Tuesday, December 21, 2010

9 Months

Dear Sofie,

Today you turned 9 months old.

9 whole months!

You've been in my life just as long as you've been in my body. This blows my mind.

You're the most wonderful, incredible blessing.

I look at you and think you're my baby girl. You ARE my baby girl. But you're not a baby anymore. I think back on the past 9 months and it feels like I'm watching a movie of our life, and it's such an incredible roller coaster ride.

I love the way you laugh. It always brings a tear to my eye, even if I never show it to anyone. I love MAKING you laugh. It's amazing the things a mother will resort to (ie crawling across the floor and popping my head out around the corner of the couch for your amusement).

I love the way your face lights up when you see me.

I love that your personality is so feisty. You know what you want and how to get it (UH-OH).

I love watching you in the bath. Splashing is always a priority. You're a fish, just like your momma.

I love watching you eat. Now that you're onto solids, you'll eat anything you can get your hands on. I'm lucky you're not a picky eater just yet.

I love how you say mama, baba, and dada. Your grandmother taught you how to say cat (in Arabic). So now, everything is 'cat.'
My favorite is when you say No and shake your head vigorously.

I love your little hands. The grip you have on things. Like when you drink out of a water bottle, or when you pick up a pea.
I love your little feet. They're miniature momma feet.

I love taking you out. Today I took you out shopping with one of my best friends. We went to the Virgin Store and, surprise!, they were playing salsa music. Now you'll soon figure how much I love this kind of music. I love it so much, in fact, that I picked you up and danced with you, up and down the aisles, right there in the middle of the store. I twirled you and dipped you. You 'raised the roof' all on your own. You loved every minute of it. So did I. It was as if no one else was there. We had so much fun that we got that salsa CD as a Christmas present from Heather.

I love you so much my heart could burst.

I know there are a lot of people out there who think I've changed. And of course I did.

I never thought I'd ever say this because I never knew I could feel like this: My biggest accomplishment is you.

I realize our journey has been short in the larger scheme of things, but look at how far we've come! Difficult pregnancy, complicated birth, post-partum depression, and being between countries. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for being an easy baby. As everyone says, you're a ray of sunshine.

I love you with all my heart. I can't wait for the rest of it.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On Being Blank

The past few months have been a challenge. I'm struggling to deal with the ups and downs of being a mother. I love my daughter more than anything, but I've been diagnosed with post-partum depression and I'm trying to deal as best as I can.

Although one in ten women suffers from post-partum depression, it's not really something that's discussed widely in the Arab world. Instead, I'm told to 'pray' through it. Seeing a therapist and taking medication is frowned upon because it insinuates that I'm crazy.

I've been seeing a therapist for 3 months now. I've adjusted the medication dose several times and it seems to be working.
But no medication lacks side effects unfortunately.

I'm zoned out, lethargic, and just plain numb.

I'm dealing with very low self esteem issues due to the fact that I'm unable to lose the pregnancy weight (side-effect of the sleeping pills).

I think the worst part is the fact that I believe I can't do anything right. I half-ass everything. Well, I guess the best way to clarify this is I just am not really good at doing anything really well. An example? I can cook, but I'm not the best cook. I can make movies, but I'm not the best at making movies. I'm a friend, but I'm not a best friend. I'm a mom, but I'm not the best mom.

I've been really hard on myself.

And I know it's unreasonable to think that I can be the best at anything, but I just feel like I don't have the patience or desire to even work on it.

Which makes it very difficult to be a mother to a beautiful 7 month old baby.

I can only look forward to things getting better. And even though it's very difficult for me to get up in the mornings I'm making the effort to take the baby steps. Today I spent a couple of hours just playing with my baby, and I updated my blog. Maybe tomorrow I'll take a shower.

Yeah. It's that bad.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

4 months

I'm so behind.

Being a full-time working mom is HARD.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Moment

We've been having trouble sleeping.

This past week, Sofia has been screaming bloody murder for hours. She doesn't want my breast, the bottle, or her pacifier. I thought it might be colic or reflux but it isn't. I finally concluded that she's tired but is just too stubborn to sleep.

Like mother, like daughter.

Anyway, this goes on for hours.

Last night I was feeling exhausted. I caught some kind of throat bug and was praying she could sleep.



