We are not there yet…

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The baby is fashionably late.

I hope this is not an indicator of how long she will take to get ready in the future…but it’s kind of cute. She has everyone wrapped over her little finger already, so many people are calling to ask if she is here yet…(no, not yet). Furhermore a few people who were due after me already had their babies so I am literally thinking that I am the only one left…Since I am hormonal and fed-up with waiting a have a few times burst into tears when I heard that someone had their baby (so far…4 people did! FOUR!!!)

The conclusion I came to is that the baby just doesn’t want to share her birthdate with anyone yet. She is just sitting tight and waiting for the right moment.

Meanwhile I have been following a lot of advice on how to get things going (but as you see none of it has helped yet…). I’ve eaten a chilli pineapple salad that consists of cubed pineapple, lemon, chilli flakes, sweet chilli sauce and a little coriander. A really strange combination. The baby kicked up a storm after I ate it (she must have tasted the chilli) but it did not give her any “evacuation” ideas. Other than that I’ve been trying to go for walks once or twice a day, although this doesnt directly help you go into labor it does take some of the anxiety off and keep you fit- so why not? I’ve also been going to my yoga classes (yes I am the most pregnant lady there) and I even treated myself to a facial and a massage one of the days when I thought I just couldn’t take it anymore and needed to let off some steam!

So the baby may take her sweet time making an entrance but the doctors are not letting me go past Sunday evening. Although the idea of a medical induction terrifies me somewhat I am also kind of glad there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

So this may be my last post in my “forever pregnant” status as come Monday morning (if all goes according to plan) I should finally be done with being pregnant.

40 weeks people. 4o. Weeks. You do the maths…

Eggplant Parmesan – to induce labor

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A quick update for those of you waiting for news – our daddy got back yesterday so for the last 24 hours we have again been in full “labor inducing” mode. I am probably making this sound a lot worse than it actually is, there is no real reason to have this baby out RIGHT NOW but I am getting a little edgy as my due date is only 5 days away and I feel as though we might miss. (Also the fact that I am 40 (!!!!!!!!!!!!) weeks pregnant and that’s 10 months for those of you who didn’t figure this out- might be adding to my misery and anxiety). If you missed my whiney post read it here.

A few days ago I messaged my yoga teacher, Karen (www.pregnantinoman.com) , who has a lot of expertise in the field of child birth and general health care (also she gives great advice!) and asked her what I can do to help move things along. She insisted that I make it to one more yoga class, give acupuncture a shot, have some “private” time with my husband and try a delicious Italian recipe that swears to bring about labor. I took her advice (on almost all of the above ūüôā ), yoga turned out to be extremely beneficial and actually helped relieve my muscles and calm me down emotionally.

Karen had also sent me a recipe of Eggplan Parmesan that is known to help women go into labor. For more than twenty years, women have gone to Scalini’s Italian restaurant in Cobb County, Georgia, with one thing on their minds: To go into labor. They always order the Eggplant Parmesan, which, so far, has helped encourage more than 300 babies to come into the world within 48 hours of their mom eating the meal.

I decided to give it a shot because it wouldn’t hurt to kill two birds with one stone; make a decent lunch and perhaps even help this baby get moving. So the recipe is below, most of the ingredients are easy to come by and the preparation of the dish could not be more elementary. I have even attached a few images for your entertainment ūüôā

Eggplant Parmesan alla Scalini’s Ingredients:
3 medium size eggplants
1 cup of flour
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups fine Italian bread crumbs, seasoned
Olive oil for sautéing
8 cups of marinara sauce*
1/2 cup of grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lbs of mozzarella cheese shredded
2 cups of ricotta cheese
Instructions:
After you wash the eggplant, slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices. You may choose to peel the eggplant before you slice it, however you may want to leave the skin on since the skin contains a lot of vitamins. Place the eggplant slices on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt, then cover with another layer of paper towels and hold it down with something heavy. This will drain the excess moisture. Let them set for about an hour.

Working with one slice of eggplant at a time, dust with flour, then dip in beaten eggs, then coat well with bread crumbs. Saute’ in preheated olive oil on both sides until golden brown.
In baking dish, alternate layers of marinara sauce, eggplant slices, ricotta, parmesan, and romano cheeses, until you fill the baking dish about an 1/8 inch from the top. Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 25 minutes in 375 degree oven. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.
Scalini’s Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil
8 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup onions chopped
1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/8 cup of fresh chopped sweet basil
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of rosemary

I actually couldn’t find ricotta cheese and the supermarket and forgot to buy breadcrumbs- so that may be the reason of this not exactly “working” in my favor.

