Belly Bump Update (weeks 33 to 36)

33wkbump 34wkbump 35wkbump 36wkbump

This was a month full of fun!  As you can see from the photos, the belly is growing double-time!  By week 36, my belly is beginning to drop.  Getting closer!

At 33 weeks, we had another growth scan.  Our little Aidan was FINALLY ready to show us his profile.  Little stinker!  First, he showed us his cute little nose and his lips…

33wkultra2

And here is his handsome profile.  If you look closely, you can see that he has his little nose pressed up against the membrane that separates him from Nadia.

33wkultra1

And, yes, our little ones are still breech, and are still sitting with their heads together.  My goodness, they like to conspire!

33wkultra3

Babies were estimated to be 4.0 lbs (Aidan) and 3.6 lbs (Nadia).

We started going in for Nonstress Tests (NSTs) this month at 32 weeks.  Every week, we went in to the hospital and 3 monitors were placed on my belly.  One for Aidan’s heartbeat, one for Nadia’s heartbeat, and one to check for contractions.

Our first couple of weeks went very well.  They are looking for the babies’ heartbeats to accelerate at least 15 beats for 15 seconds.  Both babies passed with flying colors weeks 33 through 34…

Then week 35 happened.  Nadia quit behaving.  She didn’t want to accelerate no matter what they did to her.  When babies are not quite responding to Mom nudging them from the outside, the nurse brings in a little instrument that buzzes them.  She didn’t want to wake up for that, either!  Luckily, she barely passed.  My doctor decided to increase the frequency of the NSTs, so then we went in every 3-4 days.

The next NST, Nadia FAILED.  Our one hour appointment turned into a 5 hour hospital visit.  We were taken down to Ultrasound and a Biophysical Profile (BPP) was performed.  Each baby had 30 minutes to practice breathing 3 times, make 3 tonal (flexing) movements, and 2 gross (big) movements.  Both babies passed this test.

A few days later, Nadia failed again.  The doctor ordered a high level ultrasound at 36 weeks to try and determine what was going on.  In this ultrasound, they did the BPP again, measured bloodflow, and took growth measurements.  Aidan was estimated to be 5.1 lbs, but Nadia was only estimated to be 4.1 lbs.  The scans also showed that the bloodflow from her placenta was restricted.  We continued testing every few days, and the doctor put me on orders to only work from home so I was closer to the hospital if I noticed the kiddos weren’t moving as much.  I was also told to be prepared in case we had to do an emergency delivery to get Nadia out.

Thankfully, working from home seemed to do the trick!  With less stress, Nadia began to perk up and is now passing her NSTs.  She doesn’t have a lot of belly fat, so we have to be prepared for her to spend a little time in the NICU while her body learns to regulate blood sugars and temperature.

Most twins are born between weeks 33 and 35.  Here we are at 36+ and still cooking!  My doctor scheduled a C-Section for us on Thursday, March 20th, when I am 38 weeks.  That’s the plan as long as babies don’t decide to come before then!  We are praying they are a bit more patient, and that Miss Nadia decides to pack on some baby fat between now and then. :)

Veggie Cream Cheese

VegCreamCheese

One of my very favorite things is going to a bagel shop and ordering a sesame bagel with veggie cream cheese.  The veggie cream cheese tastes different from the stuff in the dairy section at the store.  It tastes BETTER!

I didn’t feel like driving to the nearest bagel shop- its over half an hour away. So, I decided to make my own.  It was pretty easy!  Plus, it can be customized to fit your tastes.  Don’t like red bell peppers?  Leave them out!  Addicted to kale?  Throw some in there!  Whatever floats your boat!

And when you’re done making this cream cheese, you can slather it on toast, toasted bagels, crackers, celery sticks, etc.  YUM!  And the breakfast BLTs made with this stuff are AWESOME!  I use this cream cheese instead of mayo, then pile the bacon, lettuce and tomato on my toasted bagel.

I couldn’t find sesame bagels at the store that would work with my ‘lower carbs’ diet, but I did find the Thomas Bagel Thins in the Everything flavor.  They’re pretty good- especially with freshly made veggie cream cheese.

Seriously- go make some!!

Veggie Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced scallion
  • 2 Tbsp minced celery
  • 3 Tbsp minced carrots
  • 2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
  1. Bring cream cheese to room temp.  Whip slightly in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add garlic and veggies.  Stir well.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavors ‘meld’ before using.
  4. Keep in fridge- should last a week or two in a tight lidded container.  Enjoy!!