By 5 am, I had tried everything to get her to sleep. Walking, rocking, pushing her in her pram, singing, cuddling, etc.
I finally just picked her up and put her on my lap and had her facing to the left. She stopped crying, looked around for a bit, turned to face me, and once the light caught my face we made eye contact. All of a sudden her face went soft.

She recognized me.

She then gave me the most wonderful smile, and as I smiled back my eyes flooded with tears.

There really is a satisfaction I can't explain when your baby smiles at you. And I'm not afraid to admit it.

She went back to crying when she realized I was still gonna try to put her to sleep, but that moment made the next hour more bearable.

Motherhood really is all its chalked up to be. For me anyway.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Labor Story

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now. Being a new mom means I have no time to do anything. I flew 'home' a few days ago and am staying with my parents for a couple of weeks. I need this breath of fresh air. I also took over Sofia's night shifts from my mom. So far, she's been on somewhat of a schedule. She sleeps a max of 3 hours, which means I only sleep in stretches of 2 hours. Its difficult but it all comes with the job. Plus I finally get to see some of my friends and feel like my whole life doesn't just revolve around my husband. Trust me, this will do wonders for our relationship.

So last you heard of me pre-Sofia was the day before she was born. After I wrote that entry I took my mom to the mall to buy some last minute things from Mothercare. We walked around for a while, I bought a couple of books (which, given how busy I am, I will read when Sofia goes to college), and we had some ice cream.

For some reason, at around 11 pm, I insisted my mom and I go through the hospital bag. I then wrote a short list of things we'd need to grab on our way out (phone chargers, cameras). By midnight I was feeling like I needed to use the bathroom, which I did (TMI).

At 1 am I started getting contractions. Haha, nothing new. I've been getting them for 5 months. So I climbed into bed with the husband, we watched some tv, and I told him the contractions were slightly intense. I decided to just sleep because sleep always helps my contractions stop.

I was up at 3:30 am. I knew the fact that the contractions woke me up meant that this was the real thing. Plus, these contractions were "in my lower back." The only comfortable position was for me to sit on the edge of the bed and just breathe. I decided to go downstairs and call the hospital.

I think the next few minutes were probably some of the most peaceful I've ever had. I stood in my living room with a cup of coffee and I watched my dogs sleep. I knew everything was going to change. But those minutes of silence, where it was just me and them, are ones I will remember for the rest of my life.

I called the hospital and the midwife told me I needed to come in asap. Given my history, they'd been waiting for my call for 3 days now. The contractions were less than 5 minutes apart but not too intense. I was advised NOT to shower (I asked if I could take one) and to just come in.

I woke my mother up and I secretly think she thought it was a false alarm. I then woke my husband up and told him it was "time." I've never seen him get out of bed that fast. We got to the hospital a little before 5 am, and I was pleased it was exactly like I had imagined it would be - NO TRAFFIC!

I got strapped onto a contraction belt, and they started monitoring the baby's heartbeat. We all joked around and I was starting to gear myself up. I do this thing where I just focus on the whole "VERY high threshold of pain" state of mind and just brace myself. The doctor showed up, checked my cervix, and announced that yes I am in labor but unfortunately it's going to take a long time: I was only 1 cm dialated.

Let me take a moment to warn you that this entry is about to bear what some people refer to as TMI (too much information). So if you're a dude, or aren't interested, you can go ahead and stop reading.

So, at about 7 am I was given the mother of all enemas. I shit you not (haha) that thing was about a half a liter of liquid.
Sure enough after I was done with the bathroom I was wheeled into the delivery room to start the labor process. At this point I'm already exhausted, and it's not even 9 am. Yeah, you try having to poop while getting contractions every 2 minutes. NOT FUN

I had requested an epidural, and had met with the doctor that was scheduled to give it to me a few days earlier. I heard he was the best person for the job. My doctor (OB/Gyno) walks into the delivery room and announces that my anesthetist isn't available as he is busy with another surgery. How professional. So I decide to go for the next best thing, Dr. Standby. Of course I wasn't thinking straight cause I was in LABOR.

Dr. Standby takes 45 minutes to administer the epidural. Meanwhile I'm being held down by two midwives and inhaling some kind of gas to try and ease the contractions. Sure enough, it's all over and I feel instant relief. I can still move my toes and lift my legs, which is important cause it means when the baby crowns I can push her out.

