Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Pregnancy that keeps on giving: Polyhydramnios

If I believed in such things, I would think that the universe is making sure that my last pregnancy is one not to forget. On top of normal pregnancy issues that pop up towards the end of pregnancy like insomnia, flu like symptoms and braxton hicks, my pregnancy is now handing out a hugely uncomfortable pregnant belly due to high amniotic fluid, or polyhydramnios.

My high amniotic fluid is being caused by my gestational diabetes and my number last week was still in the mild category, 29, so thankfully it's not that severe of a case right now. That being said, my goodness, I look like I swallowed a beach ball. My skin is stretched so far it itches and I'm getting new stretch marks.

On top of that, Baby Girl is measuring large. And by large, I mean she's measuring full term now. A. also measured large but only by 2 weeks, Baby Girl is measuring 4+ weeks ahead. What size she really is, who knows? 

This week brings the now normal routine of biweekly NSTs and BPPs but also gets me one week closer to meeting her. I can't wait :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gestational Diabetes and what I'm actually eating

So I passed my gestational diabetes screening, just barely at 138 so my OB had me do the 3 hour test - which I failed about a month ago. I then met with the diabetes educator and the dietitian who explained what my "rules" would be. Having a personal explanation made it seem easier and really, the "rules" about what to eat and how often make a lot of sense. That being said, it is certainly a different way of eating for me.

My "rules" are:
  • 1 serving of carbs = 15g of carbs
  • No fruit, milk or cold cereal for breakfast
  • Juice is not allowed at any time
  • Avoid foods that are pure sweets (candy, cakes, cookies)

After that, I'm then supposed to aim for the following number of servings for each snack and meal with the following additional rules.

7AM breakfast: 1-2 servings
9AM snack: 1-2 servings ***add protein if eating a starch
12PM lunch: 3 servings
3PM snack: 1-2 servings ***add protein if eating a starch
6PM dinner: 3-4 servings
9PM snack: 1-2 servings ***add protein if eating a starch

The times are approximate but the point is the dietitian said to try and make sure to eat something every 3 hours.

I will be honest and say eating on a schedule has been the hardest part and something I'm still struggling with it. I am nauseous all day, every day, so my strategy up to this point has been to eat when I can, what I can keep down. This usually meant I had a smoothie for breakfast, fruit like apples as snacks, soup with crackers for lunch and dinner. 

The good news? There are many "free" or "low carb" options where as long as I stay in the serving size, I don't have to count the carbs for towards my overall numbers. These include anything not in yellow for the diagram below:

On top of the rules, I check my blood sugar four times a day, when I wake up and then an hour after each meal. My target numbers as 90 for when I first wake up and 140 for each meal.

I have kept very close to the rules, but sadly, had to go on an oral medication, glyburide two weeks ago, with last week it increasing to 2.5mg daily, as diet alone was not keeping my numbers low enough. Since adding in the medication, the diet seems to be working. I am hoping to avoid insulin but of course, I will do whatever needs to be done to keep us both healthy!

Now to what I am actually eating, because as silly as it sounds, thinking of actual meals I can through together quickly was the one thing I spent the most time on with the dietitian. As far as drinks go, I only drink water, up to two cups of coffee without sugar but with sugar free creamer, unsweetened tea and milk. I can't lie, I'm getting pretty sick of water but I know it's important so I drink it like crazy.

Know that I am not the most creative person for meal planning and while these meal ideas are not complete meals, this is the food I am actually eating. I could lie and say I eat a handful of baby carrots or celery with each meal, but yeah, I suck at lying. Mainly everything below is food I can manage to keep down and that involves the least amount of prep time as possible, as I still get dizzy when I'm on my feet for more than 15-20 minutes.

Breakfast: 1-2 carbs *to get to two carbs, I usually just double everything below

Lunch and Dinner: 3 carbs for lunch and 3-4 for dinner

  • 1 serving of fruit (1) + 1 cup Special K Protein Cereal (1) + 1 8oz glass of milk

  • 1 cup of Beef with Veggies and Barley (2) +  23 Mini Saltine Crackers (1)

  • Wrap (crispy chicken (1), spinach, dressing (0) + 1 small tortilla (1)) + 1 fruit (1) 

  • 2 chicken quesadilla (chicken, cheese, 2 small tortilla (2)) + 1/3 cup rice (1)

  • 4 pieces of California Kitchen Thin Crust Pizza (pizza is cut into 12 pieces) (3) 

  •  Smart Ones:

  • Sweet and sour chicken (2) + 1 8oz glass of milk

  • Chicken Santa Fe (1) + 1 small tortilla (1) + 1 serving of fruit (1)

  • Chicken Parmesan (2) + 1 serving of fruit (1)

  •  2 cups chili (2) + sour cream, avocado + 1 serving of tortilla chips (1)

  • 1 cup of cold shrimp and veggies pasta  (3)

  • 3 mini chicken taco cups (3) 

  • Snacks: 1-2 carbs *I add the "freebies" here like cheeses, jerky, nuts and veggies

    And there you have it, that's about all I eat. Mainly if it's a meal I don't make myself (if My Mom is helping or we go to my in-laws) I just try to stay away from the starches and eat the meat and veggies.