The eggplants being fried in olive oil

The Marinara Sauce. Chopped up onion, garlic, greens, tomatoes and herbs.

The post-oven dish looks something like this. Umm cheese

It's absolutely delicious! With so much cheese how can it not be?

So if you find youself in a situation similar to mine…or heck…if you just want to cook up some yummy Italian grub- give this a shot! It’s finger-licking-good! It promises results within 24 hrs and I am half way through that pie right now…let’s see if it can live up to it’s reputation!

Fingers crossed people.

A sudden change of plan

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Dear Baby,

Remember how for the past two weeks mommy pleaded and begged for you to begin making your way into this world? Well, forget that ever happened. I sort of need you to hang in there for a little while longer. I know this seems confusing right now after the stern tone mommy used and words like “eviction” and “ultimatum” but trust me there is a good reason behind all of this.

You will grow up to learn that life is sometimes unfair and some events are completely out of your control so all that’s left to do at time is – to deal with it. Three days ago, just hours before I wrote the post below (emphasizing that it’s time…) your daddy’s work compelled him to travel a few hours away from home¬† to a land of little network coverage and scarce transportation. As much as daddy didn’t want to go (because words like “eviction” and “ultimatum” were also used by his boss) he had no other choice but to comply. I made a promise to daddy that you and I will not do anything crazy (like be born at home or in the hospital without him) so please stand firmly by our promise. It would absolutely break his heart if you arrived into this world and he wasn’t the first person to hold you or check what color your eyes are…

I probably shouldn’t have promised him that we will absolutely not go into labor without him (because how could I know, right?) but something tells me you will hold on until he gets back. I know you guys have a very special bond (already) and waiting until he is there to welcome you into this world is just a crazy little stunt you are completely capable of pulling. So, lets wait, ok?

Hang in there until he gets back, which should be in the next 24 hrs and then we will just go ahead and pretend that mommy didn’t confuse and misguide you before you were even born by first bribing you to make a quick exit and then convincing you not even think about escaping for three whole days. Crazy, I know.

Thanks and hoping for your understanding in this situation!

Mommy

Are we there yet?

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Pregnancy- day two hundred seventy freakin’ three. No seriously. I am still pregnant.

although I am not overdue (yet…) statistics do show that most first time mothers give birth a week or two before their due date, the same darn statistics that promised me that only 5% of women deliver on the actual due date that has been forecast.

Yet, here I am. Excited, nervous and oh-so-sick of waiting. (Not to mention bloated, uncomfortable, tired, swollen…just peachy basically…)

I read somewhere that the most common craving that pregnant women have is not to be pregnant. That might seem a little over the top but trust me 9 months into it even the most “sunshine-up-their-butts” mothers start to feel like this just can’t end soon enough. The exhaustion you feel is both mental and physical, your mind is constantly replaying possibilities of “what could go wrong in labor” and your body aches from your toes to the ends of your hair.

I also miss the little things. Like seeing my feet when I look down, fitting into my clothes and shoes or simply getting out of bed without having to roll to the side and readjust the 4 pillows that are prompting my back. Ugh.

The general opinion here (amongst husband and family) is that I still have time and the baby will come out when she needs to and when she decides. But wait, I though I was the boss of this baby- why can’t she come out when I want her to? I pick now. Or at least today. Please?

I have friends calling me every single day asking me if she is here yet or every time I call one of them they thing it’s only because I am in labor…nope…still pregnant…just wanted to say hello. The conversation I have with My Cynthia everyday is a straight replay out of Shrek ” Are we there yet? ” ….” No not yet”….”What about now”….”Still not”….It’s rediculous.

I apologize if you were expecting a touchy-feely post about how prepared and excited we are to welcome our daughter any day now and instead you got stuck reading the rantings of a sick-and-oh-so-tired pregnant woman. Believe you me, we are ready. The bed is made, the hospital bags packed, the baby bottles sterilized and even the video camera is charged. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands…just waiting for the grand entrance now.

I shall keep you posted.

