Thursday, April 12th, 2012
My midwives are coming over today, to our house, for our big pre-birth home/prenatal visit. This is the visit where they peruse the house and our supplies and make sure we are all ready to go for labor and delivery. I cannot believe that this day is actually here! The impending home birth of our babe is becoming so real. Wow!
Craig and I have been slightly scrambling over the last few weeks to gather all of the supplies and materials we will need to have on hand for our homebirth. These include an inflatable birthing tub, tarp for under said tub, new lead-free, eco-friendly hose to fill the tub, adapter for connecting the hose to the faucet, and air pump. There’s also PVC-free shower curtains for the bed and floors to protect them, food and drink that I will want in labor, a glass or metal bowl for the placenta, flashlight, hand mirror, garbage bags, heating pad, and various sterilization packs I have created of towels, washcloths, and baby clothes… and the list goes on.
Preparing for our homebirth has been such an extraordinary experience. The “work”—both physical and mental is gratifying because I am very much forced to visualize what type of birth I desire. I am claiming my territory and surrounding myself with the energy and supplies I need at home to settle in and focus on the work ahead. And at this stage in my pregnancy, it’s a bit exhausting physically running errands and gathering items on our lists—but so totally worth it.
I spend my days thinking through relaxation techniques, pain management, what rooms I may want to be in while laboring, what I will wear, who will be with me, etc. And I understand that any and all of this is subject to change once I am in the actual moment. I am okay with that. I have such an extraordinary amount of faith in the capacity of my body to show me the way—no matter what happens. My whole pregnancy has really opened my eyes to this unwavering faith and trust in my body, and it has been such a delightful discovery.
And I think all this reading and gathering and visualization is very powerful preparation. Craig and I have been reading voraciously at night—tackling the Bradley method, Hypnobirthing, Birthing from Within, pioneering midwife Ina May Gaskin’s collections of positive birthing stories in her Guide to Childbirth and Spiritual Midwifery, and the list goes on. We’ve rented documentaries and watched online videos of homebirths, water births, and midwives explaining the mechanics of the stages of labor. We’ve been learning about labor positions, labor activities, visualization exercises, and more.
Dare I say I am actually pretty darn excited about the whole event. Don’t get me wrong… I hold no illusions that it won’t be hard work. I recognize that I may indeed doubt my abilities in the thick of it. I understand that circumstances may develop that are beyond my control. But I am confident in my body, Craig’s coaching, and my midwives to champion and support me at each stage.
Soon theory and practice will collide when I go into labor. And with labor will come a wonderful unfolding of self-discovery and growth. It will be here soon enough. I feel a primal sense of embodiment and wisdom burbling deep within my core.
When my body is ready, it will let me know. And until then, I plan to nest away and savor these last days of just me.
Saturday, March 31st, 2012
March is drawing to a close. Wow. I cannot believe how fast time is passing for me right now! I am 33 weeks pregnant. And I still feel really, really good. However, I am starting to slow down a bit. I can’t seem to get all the chores done that I used to without having to stop and rest. My back starts to get sore after a bit. And I have to pee lots and lots. But I suppose that is to be expected. I still love being pregnant. My belly is quite round at this point, and The Bump juts out this way and that making me look lop-sided. She’s still very active in there, but I dare say she’s starting to run out of room.
March has been such a wild month—it started out cold and icky. But then it suddenly got not just warm, but downright stupid hot. Before it was even officially Spring, we had a string of days in the low 80s. In New Hampshire! Just didn’t seem right. Craig and I loved that warm weather though. We even took off for the beach, and I had a blast walking along the sand and cooling my slightly swollen toes in the freezing Atlantic waters.
But that was all a few weeks ago. In that time everything started sprouting outside—there are already trees in bloom here. Croci and daffodils are up. Hyacinths are in full effect. It’s just so strange because it is so early. And yet now it’s back to more seasonably cool Spring weather. Very chilly nights, windy days, clear blue skys, nice sunsets. Today it reached a high of 50°F. That’s more like it. I figure there is plenty of time for it to warm up.
I am in no rush right now. I am doing my best to enjoy these last weeks of “me”. A whole lot is about to change. And I am okay with that. Just going with the flow, taking in the wonder.