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    7 Crock pot freezer meals + Shopping List

    Okay so my bad, I wrote this post a million years ago and forgot about it... opps! It's good timing though, as now that I'm off work for the rest of the pregnancy and we need to be more careful with our money again, it reminded me I should do a large crock pot freezer meals session.

    When The Husband and I were first married, I was going to school as well as working and The Husband was in the Reserves and working. We were busy and made much less money then we do now. I was psychotic about our spending, especially with our food budget. I planned every meal and never bought groceries from any where besides Aldies and without a very specific detailed shopping list. I made many things in the crock pot so that food would be ready whenever one of us was home; mine automatically switches to warm when the timer goes off, I love that feature!

    Since going to work full time with the State, I've gotten lazy, especially with dinner. I try and glance at the sales ads but don't do a great job. We eat out too much and I spend way too much money on groceries that I pick up after work. So I decided to go back to my roots, crock pot freezer meals. We have a small fridge which means a small freezer so I really only have room to freeze 2 weeks worth of meals at a time if I play freezer tetris when the freezer is near empty.

    The first step in making crock pot freezer meals is planning. I took a look at what I had in my cupboards, the sales flyers and a look at recipes I know we will eat. After doing this, I came up my list of 7 freezer crock pot meals.

    With my recipes planned out, I went grocery shopping using the following shopping list. I already had basics like spices and spice mixtures, broth, mustard, sauces like bbq and teriyaki marinade and other pantry staples. Add these to your list if you don't.

    Below is the shopping list for making the 7 meals only, double everything below if you are making 14 meals like I did.

    18 chicken breasts
    64 oz meatballs *I use premade ones but feel free to make your own
    2lbs sausage
    16oz shrimp, raw with shells off
    3 lbs carrots
    1 lb potatoes - any variety
    5 medium sized onions (I don't measure my onions, I just say 1 medium equals 1 cup)
    5 green peppers
    1 small zucchini
    1 small summer squash
    32 oz spinach
    1 head of celery
    1 fresh, cored pineapple *1 16 oz can of pineapple chunks + juice works also
     4 29 oz cans of tomato sauce
    12 whole roma tomatoes
    1 64 oz can of vegetable or V8 juice
    8 oz greek yogurt
    1 8oz package of cream cheese
    16 oz (or 1 pint) heavy whipping cream

    The total cost of my groceries was $116 for 14 meals. Some of the things I bought on sale were chicken for $1.89 a pound, 2lbs of organic carrots for $1, 1lb of potatoes for $1, tri-colored peppers for $1 each, 16oz shrimp for $5.50 and 12 oz chicken sausage for $3.

    I already had on hand the roma tomatoes and tomato sauce (my in-laws went a wee bit crazy during canning seasoning and my cupboards are overflowing with canned tomato in every form plus frozen whole tomatoes, so yay for me!). Adding another $10 for these items and to get to a nice number for each meal, I figured total was $126 or about $9 for each meal. Considering that each meal has at least 6 servings, that makes each serving about $1.50 each.

    The meal extras like rice and other sides I did not include in the costs because depending on what you serve with it, this is going to vary widely for each family. I figure I will still need to pick up between $5-$15 a week for the add on's for my families dinners.

    Once I got everything home, I sat down and labeled all of my ziplock bags. I put the recipe and the directions for the slow cooker as well as any notes about what should be served with the meal. This serves as a reminder for me in the morning to pull out whatever needs to go with it.

    The next part is the biggest time consumer besides the actual grocery shopping and planning. Pealing veggies blows but watching Netflix helps. I used my food processor to speed up the process where I could (carrots, onions, celery and green peppers). I chop all of my veggies the same, slightly chunky, no matter the recipe. It saves time and for crock pot meals, it helps them all cook the same (carrots though are the slowest cookers).

    I didn't keep track of how long it took because honestly, I prepped these all over two days. But I will be honest and say there is no way it only took me 2 or 3 hours like most freezer meal posts say they should take you. They must be more motivated/less ADHD than I am.

    Once all of the veggies were prepped, I put the meat in the bags, added all the veggies and any sauces or spices that will fit. Some people do it veggies, seasoning and then meat on top so when you dump it the meat is on the bottom, I find it makes no real difference. Sometimes not all of the ingredients will fit in the bag, but I have noted that below. I take each bag out the night before and by the morning they are ready to be poured into the crock pot! Sometimes the recipes are more watery or liquidy than I expected so I just leave the lid off the last half an hour to reduce it down.