Maternity Leave

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With just a few weeks away from my due date I am finally going on maternity leave as of Christmas. Although I do still have some time and could theoretically¬†work for a little while longer it as just proved too darn exhausting. Thinking the last 35 weeks over, I would say I had a generally easy pregnancy and I am in really good physical shape…I could easily go on working for another 2-3 weeks if it wasn’t for the simple fact that¬†my ribs hurt. Yes ribs. ” What do ribs have to do with babies or going to work” you are probably wondering. Well, they have absolutely everything to do with not allowing you to be comfortable in a simple position like sitting on an office chair or the sofa. Because there is a little foot in your rib. It makes me feel as though this baby has bones of steel. The ribs on the right side of my body feel like they are on FIRE. The only way I can tolerate it is if I am standing up or lying down, basically anything that keeps my back straight.

So maternity leave. Here I come. As per the Omani Labour Law, women are entitled to 50 days pre and post maternity leave on full salary. That is incredibly little in comparison to other countries (up to 14 months in Germany, 16 weeks in France, 18 weeks in Russia, 22 weeks in Italy) but beggars can’t be chooser¬†now can they? Combined with other pending leaves I have pending in total I am eligible to be away for about three months.

When I think it over in my head the first though that occurs is “Wow, three months! What am I going to do with all that time???” and then…I remember that every single moment of my day will be entirely wrapped around this bundle of joy that is about to arrive. I doubt I will be bored.

Also because life has the tendency to work out all by itself¬† these days, I was given a fantastic opportunity to come back to work part-time after I have the baby. Just 4 hours a day. You see, I work in the hospitality industry which sometimes calls for 10-14 hour working days, elaborate stress and continuous dedication. I am utterly immersed¬†in this job and would be heart-broken if I had to leave the industry or even the position. I just found what I love to do. (The husband?…No he is not a big fan of my job)

When the offer to move departments and consequently move to a 4 hour working day came in, I accepted it immediately. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, I believe it would be better for my child if I was a well-rounded person in all aspects and if I had a life outside of changing diapers and wiping spit-up the whole day. (An opinion my husband also feels strongly about). So come March back to work I will be, into a brand new department with new challenges and responsibilities.

Up till then I will have to grow accustomed to my most challenging and exciting job yet…beeing a mommy.

Our maternity pictures

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A¬† few weeks ago we strolled into Qurum¬†Park fiercely equipped with outfits, pink helium balloons, a pair of baby shoes and bags of curiosity. We were ready for our maternity photoshoot. Our photographer Aseya took the lead and quickly showed us the spot where we would start shooting. It was about 3pm, a cool breeze swept through the trees and the warm November sun was just right. There wasn’t a single moment of hesitation or awkwardness, we went straight into it. It’s amazing how simple movements like getting up off the grass can take on a whole new level of difficulty when you are almost 8 months pregnant.¬†Nevertheless it was all good fun and Aseya found a lot of locations that exerted greenery, freshness and raw nature. She advised us on the poses to take and clearly had a vision of where it was all going. We wrapped the session in just under two hours and here are the results:

We are now very proud owners of 26 images that perfectly documented this special time in our lives and captured the moment that sees us transitioning from becoming a couple to become parents to a little girl. We are thrilled.

If you are planning to document your pregnancy with the help of a professional photographer here in Muscat then I would highly recommend Anastaseya Photography. 

When going in for your session make sure you:

  • Plan your outfits in advance. Matching? Sexy? In harmony with the landscape? Think about this in advance.
  • Bring props (baby items, flowers, balloons, ultrasound scans, soft toys…etc)
  • Don’t forget to accessorize (hats, glasses, necklaces, scarves…)
  • Bring a snack and¬†beverages¬†(my snickers bar literally saved my life)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want (but trust your photographer’s advice too…)
  • Don’t be fussy (it will show in pictures…)
  • Try not to have your session too late (I didn’t want mine during the 9th month to avoid looking bloated and tired)
  • Engage your partner and your kids in the pictures¬†(it’s as much of a big deal for them as it is for you!)

Good luck and hope you enjoyed the photos!

It’s a miracle…

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…that I am awake at all right now.

The well-wishers, they warn you about everything; the nausea, the headaches, the cravings, the swollen ankles…but somehow they failed to mention to me that I will lose my ability to SLEEP during the last month.

Instead I would go to bed at a decent hour…and then lie there…and lie there…then I would go up and go to the bathroom…get a drink…go back to bed…toss and turn…readjust my 7 pillows…read another page of my book…

Hello 3 am. How did you get here?

Apparently insomnia during pregnancy has something to do with hormones, the adrenalin pumping through the body and the mind racing with hundreds of thoughts ranging from “Hey, did I lock my car?” to ” I will have to PUSH WHAT?¬†THROUGH WHERE?”.