About 90 minutes later I started to feel contractions on the right side of my stomach. It's the strangest thing. So we call Dr. Standby to come fix whatever it is that went wrong. He loads me up with more drugs, but unfortunately I am starting to feel the contractions again. An hour later I was given the bad news: the epidural won't work anymore. Apparently the catheter moved, and it was too late for them to try and do the procedure all over again.


It's still early enough for them to give me a pethadine shot, as it wasn't even noon and my water hadn't broken yet. My doctor came in and broke my water, which was strange cause I didn't feel a thing. I think if my water had broken at home I would have had NO IDEA, especially if it was just leaking. Anyway, after the shot I slept for a couple of hours and a midwife was monitoring my contractions and the baby's heartbeat.

Meanwhile, my husband, his mom, and my mom kept coming in and out of the room to check on me. They also took turns taking naps.

By 4 pm I started feeling the serious contractions. The doctor had mentioned earlier that the baby was going to be born in the afternoon sometime, so I was just wanting to get this whole thing over with.

I was asked to lay on my side in a fetal position and push. By this time, all the pain killers and drugs have worn off. I was given the option of the gas mask but I refused to take it. To be honest, it just feels like my head spinning after a night of reckless drinking, yet I can still feel all the pain. I wanted to be able to concentrate on pushing.

So I started to push. And let me tell you, it's the weirdest feeling in the world. The contractions cause so much pain that the only comfort comes from pushing. Yet at the same time, its the most exhausting feeling in the world. At one point I felt like I was the only person in the room, and the only thing I could think of is the baby's body moving down the birth canal. I tried so hard to make it easy for her, to have my body relaxed so she can be relaxed. But all the voices around me of people telling me to push were distracting me. And at one point a midwife told me I was pushing wrong.

I looked up at her and said, "what am I doing wrong?" I must have said it in the calmest angry voice ever because her face, and my husband's face, went still.

Of course I got mad at my husband cause he was looking through pictures on the SLR and saying things like "you're doing great" bla bla bla. So I told him that he wouldn't have any idea how I'm doing cause he's looking at PICTURES! Poor guy.

The next two hours passed like seconds to me. I heard my husband ask what time they think the baby will be born and they said not before 630 pm. I glanced up and it was 530.

Next thing I know my doctor and her team are in the room and they turn me over on my back, and put my legs up in the stir-ups. My doctor then says, "your baby will be out in 2 pushes," and everyone starts to scramble to "scrub in." The pediatrician and nursery nurses are called in, and everyone is ready. There must have been 8 women standing around me, and my husband was standing to my right.

All of a sudden I felt like someone had thrown boiling hot water mixed with alcohol on an open wound on my "hoo-haw." As I screamed my doctor calmly told me that she went ahead and CUT ME. Um. Thanks for telling me you were gonna do that. What doctor doesn't discuss an episiotomy beforehand?

I was so distracted by that pain until someone said "Ok, your baby's head is out, you need to PUSH." I was so confused because there was so much activity around me.

Then my body gave out.

I couldn't push my daughter out. She was stuck. Head out. And I couldn't do anything about it.

All the people in the room are asking me to push and then they all went quiet as my doctor looked at me and said "Your baby is in distress. I want you to concentrate really hard and just push. You need to push harder."

And push I did.

As Sofia was pulled out of my body everything went still. I mean it. Everything went still. All the pain. All the noise. Everything. It was just...nothing. For a second it felt like this is what it must like be to die.

And then they put her on my chest: ass first. For a minute I thought she was a boy cause all I could see was her umbilical cord. I asked them to take her away.

My husband was so happy. All I remember him saying is "she's here! You did it."

At the time, all of it meant nothing.

Sofia was born at 6 pm. The doctor took 45 minutes to stitch me up (inside and out), and proceeded to give me shots of anesthesia in my vagina.
Talk about pain.

Mid-way through stitching, they brought Sofia back to officially meet me before taking her to the nursery.

And it was the first time I really looked at her.

At about 7 pm, they brought her back in to see me and nurse. And from then on it was love.

I should mention that 2 days later we realized I had a CSF leak. I was on morphine for a few days and stayed in the hospital longer than I wanted to. I was in so much pain, I really wish I never got that epidural.