Lemon Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

LGHVinaigrette

This tangy dressing reminds me of Spring.  I know Spring is right around the corner, but all of this fog we’ve been having lately has been a little discouraging.  I can’t wait to see the daffodills begin to grow.  Heck, I’d settle for a full day of sunshine!

Until then, lets just make a little sunshine in a bottle.  Something tangy, lemony, and herby.  Or is that Herbie?  No, wait.  Herbie is a car…

This dressing will keep a couple of weeks in the fridge.  I like to bring it to room temp before tossing with greens to make sure the olive oil is no longer solid.  And this dressing with a bit of blue cheese is heavenly– almost like Buddy’s salad dressing.  Almost…

Here’s hoping Spring comes soon!  :D

Lemon Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Place olive oil and garlic in a microwave-safe container.  Microwave on high about 30 seconds.  This will help to mellow the garlic a bit so it’s not as harsh as raw garlic.  Let cool.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil/garlic mixture while whisking constantly.  Continue whisking until dressing thickens slightly and is well combined.
  3. Store leftover dressing in a jar with a tight lid in the fridge.

 

Belly Bump Update (Weeks 29-32)

29wkbump30wkbump

31wkbump32wkbump

Wow!  What a month!  Early in the month, I was diagnosed with anemia and gestational diabetes.  Thank goodness both conditions can be controlled easily.  For the anemia, I’m taking an iron pill twice a day (with Vitamin C to help the iron absorb).  For the gestational diabetes, I closely monitor what I eat, and check my blood sugar 4 times a day.  So far, I’ve been able to keep both under control.  Thank goodness!

We had another ultrasound at 29 weeks.  Babies are growing right on track- as if there were only one baby in there.  Aidan was 2.8 lbs and Nadia was 2.5 lbs.  It’s normal for boys to be slightly larger than girls, and both are within the normal range for growth.  Keep growing, babies!!

29wkUltra

Aidan was still breech at the time of the ultrasound.  We’ll check again at 33 weeks, but if he doesn’t turn, it’s an automatic c-section.  At first, the thought of having a c-section TERRIFIED ME, but now that I’ve had some time to do some research, I’m feeling a bit better about it.

Nadia has decided her optimum time to do somersaults is 3:30am to 4am.  She wakes me up- when she does flips like that, my tummy looks like the scene in Alien just before the alien pops out of the guy’s stomach!  It takes my breath away when she stretches my stomach like that.  Silly girl!

While Nadia likes to do acrobatics, Aidan likes to get the hiccups.  He gets them almost every day, and I feel a rhythmic tugging very low and toward my back.  It’s hard to describe because I can’t feel it from the outside, just on the inside.  Ha!

We started weekly doctor visits at 31 weeks, and weekly Nonstress Tests at 32 weeks.  Nonstress Tests are interesting.  I have to go to the hospital, lay on a bed, and have two belts hooked up- one for each baby.  One belt monitors Aidan’s heart rate, and the other monitors Nadia’s heart rate and me (looking for contractions).  Our first test, the nurse hooked up the belts, started recording, and began entering my information into the computer while the machine was recording.  Aidan was trying to buck the belt off!  Goodness, those were some strong kicks.  By the time the nurse was done entering the info, she said Aidan had passed the test!  But the monitoring still had to go for the full 20 minutes.  Both babies did great, meaning that they are healthy and active.  This test also helps to make sure the placentas are still functioning properly, and babies are feeling good.

The doctor says I can go into labor any time after 33 weeks, based on statistics.  I’m hoping to hold on to these precious babies and keep them baking until at least week 37, when they will be considered full-term.  I’m SO EXCITED to meet them, but I can wait!  :)

Bacon Mushroom Green Beans

BaconGB

Maybe these should be called “Manly Green Beans”.  You know, because they have bacon.  And Mushrooms.  And that’s manly food, right?  Because somehow, somewhere, SOMEONE decided lady food should be all pretty and dainty and non-messy.  So glad I don’t have to limit my diet to tea sandwiches and tiny little fruits on skewers.  Sure, those things are good once in a while, but they’re not Bacon Mushroom Green Beans good.

I got the idea for these from a certain BBQ restaurant.  I like their green beans, which had bits of bacon and a little onion in them, but they were always swimming in broth.  I prefer my veggies not to swim unless they are in soup.  :)

I devoured these beans.  This recipe makes a lot– I ate them all week!  And I took the container to work so I wouldn’t have to share.  Shhh!

