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Just ten days until my due date, and I can proudly say we have completed the transformation of the former guest bedroom (think beige, dark, and dingy) into a lovely space for baby Cassidy.
For the most part, I'm focusing on enjoying my last couple months of being a mommy to only one kiddo. Grandma Beth stayed with Sophia while Stephen and I went to the baby-viewing appointment on Tuesday morning. Here are a few 20-week pictures of our little Cassidy (with a very verbal 2 year old at home, there's no way to keep the name a secret this time around).
Today I received an email from a woman who is on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) after having had a small bowel resection last year.
If your OB wants you to do a screen for diabetes, don't let the lab give you glucose syrup (sugar water).
Something I haven't done yet but plan to do: in the last month before your due date, bake a ton of almond flour goodies (if you can tolerate them) and some SCD-legal meals and freeze them. I can't even begin to express how happy I am that I'm on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and that it's working so well for me.
Recently, I met with a nutritionist about the SCD, to make certain I was getting the right nutrients for myself and the baby.
The oddest thing about this pregnancy is that since my initial puke-fest on the eve before I found out the good news, I haven't felt nauseated much at all. A friend who recently had a baby loaned me all her maternity clothes (bless her), and I'm already finding use for them. At the beginning of the year when my Crohn's Disease was really bad, we were thinking about baby number two but were worried about a high-risk pregnancy.
My body must be in a really healthy place, because the first month we tried, "Voila!" We weren't expecting it to happen so quickly, as it took five months to conceive Sophia. Back in high school, when the specialist took a tissue sample of a never-closing fissure that was, quite literally, a pain in the butt, he determined that I had a condition called Crohn's Disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. 6MP, a class D drug, has not been tested enough to know if it's safe for pregnancy or breast feeding.
So, here I was, feeling confused and stressed and hopeless, and now my gut was acting up even while I was on the 6MP.
A few web searches later, I'd found hundreds of glowing reviews written by people with health issues like mine.
The idea behind the SCD is that the gut is easily able to digest mono-saccharides, so people with intestinal issues should stick with simple carbs. I have faith that I will be able to enjoy a medication-free, healthy pregnancy if I stay on the SCD. Thirty-eight weeks ago (after about 5 months of trying) most of my time was consumed with wishing I were pregnant, and of course searching for telltale signs.
Thirty-eight weeks later, my thoughts have turned to a quandary even more elusive: "OH MY GOD, WHEN WILL WE HAVE THIS BABY???" I know there isn't a way to predict the moment, but I still find myself spending hours doing Google searches like, "How contractions feel," "Labor signs," "Dilation, effacement, dropping," and all sorts of special word combinations that could pull up an article or forum post to clue me in on some exciting tidbit that might pertain to me. It all started about a week ago, when, in a moment of feverish inspiration, Stephen and I decided it was time to delete all un-used, un-needed, and un-important furniture, appliances, gadgets, etc. Baby Thought #2: We've got this inkling that being new parents will be just a tad bit stressful. I've heard that this instinct to clean and prepare for the little one is called "Nesting." A mere month ago, I scoffed at the notion. Ragazzi makes some great cribs, but if you buy one be forewarned of the assembly instructions. If they had, they would have realized that Long Flat Head Lag Bolts of 60mm and Short Flat Head Lad Bolts of 50mm can't both be part "P".
So, the baby room is actually starting to LOOK like a baby room (OMG, there is going to be a baby in here!). It may have been the Karma or it may have been that soon-to-be grandma Beth's handmade vintage baby dresses just HAD to be put to use, but whatever the cause may be, we've got a GIRL! All the baby parts checked out and are developing properly, which I didn't even think about worrying about until the technician was measuring the fold on the back of the skull to check for downs syndrome.