But she's worth it. Don't you think?

Monday, May 3, 2010


I've tried so many times to write an entry. I stop and reread what I wrote and think its total shit.

I can't sleep. I can't relax. It's driving me crazy.

How do I stop the anxiety and panic attacks? Why is it that every time I put my head down and try to get some rest all I can think about is all the bad things that can happen to my baby? Why is it that no one prepared me for this?

These ain't no baby blues.

There's no one to talk to about this. It's a complete loneliness no one can understand but a new mother going through ppd.

My case is mild though.

It's like a friend of mine once said, "If you're going through hell, keep walking."

It will all be ok.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Month

Dear Sofie,

Today you turn one month old. I don't know where the time went. And at the same time, it feels like it's been much longer than a month. It's true what they say: I can't remember what my life was like without you.

It's been a rough month, not because of you, it's totally because of me. We've been taking the time to get to know each other, and you've been spending some quality time with your dad and two grandma's. I've been very lucky to get all that help. But to be honest, hormones are a crazy bitch Sofie. You'll come to know that one day. I've spent hours crying every day both for good reasons, and for no reason at all. There are times when I look at you and wonder if I need to get some help. I want to be the best that I can be for you.

There are so many things I learned about you in the past 4 weeks; things that I love and want to remember forever. I know how quickly you'll grow up, and I wish I could keep you this tiny forever.

I love how you smile when you try to poop. I love how you pull your hair when you're bored or upset. I love that I can distinguish your hunger cry from the other ones.

I love how you can recognize my voice.

I love how you curl your fingers around mine.

I love how your hands touch my breast when you feed.

I love all the little sounds that you make, and all the looks that you give.

I love how your hair stands and looks like a mohawk. I love how you yawn, sneeze, and squirm in your sleep.
I love your fingers (your dad's) and your toes (mine).
I love seeing your body change from a baby's to a little person's.

I love your chubby thighs, and how you like pressing your feet against my face when I change you.
I love the smell of your head after you take a bath.

I love the way you look at me, even if you can't really see me.
I love how you snuggle against my chest.

I love the noise you make when I try to burp you (sounds like a horse), and I love how you fall asleep in my arms.

I love the look on your face when your dad holds you over the sink and I wash your butt after a super poop.
I love how you kick your legs in the air when you're being changed.

I love the way you roll your eyes in your sleep, and how you tense your arms and shake them when you're mad.

I love everything about you.

You are my whole life.

Happy one month birthday. I wish you could stay this small forever, but I also can't wait for us to hang out when you're older.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Exhausted Bliss

This is what I've been doing for the past 3 weeks:

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Love of my Life

I look at her and feel my heart will explode from something I've never felt before. Something much more than love. I want to keep her against my chest forever. I want to protect everything about her, down to the last hair on her body.

I want to protect her with such ferocity, I wonder where it's all coming from.

Nothing else matters.

I feel tears stream down my face. Might be all the crazy hormones. I choose to think its love.

This is what I've waited for my whole life, and I never even knew it.

She is the love of my life.

Sofia Nina
March 21st, 2010
6:00 pm
3.86 kg

She gave me the best mother's day.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I'm still pregnant.

For the past 36 hours I've been experiencing what they call the 'bloody show' - which is basically pink discharge. It's disgusting. It means labor is 'imminent,' but then again labor has been imminent for weeks now. I figure it'll happen sometime this week, even though it doesn't feel like it at all.

I've been reading through my pregnancy bible and came across something funny: "...but if you happen to go overdue you might get frustrated by the constant calls and by having to repeat yourself. Try to be patient and remember people are simply excited for you and are just as frustrated as you are."


I just keep thinking of the time when I finally have this baby and will be able to announce it. I'm excited.

Ok, so I'm in good spirits.

To be honest though I tried EVERYTHING in the book to try and bring on labor. I mean everything. I drank all the different kinds of tea. I have been eating spicy food. I even ate dates. I've been walking, squatting, and tilting. I even talked my husband into 'being intimate' just so we can move things along. Finally, I tried castor oil. I'm a bit of a pussy though and only took 2 teaspoons - you're supposed to take 4 tablespoons. I didn't wanna risk the hemorrhoids again. I know what you're thinking: TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

Point is: whether I like it or not, its not happening according to my terms. I've got to embrace that fact with open arms.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day in the Middle East. It would be nice to have a mother's day miracle.