And if the baby hears that you are awake? 50 kicks to your bladder and another 25 right into your lung…that’s what you get for staying up so late. The hubby was resting his hand on my stomach when the baby kicked right into it. He asked me how I can sleep through that. Well I CANT. Because she is having a little fiesta in there. This child needs to learn curfew.

All this wouldn’t be so tragic if I didn’t¬†have to get up for work a little after 7am.

Silly me, I though the sleepless nights start after the baby is born…

Maternity pictures

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I am a big (amateur) photography junkie so when I had the chance to document this amazing time in our lives through the lense- believe you me I did not pass on that opportunity! In one of my previous posts here I introduced you to Anastaseya Photography- a woman, a mother and a photographer who specializes in maternity, new-born, lifestyle and family photo sessions here in Muscat. I am incredibly lucky to know her personally and even more so to have been able to book a photo session for her for this Thursday!!!

Over the last few months I was collecting pins into my little board of inspirations over at Pinterest hoping to achieve similar results with our maternity photo shoot or to at least get ideas for locations, props and poses.

Below are some of my favorite moments “capturing” this amazing experience of being pregnant:

¬†As you can see I chose images that featured both the parents and I think that’s very important. I don’t want 45 pictures of me and my “belly” looking left and right and center and holding flowers and what-not. This isn’t about me. This is about us as a couple, as parents¬†bringing¬†a child into this world. She is ours. I want the pictures to show how involved her daddy was every step of the way and how obsessed he is with her already. I want her to see the bond. whether she is 3, 15 or 67 I want her to look back at these pictures and see how much we enjoyed become her parents and how important she was to us.

¬†Having said that you probably won’t see me publishing any pictures that look like this: (bummer…right?)

I don’t personally have anything against nude maternity photography¬†it’s just not for me. The female body is beautiful during pregnancy absolutely, but if mine is to be captured on film I want it to be fully clothed!!! (I must admit the picture above disturbs me a little…)

In terms of the location, I would love to have an outdoors photo shoot. I initially had a¬†very “alternative” idea that involved Boashar¬†Sand Dune, Quad Bikes, Pink Baloons¬†and some rough riding. Until my husband reminded me that I am pregnant… My idea was for the pictures to show the feminine aspect of pregnancy, all the tenderness and fragility of it combined with a rough exterior (that is my husband) represented in the sand bashing and quad-bike¬†riding. This way¬†the baby will know what she’s really made of…but then we settled for a park ūüôā The pictures will hopefully turn out to be very refreshing with heaps of greenery around us, cozy lawns and flower beds. Oh. But I am still bringing the pink balloons¬†and maybe a few other props like baby items, ultrasound scans of the baby and maybe a black board with a “Coming Soon” message. I just can’t resist.

So look out for these next week…I am so¬† CRAZY excited!

(But that just might be all the sugar that I just ate talking…)

Why pregnant women aren’t fun…

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How often do you encounter a heavily pregnant woman in society? Once a week? Once a month? Hardly ever? There is a reason for that my friends. Women who are on their 7th month or somewhat past that benchmark-¬†avoid leaving the house (and with good reasons!).I am going to take a minute here and give you the low-down on why pregnant women are a¬†nuisance and must be kept indoors for the sake of everybody’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Disclaimer: The below are my personal observations that I am not afraid to generalize as I find comfort in believing that every woman at 30 weeks of pregnant or more is as miserable as I am. So here is why we aren’t fun:

  • We need to pee all the time. Going into a supermarket, a mall or a restaurant we map out the bathroom routes well in advance. It is anything but sexy when just after two sips of herbal tea or water we need to make a trip to the bathroom yet again. Moreover those around us (spouses, family or friends) shamelessly blur out “Oh so you need to go AGAIN?”. Yes damn it. There is a giant baby using my bladder as a jumping castle- I need to go AGAIN. Thank you for the announcement.
  • We have trouble getting off sofas, low armchairs or just very squishy and comfy surfaces which usually results in our spouse giving us a gentle push or reaching out their hand to help. Think: giant whale being hauled off the shore during a rescue operation. Sexxxyy
  • We over-react to everything. Whether it’s the waiter getting the order wrong or a car horn beeping restlessly nearly-¬†the smallest things make our blood boil. But it isn’t us-¬†it’s those darn hormones. These pesky little¬†demons¬†are to blame for our sudden tearful outburst over the shoes we no longer fit into or the orange juice Costa didn’t forgot¬†to serve us. We understand¬†this is very embarrassing¬†for those around us or sometimes even fatal- if they are the subject of our scorn. So these situations are best avoided.
  • When we want something¬†we want it NOW. Yesterday¬†, I really wanted a burger (right after I ate a box of cinnamon rolls). I was a little hungry, tolerable. But I WANTED A BURGER NOW. I was physically shaking by the time my order arrived. I was close to tears. I needed to¬†taste that juicy beef patty, smeared generously with ketchup and mayo and placed lovingly between crunchy salad leaves and tomatoes. I couldn’t even focus or talk while I waited for it.
  • Angry when hungry. Pretty much summarized in the above bullet point. Works like this: from 0 to absolute bitch in 0.1 seconds if hunger kicks in. God forbid I come home and dinner isn’t heated or ready. Or if we get invited over to a friend’s house for lunch and they are just in the process of cooking it. I mean…I expect to receive food when I want it. Right then and there. Hunger just leads to a catastrophe because THERE IS A GIANT BABY inside me that wants a sugar rush right NOW!
  • Our energy is usually at it’s peak¬†between 10 am and 12pm. Anytime after that is either nap time or bedtime. I simply cannot be “hanging out”¬†in the evening. I was up all day-I am huge-the baby is kicking all the time-¬†I just want my sofa-go away. We beg your pardon for not wanting to come to your party that only starts at 9pm or for making you leave a party and drive us home whenever it’s convenient¬†for us. Take a sleeping pill and¬†spin 30 times on an office chair- you might come to feel ¬†a fraction of what we feel on a daily basis.

Well, aren’t we just a ray of sunshine? But we undrestand that 99% of the time we are unreasonable, snappy and just generally high maintenance so we avoid social gatherings, malls, restaurants, parties, clubs and other delightful scenarios. It isn’t because we don’t feel sexy enough to dress up and go out- it’s just safer for all of you if we stay home under lock and key.

Thumbs up for Sultan Center (and other stuff)

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Yes. I am still here. You aren’t getting rid of me that easily.

I am just working. A lot. Buzzing around running errands. Housewifing. Working. Did I mention I’ve been working a lot? Perhaps the only pregnant thing I’ve been doing recently is the yoga. Oh I am enjoying pregnancy yoga so much. It’s the one and half hours a week when I don’t have to answer emails, think about work, responding to my madly beeping BlackBerry, huff and puff in the kitchen…I don’t have to do anything except breath-stretch-and-focus-on-the-baby.

I would absolutely recommend it. The only issue I have with yoga is that every Sunday evening I am reminded that yet another week flew by (whooooosh). Sunday after Sunday. I am subconsciously reminding myself to keep calm every time yet another Sunday approaches. I have a little under three months left and at the rate that time is currently going…I am not even going to notice them zoom past me.

The experts call the second trimester “The Honeymoon”¬† stage of pregnancy. At this stage expecting mothers don’t exactly have many complaints (hopefully!). I am feeling well enough to get through 9 hours of work and come home full of energy to carry on with the dinner, the tidying up or to even go out! I haven’t exactly become any slower at work either. I seriously though by the 6th month I would not be bothered to drive, to meet people, to run around like a headless chicken, to constantly deal with DRAMA…but I am finding rather bearable. So far so good. I’ve decided to stay at work for as long as I physically can and when the giant stomach or the lack of energy becomes too much of a burden I will go on maternity leave. I fundamentally plan to return to work a few months after the baby is born. I realize this isn’t the right choice for every woman and it depends on so many personal factors and trust me, I have considered them all and made the decision to go back to work shortly after we have the baby. I have a lot of hands on board…my family is here…my mother in law will visit us for a few months to help with the baby. So it isn’t exactly like I will be relying on a questionable babysitter to raise my child- we just have a very big family and loads of people are willing to help.

Talking about help. I wanted to share a very pleasant experience with you. (See, I can do more than rant!). This morning whilst buying a few groceries (ahem…a few dozen bags of groceries) in Sultan Center, I encountered perhaps the best service I have ever experienced. Yes. It was 100% down to the fact that I was pregnant and grocery shopping alone. I got out of lines…the staff went out of their way to accommodate me, they even brought me a trolley! As I was heading out of the store to my car one of the staff took the trolley from me, drove it to my car, unloaded my bags into my car and pushed the trolley away. (Yes, I did give him 200bz for his efforts).

It may have been sheer pity…but I will take pity over “standing-in-long-supermarket-lines” anyday! ūüôā

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