Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pregnancy Chronicles, Holiday Traditions

Doctor Appointment

I went to the hospital for my nonstress test last Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. Finally, six hours later, they discharged me. No, I didn't bring any reading material; I thought I'd only be there 90 minutes tops! I ended up having plenty of extra prayer time that day.

The test wasn't reactive enough, meaning that her heart rate wasn't rising with her movements, which also happened last Monday in his office. She takes hour-long naps now, but even while awake and moving, her heart rate wasn't cooperating. My doctor, on call there that day, ordered another biophysical-profile ultrasound as a precaution (checks placenta blood flow, amniotic fluid level, practice breathing, heart rate, among other things). It turned out fine, thank God.

While waiting for the results, I was simply starving, since I hadn't eaten since 6:45 that morning. I finally asserted myself and rang the nurse's call button, despite their obvious busyness. They were sweet, wonderful, and friendly to me; I loved all of the staff. I've had militant labor-ward nurses in my time, so when everyone is sweet, it's such a Godsend. But you know how labor wards are; the word "busy" just doesn't come close to describing it. They took pity on me, anyhow, and ordered me some meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and carrots. Finally, Anna Grace's heart rate begin rising with her movements, as desired. That was nearly two o'clock - six hours after my blood pressure med dose. I definitely will skip it before Monday's nonstress test, and I'll eat a larger breakfast. Lesson learned: Never go to a hospital without food stashed in your purse! You're at their mercy.

On the way back from the hospital, I stopped by Super Walmart and did our Thanksgiving and regular shopping (we already had the turkey, thankfully). Yes, that was big-time bedrest cheating. But a few days prior, I found out through some Internet research that this blood pressure med lowers blood pressure best in the standing position. Why then, put me on bedrest? Who knows! This med is helping my migraines, which is what prompted me to do some research. It is compatible with breastfeeding, as only .0004% of the maternal dose is secreted in the milk. I decided to give it a long-term try for my headaches. I'm on a very low dose, and I will request an even lower dose after labor to see if it's still effective for the migraines.

About ten years ago, I was given a beta blocker (blood pressure med) for my headaches, and after not seeing any change for two months, I quit taking it. I guess I should have requested a different beta blocker; I gave up too quickly. For awhile now, beta blockers have been prescribed as a first-line offense for migraines. They are less dangerous and better tolerated, compared to the stronger migraine drugs. Since I've been pregnant or nursing for 8 years now, I haven't been able to experiment with any other drug. Anyway, this unexpected, positive, drug side effect is so warmly welcomed, and such an answer to prayer!

Back to my grocery trip - we were very low on food, since Hubby hates shopping about as much as dressing kids for the snow. He loves food and can go through the cupboards and always find SOMETHING to eat. He doesn't discriminate; any food makes him happy. Daniel is also like that, but Timmy, Emily and me prefer to have some variety and some favorites always on hand. These last few days it has felt so good to have plenty of food! We were so low that the grocery tab came to $235.00! My husband didn't have the heart to scold me for going shopping. I think he was secretly relieved that he wouldn't have to go himself! LOL :)


Thanksgiving was wonderful. My dad and his wife came for dinner, and the food turned out pretty well. My honey and I are a good Thanksgiving team. While not gourmet cooks by any means, we do make everything from scratch on that day, despite the non-stop work it involves. The only pie we make from scratch is pumpkin, but we would probably do fine with an apple crumb as well. Just don't ask me to do a top/bottom pie crust. I practiced a bit before I was married, and it was never pretty. By the time the last child is at least ten, I will hopefully have time to practice and master a respectable pie.

Daniel loves a feast! Holidays really kick up his ADHD symptoms; he was extremely hyperactive and not able to concentrate enough to eat much, but he did appreciate the look, smell and taste of the feast. Boy, he is his father's son (i.e. food equals pleasure)! Thankfully, they are both blessed with high metabolism. Timothy and Emily ate a whole bunch of turkey, but passed on most of the rest. It's hard not to worry about those two. They don't get enough fruits or veggies, but meats, whole grains and dairy are eaten in sufficient quantity. What did parents do before vitamins? Thank God, too, for bananas and apples and baked potatoes. They both eat those.