Wishful thinking.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

39 Weeks

Ultrasounds Lie

I'm still pregnant.

I've never been more bloated in my entire life. For the past couple of days I've been jumping into our pool in the afternoons just to cool off. And by jumping I mean waddling in. The great thing about having this mini pool is the fact that I can do all my squats and not feel a thing. Gravity can be a bitch when you're carrying around an extra 26 kilos. That's right. You heard me. 26. That would put me at a grand total of 88 kilos. And for those of you who are all WTF, I'll just tell you to look down at the picture of my 38 week belly and realize that all my weight gain has been just that - belly. So fuck you if you think it's too much weight to gain, and fuck you for thinking you know what's best for my body. I'm pretty convinced it'll all melt off a few months after I deliver.

Oh yeah, and the hormones get worse towards the end. Almost as bad as the first trimester. Almost.

I've gotten so sick of people staring at me that the other day I was standing with my husband at the mall and yelled real loud about how staring at my belly is rude and disrespectful. Needless to say all the Arabs staring at me immediately looked away. I'm telling you, it makes me feel naked. A naked, 88 kilo, full-term pregnant woman? Not a pretty sight.

Yesterday I went to this education day celebration Bahrain throws to honor its citizens who received higher education degrees. Since my husband has his masters in law, and his brother has a Phd in electrical engineering, it was a family affair. The point of this isn't to show off that I married smart, the point is: I don't fit into my maternity clothes anymore. The clothes that are XL in maternity. That's how bloated I am. My feet were so swollen, it was ridiculous. Someone stick a fork in me - I'm done. Plus, maybe the fork will help diffuse some of this fluid retention.

Please please send me positive thoughts. I need to pop this baby out soon. I don't think I can wait till past this weekend. I had a nightmare, yes a nightmare, that I was pregnant past my original due date and had to be induced. My original due date is in 9 days.

I lost my mucous plug yesterday. It looks like a bunch of snot tinged with blood. It's basically the 'plug' that lines the cervix. I know. TMI. It means labor is 'imminent' - then again women can go weeks after losing their plugs without labor. Watch, I'm gonna be that woman.

Alright, enough complaining. I didn't think I'd get this far, but I will take a 39 week pregnant picture and post it up soon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

38 Week Picture

Any Day Now

The ultrasound went beautifully.

The baby weighs a healthy 3.6 kilos (8 pounds 1 ounce), and all her measurements are older than that of a 38 week old.

I was told to expect her sometime this week, and the report says my new estimated date of delivery is between the 13th and the 16th. Isn't that tomorrow?

Last night I started getting really strong braxton hicks that were coming every 5 minutes. I took a hot shower and went to bed. I woke up at 5 am with stronger contractions that were coming every 2 minutes, but I also know they're not the real deal - I was able to go back to sleep afterall. This just means its all around the corner.

I have to admit we were so happy to see the baby in 3D. She's adorable, even though she just looks like a baby (you can't tell who she looks like). We are so excited to meet her. At one point we could only see her profile and my husband said: "Come on, move a little so we can see your face." Sure enough, she did. Already her father's daughter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

38 Weeks

Today marks my 38th week of pregnancy. This means I'm going to have a baby sometime in the next 2 weeks. Insert panic attack.

I'm going in for the final ultrasound today. They'll take baby's measurements and in the extreme case she's massive we'll schedule a c-section. I doubt it though - I'm going the natural way first and if I can't handle it then I'll opt for major abdominal surgery instead.

Pictures soon

Monday, March 8, 2010

Around the Corner

I've been really tired lately. It's funny because just last week I had a few days where I felt full of energy. I guess maybe it's the calm before the storm.

My roomie is in town for business. We went out yesterday for a lovely brunch, followed by a mall trip and we had some excellent Indian food for lunch. It's too bad I had 3 hours of cramps throughout the whole thing. The previous night I'd had 6 hours of consistent contractions that came every 20 minutes - false labor stopped at midnight. Anyway, the cramps were so painful I called the hospital. I got yelled at for not coming in earlier, and when we eventually got there I was strapped onto a contraction belt. Although I hadn't had any contractions that day, sure enough they started coming pretty consistently and they were getting strong.