Sunday, June 19th, 2011
What a great weekend it has been! The weather absolutely cooperated, and it was just beautiful out. Sunny and breezy. We went for a 25-mile bike ride into Massachusetts to explore the lovely town of Groton yesterday. We hung out with family celebrating Father’s Day today. And we grilled! So thrilled to have the grill clean and working and ready to go on hot days like today.
One of my favorite things to grill is portobello mushrooms. They are healthy and relatively inexpensive, and they make for such a hearty and delicious salad topper. I start by buying organic portobellos and marinating them. My favorite way to marinate them is to lay them gill side up in a pyrex baking dish. Then I combine roughly 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil with 1/2 cup balsamic and rice vinegar and add some herbs I have on hand (oregano, basil, parsley) and pour over the mushrooms.
Then I squirt a little mustard on each mushroom and a dash of soy sauce. Sprinkle with some dried rosemary, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Cover and put in the fridge for a few hours to let all the flavors soak in.
To cook, preheat your grill on high and then use tongs to place mushrooms on the grill, gills up. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes and then flip and grill for another 8–10 minutes. You can baste the mushrooms with any leftover marinade.
Once they are done, place them on top of your favorite spring/summer salad!
Did you grill anything amazing this weekend? I am always looking for ideas.
Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Herbs are a wonderful way to add color and flavor to your meals, but especially in (almost) summer when you can grow your own. We are big fans of having tons of herbs on hand to accentuate every meal. My two favorites are basil and cilantro. We go through TONS! I like to grow cilantro from seed in our raised garden beds because it is so easy to grow right in the soil, and you can plant new seeds all summer long to have a continuous supply of herbs.
As for basil, I tend to favor “starts” which are tiny, ready-to-go plants that most likely begin in a greenhouse. I have spent a lot of time over the years starting herbs from seeds indoors in the late winter and carefully transplanting the seedlings to my garden. But sometimes I just want a hardy, ready-to-go plant. Sometimes it is perfectly okay to want convenience and pay a teensy bit more to have someone else lovingly start the growing for you. Especially if it is organic.
So I bought some basil starts a few weeks back from my favorite local farm stand and potted them in cute pots I had on hand to decorate my front stoop. And they have taken off! Growing big, beautiful, aromatic basil leaves!
I like having potted herbs close by that I can easily water and clip off what I want for salads, sandwiches, stir frys, and more. Basil thrives in semi-shade, too, so you can almost always find a great outside nook to put your pots. Almost anywhere will do. And I love adding color and greenery to the front steps!
Next on my list is to find/acquire a healthy rosemary plant. I want to pot one that I can keep outdoors for summer and then bring inside once the weather gets cold. I am on the hunt!
What are your favorite herbs? Which ones do you tend to use the most?
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Sugar snap peas! Crisp and sweet with a tiny bit of tart and tangy mixed in. One of my very favorite veggies. So versatile. You can eat them as a snack, pod and all. You can chop them up to use in salad. They are the perfect complement to a stir fry. You can bake them, roast them, pop them on a sandwich. The possibilities are endless.
We planted just two rows of seeds in a raised garden bed, placing them about a 1/2″ deep and sowing a seed every few inches or so.
Within days the seedlings emerged, and within a few weeks, we had growing plants!
The key to growing successful sugar snap peas is to trellis them. Sugar snap peas are a viney veggie, and trellising the peas gives the growing plants the support they need. The sugar snap pea plants grow these tendril-like fingers that want to grab hold of a support (or else the plants will grab hold of each other!)
The trellis encourages the sugar snap peas to grow onward and upward. You can buy a trellis at your local garden center or big box store. The taller you can find, the better. And the trellis does not have to be fancy.
To harvest a sugar snap pea, you just twist it at the top until the pod comes off the vine. And as soon as you can pick a handful, a new harvest will be ready in another day or two.
My local supermarket sells sugar snap peas imported from Guatemala for $3.99 a pound. Pretty steep (and carbon footprint heavy!) for such an easy veggie that you can grow organically right at home in a raised bed, in the ground, or in a pot.