenda's far more hard-core into this than I am, so I'm trying to understand the finer details of how many coupons you can use, watching the bar codes on the coupons, etc. She's teaching me, but I seem to be a slower learner on this front.

So last Sunday, armed with my Meijer insert and my coupon box, I made a game plan. Whatever I bought had to be both on special and have a coupon. Yes, I got some goodies I wouldn't have normally bought, but I also have some friends who eat different types of diets and love to trade with each other. So even if those pizza rolls are likely never going to hit my kid's stomach, I'm sure one of my friends will be happy to trade for something they've got.

I made sure Yasar would be caring for Andrew. It's a big no-no to take kids along. They're like little funnel clouds digging into your wallet, and they totally destroy the mojo.

Take your mp3 player and a bottle of water. Yes, turn it into a pleasure trip. Listen to some great tunes. Stay hydrated. You'll begin to look forward to yor shopping trips.

Use the self checkout. ALL grocery stores screw up prices, and the only way you're going to notice is by taking the time and doing it yourself. Those darn cashiers are just too fast for you to pay attention. Sure, it'll probably be a hassle with your fistful of coupons, but you'll likely encounter less ambivalence from your fellow shoppers, too. Win-win!

In the end, being the novice who's only been cutting coupons for about a month, I still saved close to 50% on my final bill. I bought only one thing without a coupon/discount. I stocked up on a few more boxes of cereal than we can use, so what I can't trade with friends will be heading to the food pantry. Ditto with the toothpaste and extra shampoo. My pantry and freezers are full, and that makes me feel so rich.

What are your tips and hints for saving dough at the store?


6 Weeks

Okay, anybody else disturbed by this picture? This is what's growing in my uterus right now. Kinda reminds me of a bad B-movie plot.

Baby at 6 weeks? Looks more like a crocodile to me. Holding a flesh balloon. For those of you without your sound turned up, I'm gagging right now.

Andrew, however, is endlessly fascinated. He's begged me to borrow every baby development DVD available at the library. For a 5-year-old, he's very well versed on the making, growing, and delivering of babies. I'm expecting the calls from his fellow preschoolers' parents any day now. :)

As of today, I've lost about 8 lbs. Not that I'm overly nauseated or anything (not counting my episode at Lowes this weekend - that wasn't pretty), I'm just focused on eating a healthy diet. And, after eating healthy foods all day, there just doesn't seem to be as much room for anything else. The good news is my issues being hypoglycemic seem to have been put on hold, at least for the time being.

Other pregnancy symptoms? I still can't eat chocolate. Still don't crave coffee. The sisters get sore come the end of the day. And, my favorite? I'm retaining hair! There's a marked difference in the amount that comes out in every shower. Woo-hoo!

I completely love being pregnant. My allergies and suppressed, I have bunches of energy (at least, after my afternoon nap), and I love the feeling that I have a precious, delicious secret. I love looking at Yasar and wondering if this one will come out with his nose, my eyes, my hair texture, yadda yadda. I feel like a woman fulfilled.

Cross fingers for a girl!


Killer Minestrone

I have to thank my good friend, Shari, for turning me on to the ambrosia that is minestrone. Infinitely adaptable, heartwarming, and (of course) better the next day - and the next, and the next....

1 lb bullet spicy italian sausage ($1.99 on sale)
2 tbsp olive oil ($0.25)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce ($0.50) + 2 cans water to rinse out sauce
1 15.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained ($0.50)
1 can green beans, drained ($0.50)
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed ($0.65)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (0.65)
1 can mixed vegetables, drained ($0.50)
3 tbsp Italian seasoning ($0.25)
1 cup small pasta - we used the tiny ditalini and alphabets commonly found in the Mexican section ($0.50)
1 cup heavy cream (optional) ($0.50)
salt & pepper to taste (negligible)
parmesan to top

In a deep pot, fry sausage in olive oil until fully cooked. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, beans, veggies, and Italian seasoning. Simmer until bubbling. Add pasta, cook to al dente. Add in heavy cream and seasonings. Taste and adjust as necessary. Enjoy steaming in a bowl, topped with parmesan.

My son just adored this - what an easy and tasty way for him to get a jump on his daily veggies!

I wish I could tell you how many servings this made. Lets say, for the sake of argument, it's about 12 hearty 2-cup servings. At $0.57 each, it's a great frugal option for a cold winter day. And feel free to experiment and use what veggies you have on hand - this soup is so adaptable, making it the perfect frugal addition to your recipe library!


Letters P and Q

They're sneaking up on me. :)

Dealing With Government Agencies

At 34 years old, I figure I've paid taxes for the last 18 years. I've invested alot of money into the government from which I've yet to see any return. Not that I've ever grumbled about my tax dollars, I think like most people, I just wrote them off as gone, hopefully to a worthy cause. Just another American citizen, paying into the system.

We have health insurance, but adding that maternity rider to it was prohibitively expensive, and didn't really cover much of the prenatal & delivery. Since we just assumed we were destined to be a single-child family, we decided not to add that extra expense to our family budget. So, now that we're pregnant, we needed to explore Medicaid to be able to afford prenatal care.