About an hour later the doctor came in, gave me another lecture about not coming in when the cramps started, and decided to do a physical exam to check if my cervix is open. Then she said something weird: apparently there are two openings to the cervix (??). She said that my first one is worn down - typically seen in women who've had several children. But the second one (the important one where baby comes out of) is still closed. She said to consider myself lucky, as if this was not my first child I would have been dialated for sure because my contractions are strong. Apparently with the first one, the contractions have to be even stronger in order for my cervix to start opening. JOY.

I was asked to be admitted and I said No thanks. The first stage of labor takes forever and if this IS labor then I'd rather spend some time at home first. Sure enough we went home and everything calmed down. I have a feeling this is gonna be a FUN couple of weeks.

I'm really, really tired today. I had a good night's sleep (I only peed 4 times!) and needed a nap 3 hours after I woke up. I'm a little uncomfortable but I know it's not labor yet. Given my history I should be careful because labor might start and progress very fast.

I know I probably shouldn't say this because I'll jinx it, but I always thought I'd deliver during my 38th week, as all my measurements are 2 weeks later than I actually am. I'm 38 weeks on Thursday.

Watch - I'm gonna be pregnant for 42 weeks and will have to be induced. That's just the kind of irony I expect.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Better Late than Never

I'm still pregnant

Which is great if I'm still in the "this baby will be born EARLY" mindset. But I'm not. I am exhausted, I can't sleep, I pee every 5 minutes, and I am HEAVY. My last doctor's appointment showed a weight gain of over 7 pounds in one week. That would put my current weight at a grand total of 190 pounds. Holy mother of Jesus, that weight better come off fast, considering it's mostly water retention. If I showed you a picture of my swollen feet it would shock you. I'm choosing to spare your eyes.

I'll post a picture of my belly at 37 weeks sometime soon. I'm due in 3 weeks so all I keep thinking is tick-tock. I've been walking a lot, and have been doing a lot of exercises to help the baby 'drop.' Although, I have been warned that once she drops I'll be even more miserable than I am now cause it'll feel like there's a bowling ball in between my legs. LOVELYS.

In other news, here are the pictures of all the lovely things I've been cooking up.

Home-made bruschetta:

Mmmm, and so EASY to make - the trick is to find an excellent balsamic vinegar.

Then there's my lovely homemade mini-quiche:

It really is YUMMY. The dough itself is SUPER easy to make: flour, cream cheese, cold butter, and salt. The trick is keeping it in the fridge for at least 12 hours before using it. You then have to separate the dough evenly in a mini muffin pan and put it in the oven (HOT) for about 10 minutes. Then you're free to use any toppings your heart desires. The first batch I made I used mushrooms, onions and topped off with mozzarella. The second batch I used carmelized onions, pineapples, and mozzarella. Once you put the toppings, they only need to go into the oven for about 7 minutes. It's a great appetizer for when you have visitors - serve hot.

Then there's Nathalie's Love:

I created this masterpiece one afternoon in Austin. It's basically a rice and chicken (and veggies) dish cooked in a creamy broth, topped with mozzarella and some bread crumbs. Yes - in the oven. I like my oven. It's delicious. If interested let me know and I'll email you the recipe.

And finally, I dabbled in cookie making:

I was pleasantly surprised to realize I had ALL the ingredients for oatmeal raisin cookies. So on Valentine's Day eve I made these. Feel free to make fun of the heart-shaped ones. They were delicious. I got the recipe from my food bible: The Joy of Cooking.

They were YUMZ.

I also made guacamole, but didn't take a picture.

Ok, sorry for the food overdose. I'm sure you're all motivated to make your own and then share them with MEEEEE.

Monday, February 1, 2010

On Random Thoughts

I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning and came across a somewhat startling thought:

I found the love that makes it ok for me to remember.

And for that, I am grateful.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


* Click on the pictures for larger image. It's worth it.

The other night I was feeling starved (never put a pregnant woman on a poop-friendly diet), and started day dreaming of food.

That's when I remembered Beignets. I love them. I miss them. I want them.