So, we have one cute little thing in the green room, and it's a tiny rocking chair that I loved as a child, and that I still love, and that I hope our children will love too. After a long hard night of rehashing through green paint chip samples, I decided it would be a good idea to find some paint that matched the color of my light green tank top, which I love dearly. My twelve-week prenatal exam was today at 3:20PM with Cheryl Bachman, Certified Nurse Midwife. Once a professional dancer, Tracy Anderson has become a fitness trainer to a number of stars that include Gwyneth Paltrow [1], Shakira, Nicole Richie, Molly Sims, Courtney Cox, and Madonna. Tracy points out that many exercise programs tend to build larger muscle groups such as the hamstrings and biceps which ultimately tend to build bulk so her exercise program focuses on smaller accessory muscles to build a lean and long appearance providing for the overall look of a dancer.
The Tracy Anderson meal plan is oriented around maximum fat burning and redesigning muscle structure. Each of the meals contains large amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, along with lean protein sources.
Nevertheless, Tracy Anderson suggests that you follow the guidelines closely to provide the best results.
To some extent, the Tracy Anderson meal plan is limited in scope but certainly has merit for the short-term [3]. All kinds of fruit and nonstarchy vegetables are allowed along with lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken, eggs, salmon, and shrimp. Tracy also suggests that it is best to stay away from alcohol and coffee (caffeine) and make sure you drink plenty of water. A typical day in Tracy Anderson's diet menu provides for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. The underlying basis for the Tracy Anderson Diet plan is of course fitness and she combines her own muscle-toning regime along with cardio exercises.
On the downside of things, the Tracy Anderson diet plan, has a limited choice of foods which means the menu can become monotonous very quickly. This diet plan is meant for individuals who can sustain intense workouts and are seriously motivated. Tracy Anderson developed The Pregnancy Project when she was pregnant with her second child.
6 weeks after you give birth to your baby, the Post-Pregnancy Workout Series is there to guide you rebuild your strength, stamina, and overall wellness. We had tackled the paint project a few weeks ago, but there have been a number of to-do's looming over us.
Now we can paint the spare bedroom pink (or at least that's Sophia's vote) and re-use all of Sophia's very girly baby paraphernalia.

When I returned home with the genderific news, Sophia seemed very excited about having a baby sister. She is now in remission from Crohn's Disease, and although her doctor proclaims it's because of the surgery, she says my story gives her hope that this diet is a key to recovery. And I have lots of hope that the SCD will get me through any postnatal hormonal fluctuations.
I've had a cold over the past week and my gut didn't act up at all—I'm usually a mess whenever my immune system kicks in, since it starts to work overtime on my gut too. She was 7 weeks along, had started bleeding and cramping, and in a matter of days it was over.
After reviewing my food diary, she agreed that this was a great diet, especially since I'm feeling so good. And it was quite a relief when last week's early ultrasound showed just ONE tiny bean with a beating heart.
After three months of success with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and feeling great without any scary medications, we decided to go for it.
But my gastro doctor advised against it, feeling that the risk of a flare while pregnant was worse than the potential risks of staying on the medicine. My wise mother suggested I call her friend who has been living with Crohn's for many years and has five kids. And there were many Internet support groups and forums for the SCD and even a website based on the book.
Stop bombarding the gut with extra sugars and starches, and healing will be able to take place. It's very empowering to find that I can control and possibly cure my illness simply by being careful about what I put into my body.
Or maybe it's because soon-to-be parents start to realize just how little time and energy they'll have for things like mopping the floor once Baby arrives. The first go-around back at 19 weeks revealed not only a sweet baby girl, but also a low-ish placenta, which isn't a good thing to see. We set up a small desk and the old computer in here after we were done painting, so now I have a cute little green office all of my own. Now that we have this cute little green room we need to find cute little things to fill it. It goes like this: We picked out about 40 different green paint chip samples from the local paint shop, and after much deliberation, we picked the one we liked best. Stephen agreed to this seemingly sensible notion, and the next morning we rushed out to the paint store and bought two gallons of Wales Green, which matched my shirt to the tee. If you're in the mood for seafood, orange glazed salmon with roasted mushrooms is a nice treat for dinner. She notes that you may feel somewhat uncomfortable and perhaps sore, nevertheless, you need to stick with it for fast results. More often than not, these individuals are looking for a quick fix because they need to get in shape for some particular event in the near future.