Oh, the joys of dealing with government workers. Am I just being hormonal and oversensitive, or are they all just the most sour people on the planet? Is everyone who comes to them for assistance dehumanized? How can they stand their jobs, since they truly seem to believe that they are FAR better than the rest of the unwashed masses?

I was talked to as if I have an IQ far below national average. I was belittled, even though I was following the directions I was given at the Health Department (another place to be treated like crap, IMHO), I was ignored. I was almost reduced to tears. And, essentially, I'm paying their salaries to treat me like this. How frustrating!

It's so hard for me to admit I need public assistance. This is a place I never thought I'd be. But I'm here, and I deserve to be treated like a human being, with respect and courtesy. Ad maybe, just maybe, a little sensitivity.

What do you think? Have you ever had the pleasure of going to the unemployment office, or the social security department? Have you noticed a distince lack of customer service chops? Is there anything we can do about this?


Morning Sickness - The New Frontier

Way back when, when I was pregnant with Andrew, I never met a food I didn't like. If it was within arm's reach, it was an endangered species. Don't think I'm exaggerating, from conception to delivery I gained 110 lbs.

Please close your mouth, it's making me feel uncomfortable. And it's not very becoming on you.

So this time around, it's so weird! Chocolate doesn't taste good. Coffee, what I thought would be my hardest habit to break, turns out to be the easiest. I just got back from Walmart, where I was looking for some snack to keep in my car for when I'm out & about, and hungry. Talk about hard! Nothing looked edible. I stood in front of the trail mixes for almost 5 minutes, trying to talk myself into buying one (I left with granola bars).

It's a whole new experience this time around. I came home from dropping Andrew off at school and fell asleep on the couch. The cat is my constant shadow, it's like he knows. There's a few Wilbur buds (the best chocolate in the universe) that have been cooling their heels within arm's reach ALL DAY.

They say every pregnancy's different. Can I be the poster child?
Those who know me best know that my husband and I have been trying to conceive (TTC, for those who've been through it) for almost 4 years. We've tried Clomid (the pill) and Profasi (the shot in me bum), we've taken temperatures and turned sex into a chore, we've weathered on confirmed miscarriage and one unconfirmed.

After four years, we've finally gotten comfortable with having an only child. We'd effectively given up on having another baby. In fact, I'd convinced myself that I really didn't want one, it was just my biological clock ticking. Further, I was sabotaging any conception efforts by NOT losing the weight I was sure I needed to in order to conceive.

Four years of feeling your heart sink when you start your period. Four years of shaking your head at your husband's questioning look. Four years of monthly denial of your God-given duty. Can you wrap your mind around that?

After four years, when the pregnancy test came back positive yesterday, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I'm still numb to it. I'm not sure I know what to think right now.

All I can do is thank God mightily for His blessing, and ask that He protect the life inside me. Because, I think if I miscarry again, I'll go straight off the deep end.

This blog has evolved so many ways and has incorporated so many parts of my life. I'm not sharing this news with the general public, but I felt I couldn't lie to everyone here.

So, there it is. We're expecting!


Pajama Day Class Picture

Andrew's class has been studying night time, and they had a pajama day on last Wednesday. Isn't this picture precious?


Have You Thought About Christmas 2009 Yet?

A good friend mentioned on Facebook yesterday how she was bummed out because she was watching the nightly news. I feel her pain...sometimes I dread checking in on my blogroll, since so much of it seems to be bad news right now. So, instead of moping about the economy and rolling our eyes at the $900 billion that Obama is committing our great-great grandchildren to shoulder, I started doing something about our personal economy.

I'm starting a movement in our family. For Christmas next year, instead of buying gifts for each other, I'm asking everyone to explore their passions and create Christmas gifts. We have so many different talents in our family, from cooking and sewing to photography and crafting, that this year we're going to exploit them and see what we can come up with. I'm so totally stoked about this!

Yesterday my good friend Brenda came over and we worked on stage 1 of the Homemade Christmas. It was a fun time for us to talk, we were working together, and making gifts for both our families. I wish I could tell you more about it, but the recipients check into Mumblings from time to time. But I will say, we're considering making extras to sell and recoup our very small investment.

Which brings me to the only stipulation to Homemade Christmas - the maximum spending limit per person is $5. Just enough to get those creative juices flowing, huh?

What about you? Have you thought about how to handle Christmas next year? Will you be doing anything different than last year? Do you have any great suggestions for homemade gifts that you'd like to share?


His Side/Her Side

All's fair in love and war. Does it seems coincidental that the old adage pairs together the best and the worst feelings we can humanly experience? May I hazard to say it's because they're not so different after all? They often seem to march hand-in-hand.

There's been some whispering going on around us, that what I've feared the most is slowly coming to pass. And, predictably, when I heard the first mutterings, I called my husband and relayed my fears. He misread me, claiming that I was being negative, and got seriously offended.

Maybe we were due for a huge fight. It doesn't make it easier to be in the thick of it. It's been horrible here for the last few days. Life that is marginally bearable on a normal day gets stifling while under this emotional assault. Somehow, this man that I've committed my life to knows every weakness and the best method of exploitation.

So if it seems a bit quiet here, it's because I'm battling the demons fiercely.