Sure enough I ended up finding a recipe here

I had to mix bread flour and regular all-purpose flour. And I warn you its HARD to mix all the ingredients together, it takes some physical labor. Plus, the recipe makes WAY too many beignets, so I suggest you just make half. In the end, I put the dough in the fridge and just fried the beignets in the morning.

And it was WORTH IT:

That's when I realized how much I love dough.

Throughout my cooking history, I never ever made dough. It just scared me. But not anymore!

I got caught doing this:

Yes. I made a lovely pizza from scratch.

I found the dough recipe in my lovely new purchase: The Joy of Cooking.

I brushed the top of the dough with olive oil, and added a mix of tomato paste and red pesto sauce.

Then I carmelized some onions. And by some I mean A LOT:

I topped the onions off with some Italian herbs, black pepper, and rosemary.

Then I shredded some mozzarella and sliced some pineapples:

Add generously:

Top it off with LLOOOOVVEEE:

Pop it in the oven (HOT) for 10 minutes.

And voila!


It really was delicious.

Come visit me and I'll make it for you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

On Being a Fighter, AKA FML

Let me start off by telling you how much I wish I was one of those women who enjoyed being pregnant. You know, like the women that go through all 9 months with a glow and the 'ohmygod I'm so happy.'

My pregnancy has been a slow, excruciating process. Not very many women out there will understand until they experience something similar.

Let this be a "lesson" to all of you. This entry is in no way a means to scare you, it's just my experience. It might give someone comfort that they're not alone. It might make you think I'm an idiot because your experience was WAY worse than mine. And it might make you understand what happened to me these last few months.

The morning sickness was bad. Of course it wasn't at all in the morning. I still associate certain smells with that time period and these smells still make me sick to my stomach. I hated taking medication to stop throwing up, I hated that I could only stomach certain food. Most of all, I hated having to run to the toilet at 4 am to dry heave.

Back then my husband and I weren't living together and the weekends we visited each other were spent holding my hair back and trying to find 'pregnancy friendly' activities to do.

Then I started bleeding. I remember laying in bed, my mother bringing me a glass of milk and telling me to get some rest. I was shaking, almost certain I was losing this baby. I remember driving myself to the hospital the next day, and how the nurses and doctors rushed me in. They too were certain I was losing the baby. Needles, blood tests, ultrasounds. More pills. Bed rest for 3 weeks. The depression was deafening. I didn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone for weeks.

Then the second trimester hit and my husband and I went on our honeymoon to the Maldives. It was lovely for the most part. I couldn't walk much, couldn't do any water sports, couldn't ride on speed boats, had a restricted diet, and ohmygod the hormones. I cried. On my honeymoon. Almost every single day. I picked fights with my husband, I was a nightmare. I hated myself for having no control over who I've become.

But then things got better. They say the second trimester is the best, and I would vouch for it. I was working, traveling, seeing my friends, and eating well. And then I moved to Bahrain. The day I finally moved here, November 28th, I was admitted to the hospital for having contractions that came every 4 minutes. I was in pre-term labor for 3 days. Again, I had to listen to the doctors as they explained how little this baby's chances of survival are. The strange part was the fact that I was calm through the whole thing, almost like I had succumbed to my fate - whatever that was. Pre-term labor came and went and I was discharged with strict orders of complete bed rest till this baby comes. Yes, that would be 4 months.

I saw a lot of doctors after that, some who said I'm too high risk, some who said I'm totally fine. I eased myself off bed rest, found an excellent private doctor, started becoming more active, and finally started to enjoy the pregnancy.

Until last week.

I had a doctor's appointment with a British doctor who told me I was too high risk to be accepted as a patient. Its not insulting anymore when you've heard it more than a dozen times. Although there's no sure way of telling, almost everyone believes this baby will be premature, which is ok if I give birth at one of the two hospitals equipped to handle preemies.

On Wednesday morning I woke up with contractions. I had an appointment with my doctor later that afternoon so I decided to wait it out. As soon as I saw her I was strapped onto a contraction belt that showed I was having them every 20 minutes. The baby's heart rate was fine, but her head was low. After a few hours I went home with instructions to come back the next day if it doesn't stop.

Sure enough, it didn't stop. I went back and was asked to be admitted. No thanks. I knew I wasn't in labor yet.