But as the mother, you also have to take care of your health and fitness even in pregnancy.
The labor was a little longer and more difficult than with Sophia, but everything went extremely well and Amy had very minimal tearing this time. I don't want to overdo it though, since it might make for an even harder adjustment when Cassidy arrives. As Stephen replied to the ultrasound technician when she asked if we had any final questions: "No questions.
It's scary to think about starting a family when you don't know if you'll be feeling good or stuck in the ER. This week I have much more energy, much less need to urinate every 5 seconds, and much relief that I'm supposedly in the safe zone now.
We had a long talk on the phone shortly after it occurred, and I was happy to be there for her, feeling a little guilty and a lot relieved that I'd had no problems so far. But compared to the constant pain of Crohn's Disease that I experienced before the diet, a "yucky gut day" here and there is nothing.
She said that the almond flour baked goods have a similar makeup to regular wheat flour baked goods, including vitamins, fiber, protein, and calories. I would gag every time I went to the grocery store, with all those foody smells magnified about 5 billion percent. Which wouldn't have worried me, except for the dreams I'd been having ALL WEEK about giving birth to twins.
This was highly inconvenient, since I was employed as a secretary and couldn't leave my station unless I bugged my busy manager to cover the phones.
After a month of dairy avoidance and an inconclusive food diary, feeling clueless and helpless, I made an appointment with a gastroenterologist at the University of Michigan. It turned out to be a good pregnancy, but I started feeling sick six months after Sophia was born.
This lovely, helpful woman told me about a diet she'd been following called The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) based on the book, "Breaking The Vicious Cycle" by Elaine Gottschall. I immediately bought the book and a yogurt maker (a key for the diet), and I started eating very differently than ever before. There is the potential to re-introduce forbidden foods after having been symptom free for a year or so. Thanks to Stephen for taking some great pictures, and thanks to Button for posing so nicely. I think my boobs are a little sore (or is that because I keep poking at them to see if they are sore?).
After a long weekend of inventory and a few discrepancies over the definitions of "broken," "tacky," and "antique," our list of obsolete items had grown to a livingroom-full.
I must admit, I have always been a bit of a neat freak, but it's really much worse in my present state.
Or maybe it's just that I'm a little bit neurotic, and the hormones are bringing out the true crazy in me. A 28-week scan was scheduled to take another look, in hopes that the placenta would migrate northward.
So, the day before painting day, I happened to show the color sample to my artsy friend Johnny, and he said it was the exact same color that he painted his hallway--and then repainted when he found out he hated the color.
But once we had painted the first coat, we started noticing how utterly florescent it looked. She discusses how her method will help you to obtain a dancer's body in as little as a month.

These exercises must be done daily for anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes and depending on your initial fitness level. But all of a sudden my belly is a lot bigger, kicks are much stronger, aches & pains are ever increasing—it's starting to hit me. I do find that some days I'm too tired to stand in the kitchen and cook a made-from-scratch meal, as this diet typically requires. There is a balance between the role of playmate and letting her do her own thing (which she's getting better at). Although later in the day, she cried out, "I wanted a brother!" So, I think there are some mixed feelings about this baby thing, as to be expected. I've been on the SCD since February 2007 (and off my 6MP medication since March), so that makes 5 months of no grains, sugars, starches, or any other typical ingredients and fillers in most ready-made, store- or restaurant-bought foods.
And if I were a superstitious person, I'd say the double-yolked egg we cracked for breakfast would've been a scary sign. So, I'd wait as long as I could, sitting uncomfortably at my desk, trying to hide the pain. I desperately wanted to continue breast feeding, so I told myself I could make it until Sophia was one year old. I think he could sense my hesitancy because he suggested I try a half dose for a while to see how it felt. After hearing this woman's story about her horrible dealings with the disease and intestinal surgery, and how she turned her life around with the SCD, I knew I had to give it a try. In the past, I'd always had at least one grain with every meal, and this diet didn't allow for ANY grains.