Bacon Mushroom Green Beans

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 16 oz. bag frozen steam-in-the-bag Green Beans
  • 8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 shallot, sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  1. In a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove from skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.  Set aside.
  2. Place green beans in microwave and cook according to package directions.  I think mine took about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour out all but 1 Tbsp bacon grease from the skillet.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft and cooked through.
  4. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and cook to reduce by half, about 3 minutes.
  5. Drain green beans (if needed), then add to skillet.  Stir well to mix mushrooms and shallots with green beans.  Crumble bacon on top.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

Try not to eat the whole pan by yourself.  Unless you’re really hungry. Or it’s Monday.  ;)

Zucchini Breakfast Puff

zuccPuff

So, I have to go on a temporary low-carb diet.  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes– twins can put a lot of stress on their mama’s body!  I’m usually fine with snacks, lunch and dinner, but breakfast has been a bit of a challenge.

Luna bars have become my new best friend for busy mornings.  They taste great, and are low-glycemic– but I still have to balance them with a little more protein like a hard boiled egg or stick of cheese.

Scrambled eggs are off the table for now.  It’s a pregnancy thing- not that there’s anything wrong with scrambled eggs.  I like quiche, but it takes too darn long to make.  Plus, it can be too eggy sometimes.

Then I ran across this recipe in the latest issue of Taste of Home (you need to be a member of Taste of Home to open the link).  This was perfect!  I could bake it up on the weekend, slice into 6 servings, wrap each serving, and freeze a few.  A thawed piece only takes 45 seconds to heat in the microwave.  It’s low enough in carbs for breakfast, high enough in protein to balance the carbs out, and it has lots of veggies.  Veggies for breakfast!  That’s the kind of thing that makes you feel all healthy and stuff.

There was one problem when I made the recipe as directed.  It was… blah.  Very blah.  No flavor kind of blah.  So, I made a few modifications, and came up with some variations to try over the next few weeks.

My modifications included adding seasoning (garlic salt), and using two types of cheese instead of 1.  Viola!  Flavor!

Do you feel all healthy and stuff when you eat veggies at breakfast?

Zucchini Breakfast Puff

  • 3 large eggs (I used the kind with omega-3)
  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
  • 1 lb zucchini, shredded (about 3 small)
  • 1 cup reduced fat baking/biscuit mix (heart smart Bisquick)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 10″ oven proof skillet with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs.  Slowly whisk in the oil to the eggs.  Once fully combined and thickened, add zucchini, baking mix, cheeses, and garlic salt.  Stir well.
  3. Pour batter into prepared skillet, smoothing the top.
  4. Bake 25 minutes, or until puffed, golden, and the center is set.
  5. Let cool about 15 minutes.  Loosen the edges of the puff from the skillet and slide onto a large plate.
  6. Cut into 6 pieces and serve warm.

This recipe stores well- just wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.  Thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then just unwrap, place on a plate, and heat in the microwave on high for 45 seconds.  DIG IN!

Variations:

  • Broccoli Cheddar Breakfast Puff: Replace Zucchini with broccoli (thaw a bag of frozen broccoli and chop it up into small pieces), use all sharp cheddar cheese.  You could also add some HAM if you have it.
  • Italian Zucchini Breakfast Puff: Add 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, and 1/4 tsp dried basil.  Replace cheddar with mozzarella.
  • Bacon-Spinach-Artichoke Breakfast Puff: Omit Zucchini.  Use a small box of frozen spinach (thawed, and wrung out in a towel to get rid of excess moisture), 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped fine, and 1/3 cup bacon bits.  YUM!

Moist Banana Bread

bananabread

I really need to stop buying BUNCHES of bananas.  I always end up with at least 2 that are far past their prime for eating.   And what’s better than Banana Bread to make with super ripe bananas?

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  One small problem.  I didn’t have any sour cream or nuts.  That’s ok!  I did have a container of mango pineapple yogurt and mini chocolate chips.  I wasn’t 100% sure they would work, but I decided it was better to try than to make a trip to the store.

The bread came out beautifully, and has stayed moist over several days.  I like mine sliced thick with butter.  Mmmm, butter….

Do you remember the series Dead Like Me?  It was fun little show to watch.  I especially LOVED that the mother HATED the word ‘moist’ because it sounds ‘so dirty’.  HA HA!  Well, she would love my dirty banana bread…

Moist Banana Bread

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temp (plus more for pan)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
  • 6 oz. yogurt, any flavor (lowfat, NOT fat free)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9″ loaf pan generously.
  2. In a standing mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on low.  Add eggs and beat well.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to mixer and blend on low just until combined.
  4. Using the same medium bowl, mash bananas.  Add yogurt and vanilla and mix well.  Pour into the mixer bowl and stir well.  Add semisweet chocolate chips, and stir until well combined.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
  6. Bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Let rest in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cool (or at least mostly cool), slice and eat– with BUTTER!