I ended up taking 2 doses of dextromethorphan (helps develop baby's lungs), which I had already taken when I was in pre-term labor. Now I have no problems with needles, but this shot is a motherfucker. Ladies, if you're ever put in a situation where you have to take this shot, please be advised it HURTS, don't let the nurses lie to you.

What can make that weekend worse? Gucci got sick. I mean, really sick. I was having contractions while tending to a dog who was throwing up and pooping diahrrea. He had the chills all night, and I thought for sure he had eaten something poisonous and that was it. I know, Drama.

He was fine by the morning, but we still went to the vet.

And then the mother of all hemorroids decided to pay me a visit.

I've had hemorroids all my life. I know how to deal with them. But this? This is something on another level. My ass was a throbbing fireplace. For 3 days. No matter what I did, there was no relief. I couldn't sit, lay down, stand up, or even pee. And when you're pregnant, you pee - A LOT. I was such a joy to be around.

So off to the emergency room again.

The wonderful MALE Egyptian doctor proceeded to push the mother of all 'roids back in, while in full view of 2 of my 3 tattoos.
He gave me lots of wonderful meds to help reduce the swelling, as well as some painkillers. And for the first time in over a week I was able to sleep longer than 2 hours. This explains all the energy I have to write this long-ass, detailed entry.

Did I mention that I'm on a liquid diet? FUN

The moral of the story is: PREGNANCY IS HARD. 9 MONTHS IS A LONG TIME. And to be honest, not a day goes by without me asking myself if I would put myself through this again.

I want to tell you that I love my unborn daughter.
She's the fighter I'm referring to in the subject, not me. I love it when she kicks against my bladder and punches me in the ribs. I'm not even being sarcastic. Yes it's uncomfortable. But there's something amazing about feeling her ENTIRE body shift inside me. I can put my hand on my stomach and feel her foot push against me. I can nudge her and she'll move from my left side to the right side. I can FEEL her hiccups.

She loves it when I eat honey smacks cereal. She loves it when I indulge in my nescafe and soymilk. Most of all, she loves it when we listen to raggaeton music.

She is awake every night from 11 pm to 1 am.

And I can't wait to meet her. I really, really can't wait.

There are times where I think that somehow my experience has detached me from feeling maternal. I don't talk to the baby or sing to her or any of that. But I also know that when they put her on my chest and she hears me say "Hi little one," she's going to reach her tiny little hand up to my face, and her eyes will recognize that I am her mother. When I put her tiny naked body against my huge naked chest, the sound of my heartbeat will comfort her and she'll know that I will do anything to keep her safe and healthy.

I am almost 32 weeks pregnant, which means my daughter will be born sometime in the next 8 weeks.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Last Stretch

Before I talk about the pregnancy I wanna take a minute and talk about how utterly devastating the earthquake in Haiti has been. I'm not there, I don't know. But I remember the 1992 earthquake in Cairo (we were living there at the time), and I can only imagine what's happening in Haiti. My heart goes out to all the families that have lost loved ones. I'm glad that my friends there are for the most part accounted for and are safe and sound.

Today marks 30 weeks of my pregnancy.

I can't believe I'm going to have a baby in 10 weeks. Given the way this pregnancy has been going, the baby will be here in less than 10 weeks!

I've been trying to get things ready. I don't have a nursery because our place is fully furnished and I can't clear out one of the rooms, but we bought everything that would fit in a nursery and will just scatter it around. We're moving into our own house by the end of the year, so I can concentrate on decorating the nursery then.

I'm really tired most of the time, hardly get any sleep, have lots of PAINFUL leg cramps, and have resorted to rolling off the bed and the couch. Lovely.

I mean, look at me:

Yes folks, that would be a grand total of 40 pounds heavier! *applause*

No, I'm not overeating and I am not diabetic. It's just the way that it is, and I don't want to hear any advice from anyone about how much weight "I should" gain. In my experience, you have very little control over it.

I'm enjoying these last few weeks with my husband and my dogs. My favorite time of day is bedtime when we all lay in bed together. We play with the dogs, feel the baby kicking, talk about what's to come, say our I love yous, and fall asleep. Although I get lonely and bored, I know I'm going to look back and miss these nights.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week 28

Who knew I would make it to 2010?!

We're very happy baby ooops decided to stay in and I'm hoping I can carry her full term.