I've been strictly following this plan since February 5, 2007, and I'm feeling really, amazingly great! We called the Ann Arbor ReUse Center, and these two perky twenty-somethings showed up to haul away our stuff (they were WONDERFUL; they took EVERYTHING). Last week, as I bent down to wipe up a spill on the kitchen floor, I happened to notice the total griminess of the baseboards. A co-worker who'd had a similar scenario with her first pregnancy suggested that I "visualize the placenta moving up." So, I tried it out, and maybe it helped because yesterday we got the good news. It feels good to spend time in here--so, yes, Stephen, setting up the computer desk was a good idea after all.
He even had some paint left over, and just looking at the paint drips on the outside of the can confirmed that we hated it too. Hence, lots more frustration (of course there was absolutely no arguing or blame over who picked out the paint color based on their favorite tank top). A month ago, when we set up the appointment, Cheryl told us that we would listen for the heartbeat at twelve weeks. Luckily Stephen and Sophia like fried egg sandwiches and tomato soup, so I've always got an easy fallback. Right before her first birthday, I scheduled an emergency appointment with my gastro doctor. After the second coat and after painting over the old purple trim with a nice creamy white, the walls looked sooooo much less florescent, and actually very sweet. I know, I know, I know - we've been really excited about things before, but this time we are reeeaally ridiculously good and excited looking! It also features advices, reviews, and testimonials from doctors, mothers, and health care experts. Also, I'm learning how to break up the meal-making process into smaller chunks, like cutting up fruits and veggies earlier in the day or assembling a casserole in the morning and baking it in the afternoon. I am sure it's simply pre-baby worries manifesting in a disease state that is possible for mother or baby.
He said that my intestine was very narrowed with inflammation and that if it had gotten much worse, I may have needed surgery. So, in came the stronger artillery—6MP, an immunosuppressant drug to help the body stop fighting itself. And in the meantime, I'd gotten a second opinion from a high-risk maternal-fetal medicine OB. No soy, grains, sugar, starches or many other additives that are found in pre-packaged, processed foods. Dirty places I had never even noticed before I was pregnant were suddenly screaming out to be purified.
I'm sorry that I get all panicky over the weirdest things, like setting up a desk when we know we'll have to move it a few months later. I made wheat flour, chocolate chip waffles for Stephen and Sophia on Father's Day, and I didn't feel any sense of jealousy or resentment.
He put me on two medications: Prednisone, which was a steroid designed to reduce inflammation, and a maintenance drug called Pentasa. That night, as we sat in our clutter-free living room, with our clutter-free basement beneath us and our clutter-free attic above us, we started to ponder WHY, at this moment in time, it seemed so important to clear our lives of the unnecessary.
And every day since, I simply haven't been able to resist the urge to sweep up any crumbs I can see (believe me, I can see them ALL). Your Dad and I were amazed by your little moving mouth and your tiny eyelids blinking back at us.
The technician also got a great shot of the baby's hand by her face and a picture of the face looking straight on (have you clicked on the image yet?
I ate my own breakfast of home made yogurt, an apple pancake, and a banana, loving every bite—knowing that it wouldn't make me feel sick. When will I get to meet her?" I've even pulled out my dusty pregnancy books, thinking it would be wise to bone up on the birth process and such.
I'm finding that I have to take shorter walks (especially if pushing 50+ lbs of stroller and Sophia) and swims. Plus, I believe my body was in detox mode for the first week, since I felt really tired and spacy, but I did notice less bloating and gas right away.
I don't remember needing to take it easy so often when I was pregnant with Sophia, but then again, I wasn't chasing after a toddler back then. There are more and more days where I don't think about my gut at all, where I feel like a person instead of a disease. At least the spare bedroom is free of extra furniture, so we can start repainting it when we have a chance—in the next 6 weeks, I hope!

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