Christmas Thoughts

For the last two years, Christmas has undergone a makeover in our little family. While we were never in the habit of spending as much as the average American household, we did manage to provide modest presents for siblings' children, our siblings, and our parents. We also got our own children (who were very young at the time) a few things.

All that is the past. Last year, for the first time, we couldn't buy anything for the extended family, and only got our children two presents each, mostly with money that was sent as gifts. In my heart, I know none of it matters, but my family in particular sees Christmas as a big deal. They love it and go all out with decorations and presents. They were verbally supportive last year when no presents (except homemade) were sent, but I could still tell they were dismayed. No, it wasn't so much that they wanted presents from us. I think it was more that they couldn't relate to our lifestyle. It's not something they would ever chose for themselves. After all, I have a teaching credential, and in their view, I could get a job (although teaching jobs are extremely scarce here).

It may be like this for some time, so I am praying that my family adjusts to our situation and begins to take it in stride. My sister and brother and I made an agreement about three years ago to only get each other's kids Christmas presents; that has helped a great deal with some of the pressure. Last year we made homemade gifts for each other's kids, but this year we may do a dollar-store gift exchange so the kids can pick something out for their cousins.

Even though Christ was born in the fall season, and the actual Christmas holiday was fashioned by the early Church from a few pagan traditions, we can't escape the fact that our kids live in THIS culture. We can't and shouldn't shield them from the entire Christmas tradition, despite its questionable origins. I want them to experience the richness of family tradition, family closeness, and seasonal joy. So, as I think and pray about it, I want to make the baking, craft creating, and cooking a bigger part of the season. Those traditions are less material, but still full of warmth, joy, togetherness. And, practiced consistently and as calmly as possible (LOL), they will produce valuable, lasting memories. We will do a Jesus birthday cake every year and continue to make church a big part of our celebrations. The boys are going to be in a Christmas production this year through our church. They will both be sheep and are super excited! I am a bit less excited, as I contemplate getting them there at 9 a.m. with a roughly eleven-day-old baby in tow. Don's Sunday position at his school will be in effect until shortly after Christmas. The church group he is serving there will not have their church building finished until the end of December. Anyway, regarding the children's play - I'm trying to be enthusiastic for the boys' sakes. My dad is not very reliable before 10:00 a.m., but I might enlist his help anyway.

Can any of you suggest a Christian book that provides ideas for making the Christmas season more meaningful, and less commercial, for children? I'd love the title, if you have the time to leave a note about it. Thank you!

Today I downloaded basic recipes for Gingerbread Men and for sugar cookies. Last year we managed the cookies with only a couple of small PlayDoh rolling pins. It was comical, to say the least. When we first moved here, Timothy was 20 months old and I caught him playing with our rolling pin one day as I was unpacking a few things. First, it was innocent; he was rolling it around with delight. Later, it looked like he was going to playfully clobber big brother with it. I remember taking it away as a precaution and putting it up in a "safe place". I hate to admit it, but I have since never found that "safe place". This year, needless to say, we have to break down and get another rolling pin, to accommodate our "calm" Christmas baking traditions. With Daniel about as high as a kite this time of year, I don't know how close we'll get to calmness. We'll give it our best shot though. Maybe if I take pictures of their smiling faces while we go about our activities, they'll remember the traditions and the togetherness, and not the hair-raising chaos that accompanied them. Maybe. :)

Lastly, I wanted to share this recipe for holiday yams. For me, holiday meals are all about the yams! Love them!

I combined a few recipes to accommodate what we had on hand. This is what I came up with. Very tasty.

Holiday Yams


6 medium-large yams (Cut in half, then boil, drain, cool. Peel and slice smaller)
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. brown sugar ( or 1/4 c., if you prefer less sweetness)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Topping - marshmallows

Combine all ingredients using electric mixer. Arrange in baking dish, sprinkle with marshmallows. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

1 comment:

Evenspor said...

It is amazing that your blood pressure has turned out to be, in a way, a blessing by giving you a medication possibility for your migraines.