Tuesday, October 19, 2010

35 and a bit weeks update

I know, I know, long time no post.
I am 35 and a half weeks pregnant, which apparently means sometime in the next month or so, I am going to have a baby. Uh huh. Today we bought our first baby thing - a pram for home (we are going to have a big solid home pram and a little car pram). It's funny because it seems too soon to be buying stuff and yet with the other two we were (more or less) completely sorted by this stage.

Mostly my brain has been tied up with the gestational diabetes. I am on a steep learning curve and rapidly getting better at it. My levels started climbing, so I have been diligent with my eating and my exercise. I've had to cut out rice and pasta, which is quite complicated when you need a carb serve every meal. But no matter how far I walk or how much I bounce around on my fitball my levels just seemed to climb too close to the cut off mark (my blood sugar needs to be under 5.5 in the mornings and under 6.5 two hours after eating). So I have started experimenting with other carbs: quinoa, burghul, barley and of course there is the good old lentil (how I love thee). I am even eating the occasional piece of corn on the cob, and anyone who knows me will know that I am of the firm belief that corn is evil. Obviously my body needs the variety because I am not minding the (cloying) sweetness. I have worked out the best way to cook it - peel back the husks (don't remove them), remove the silks, rinse gently in water to moisten, pull the husks back up and back in mod oven for half an hour. Sweet, tender and doesn't need butter.

For weeks my breakfast was peanut butter on a slice of grainy toast, but I got a bit sick of that (it's very easy to just keep eating the same thing once you find something that works), and have recently come up with this instead:
I make it the night before. It is a strata of rhubarb, yoghurt, puffed quinoa and a sprinkling of muesli, then repeated with another layer of each. My blood sugar readings on this are consistently in the high 5s and it fills me up. The rhubarb is stewed with about a teaspoon of low gi honey (which I procured on a shopping trip to Leos in Heidelberg, near the hospital) and still very sour, but oddly refreshing - I don't have a sweet tooth in the mornings.

Speaking of quinoa and refreshing, my first experiment with cooking with quinoa produced this:
It's a black quinoa, Macro brand, which I picked up at a boutique grocer in Richmond, but I have seen the Macro brand in Woollies. I made a salad for Martin and I (this is the leftovers that I had for lunch the next day, so the salad would have fed four as a side). I cooked the quinoa first - half a cup of quinoa to a cup of water, simmered for 15 minutes till all the water was absorbed (I had to add an extra splash of water during the cooking time, so it might have been better to do a cup and a quarter of water). I fluffed it with a fork, then added it to the salad I'd already prepared: one avocado diced, one grapefruit diced and a generous quantity of chopped coriander from the garden. I didn't dress it because the grapefruit provided enough sour, but I did splash a little olive oil in. I cannot tell you how utterly fabulous this was. You must try it. We had it with simple marinated pork porterhouse steaks. My reading after this was about 5.7, quinoa rocks! Similar readings after a simple barley salad (loosely based on this one) with cherry tomatoes, grapes, feta and mint (I didn't dress it but it was quite moist and flavourful. I forgot the olives.). I served it with fried tempeh. The girls had sausages and shunned the barley and feta, picking out the tomatoes and grapes.

The exercise sometimes gets to me...I really have to do a lot of walking and bouncing and yoga to keep my levels down and some nights I am so tired before I begin (though I always perk up once I get going). And I love the walks too, setting out just before twilight into the bush, which is filled with wildflowers, or up the dirt roads, where the only other person I might see is a 12 year old girl on a horse. The sun is long and golden, rich as honey, and the birds are still busy and noisy: parrots, rosellas black cockatoos, kookaburras, flashes of colour moving in the trees. The other nice thing about all the walking is the treasures you can find:
The wild wind and rain must have buffetted it out of a tree, leaving it on the dirt road for me to find. Most of the fibres in it are artificial except for the dry grass. It is an amazing piece of workmanship. Imagine doing this with just a beak! I have my handy dandy opposable thumbs and my apparently superior intellect, and I could never pull it off.

Anyway, my levels are improving and the diabetes educator was impressed - apparently most people with even one type 2 diabetic in the family end up on insulin. 35 weeks is the peak of the bad hormonal mojo that causes gestational diabetes, so it shouldn't get any harder. And because I'm not hungry, and because I am enjoying how healthy and strong I feel, I am confident (and determined) I can keep it up until D Day...whenever that might be.

On Friday, I am off for a big baby scan (notoriously unreliable). But I'm not really worried about the size of the baby. I have a strong feeling he will not be as big as Una (4.55kg, or just over 10lb and posterior, which meant her head came out the big way). For no real reason, just intuition/positive thinking. And a few weeks ago Martin and I did a hypnobirthing course, and I can see where I could have used some of the techniques birthing Una to make it easier. Where I was quite nervous about the birth before, I now feel reasonably Zen about it. I am not exactly looking forward to it (which I was with Fred), more willing to surrender myself to the process and allow it to play out as it does.


  1. Nice to have you back Penn. XX Do you need a bassinette (on a stand with wheels?)

  2. Glad to hear you are doing well. We love Quinoa too. It's one of our standby summer foods and great when camping.

  3. All your food sounds beautiful, but I will definitely make that quinoa. Thank you, Penni.

  4. I cooked quinoa once or twice and then totally forgot its existence, so thanks for that reminder!

    I'll be holding you all in my thoughts over the next few weeks.

    Do you need a lovely wooden highchair?

  5. Laurie10:14 PM

    I've missed your updates -- so glad that all is well. Gestational diabetes sounds like a real challenge, but you're almost there! Can't wait to hear about the baby (and how the big sisters respond!)

  6. Scratch that about the bassinette, I just remembered the cradle :)

  7. Glad to hear all is going well. I've never cooked with quinoa and not much with barley, so I feel very inspired.

  8. You're doing so well Penni, that strata looks delish!
    Have you ventured into the world of buckwheat yet? Love that stuff, but it's got to be cooked just right so it doesn't go gluggy. As much protein as a steak, low GI, and nuttily yummy.