    These meals are more than enough for dinner for the 3 of us, with lots of left overs for lunches the next day for The Husband and myself*. I planned on doubling each recipe to get to 14 freezer meals.

    *Updated: Ok so when I said this all makes a ton of food, I mean, A TON. Like barely fits in the freezer bags and fills up my huge crockpot to the top, we have 2 nights of dinners and a day of lunches to pack for each of us for work, full. You could very easily split each recipe below into 2 bags, for a total still of 14 bags, using just the list below without doubling it. Because really, you know your family... add less meat, add more, whatever works for you.

    Below are the recipes for a single bag only. Although I doubled each recipe to make 14 bags total, each recipe below is what actually goes in one gallon size freezer bag.

    About freezer bags, I don't know if there is a better, eco-friendly way to store freezer crock pot meals with raw meat, but this is how I store mine. I try not to feel too bad about them because I wash and reuse them as long as I can.

    Ranch chicken

    6 chicken breasts
    2 cups carrots, sliced
    4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1/2 cup onion, diced
    1 cup greek yogurt *sour cream works just as well too
    1 8oz package of cream cheese
    1 packet ranch seasoning
    1 cup powdered parmesan cheese

    Cook on slow for 6 hours.

    Shredded Teriyaki Chicken

    6 chicken breasts
    2 cups carrot, sliced
    1/2 cup onion, diced
    1 cup fresh, cored pineapple, cut into chunks
    3 cups teriyaki marinade
    1 tablespoon minced garlic

    Cook on slow for 6 hours.

    Butter Chicken *this is not at all authentic and very insulting to a former boyfriend from Madras who taught me the real version but is my quick version I've adapted over time cause I'm not 19 anymore with loads of downtime.

    3 tablespoons butter
    3 tablespoons garam masala 
    1 cup onions, diced
    2 29 oz cans of tomato sauce
    8 oz heavy whipping cream
    2 tablespoons honey
    6 chicken breasts

    This is the only slow cooker recipe I don't dump right in; the sauce makes the difference and takes 10 minutes to make. Melt the butter on low in a pot and add in your garam masala; stir the butter and spice mixture until it begins to bubble but not burn. Add the onions and saute them in the butter spice mixture. Add the tomato sauce, heavy whipping cream and honey and mix well. If you are freezing at this step, let the sauce cool completely before adding chicken breasts and then freeze. 

    Cook on slow for 6 hours.


    1lb sausage, sliced
    16oz raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
    29oz tomato sauce
    6 roma tomatoes, diced
    1 cup onion, diced
    1 green pepper, diced
    1 cup celery, diced
    3 cups chicken broth *add this the day
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
    1 tablespoon creole seasoning
    3 bay leaves

    Cook on slow for 6 hours. If you are worried about rubbery shrimp or you are going to cook this on high wait towards the end of the cooking time (we don't seem to mind in our hoyse but you may). If you are going to add rice to this, make the rice right before you eat and add to each bowl. Cooking it in makes gummy and gross.

    Zuppa Toscana

    1lb sausage, sliced
    1 cup onion, diced
    3 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
    16 oz spinach
    5 cups chicken broth *add this the day of as it won't fit in the bag
    8 oz heavy whipping cream
    2 tablespoons minced garlic

    Cook on slow for 6 hours.

    Meatball and Veggie Soup

    32 oz of meatballs *add this the day of as it won't fit in the bag
    6 roma tomatoes, chopped
    2 cups carrots, sliced
    1/2 cup onion, diced
    16 oz spinach
    2 cups green peppers, diced
    1 cup zucchini *this will be mushy and soft, add the last hour if this bugs you
    1 cup summer squash *same here
    1 64 oz can of tomato or V8 juice *add this the day of
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1 tablespoon dried parsley

    Cook on slow for 4 hours. Add all final ingredients the last half an hour if you're opting for that. To change up the leftovers, I will boil rotini pasta separate and add it in at the end, but it's great soup without noodles too.

    BBQ Pineapple Meatballs

    32 oz of meatballs
    1 cup fresh, cored pineapple chunks
    2 green peppers, diced
    1/2 cup onions
    2 cups bbq sauce
    1 cup water

    Cook on slow for 6 hours.

    And there you go! We don't eat all of these in one week, it is a lot of food for us when taking into account the leftovers.

    Thursday, September 5, 2013

    Gestational Diabetes + Glyburide = biweekly NST's and weekly u/s

    Still here. Still pregnant. Today marks the 33th week of pregnancy. Yay!

    My gestational diabetes isn't working out so great, my numbers aren't horrible with the diet alone but they aren't in the ranges my OB would want so she added in the oral medication, glyburide. With the addition of medication, it also means that it is the beginning of my weekly trips to my OB's office for biweekly NST's and weekly u/s (these are biophysical profiles, also known as BPP). She passed with flying colors so far and no indication that we should expect anything else.

    Baby Girl is doing fantastic and that's all that matters :)