August 30, 2016

Pregnancy | Second Trimester Thoughts

Sunday marked 28 weeks for my pregnancy, which means no matter what guidelines you are using, I am now in the third trimester and on the final stretch. WOOHOO! In comparison to the first trimester (and then some), which as I detailed was extremely difficult for me, the second trimester was a piece of cake (I will take peeing 100 times a day over wanting to throw up all day). That being said, it wasn’t without its tough moments and “annoyances”. A few thoughts on the “magical” second trimester….

20Weeks22 Weeks

WEIGHT GAIN: Once my severe nausea finally subsided around 18-19 weeks, and I was able to start eating with some regularity, I slowly started regaining the 10-12 pounds that I had lost. By the time I hit my 22-week appointment with my OB/GYN I had finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight. Since then I have gained another 7-8 pounds. While my total weight gain is at about 18-20 pounds, thanks to the weight I lost, the net gain is only the 7-8 pounds. While I am still significantly behind where the average person is in terms of pregnancy weight gain (recommended for a woman with a normal BMI is a net gain of 25-35 pounds), my doctor is not concerned, which is what matters. Thanks to the way society has conditioned women to think about gaining weight, it’s tough for me to think of this weight gain as healthy and necessary. That being said I DO know it is necessary, and I am happy to tell society to stuff it, particularly while I grow this little alien critter. Speaking of that alien critter…

BABY’S MOVEMENTS: I started feeling little kicks/movements around 16 weeks. In those early weeks it felt like it could be gas or stomach rumblings. By 19-20 weeks they were much stronger, and it was much more obvious that it was the baby moving. Despite the fact that they felt incredibly strong to me, Shiraz wasn’t able to feel them from the outside regularly until about 25-26 weeks. Now these kicks and movements are constant and incredibly obvious. Sometimes I will be sitting at work and will see my stomach suddenly move out of the corner of my eye. Despite that I have been feeling movement regularly for almost 12 weeks, it is still jarring every single time. I know a lot of folks really enjoy being able to feel the baby move around in-utero, but to me it quickly goes from feeling neat to feeling….odd. I am seriously waiting for the baby to burst out of my stomach “Aliens” style. I can only imagine how it’s going to feel once there is even less room in there for the baby to move around. The first time I see a clear outline of its foot or hand on my stomach, I know I am going to be creeped out….and then feel the urge to poke it.

24Weeks24 Weeks

HORMONES! EMOTIONS! MOOD SWINGS!: I was wondering when these would hit. Well, over the last month it has finally happened. I definitely have significantly more limited patience than I used to, and find myself more easily frustrated by the stupidity/ignorance of others (this seems especially true when in the car…so many bad drivers on the road). In addition to this, I have started experiencing these so called…EMOTIONS.  Most who know me well will tell you that I am not one who often experiences “emotional moments”. I don’t cry easily (I believe I may have done it once for 2 minutes in the last year), I rarely get excited, and while I can get annoyed, I move past it quite quickly. Basically, people joke that I am a robot. Well now this robot has had an emotion chip installed and I am struggling to figure out how it all works. While I have not yet broken out into tears over seemingly random and small things, I feel as though it is only a matter of time, especially with 12 weeks still left. I find myself feeling sad for no good reason at the most random times (and when I felt like I was on top of the world only 15 minutes earlier). The other night I was so physically tired that I felt like crying as I was trying to fall asleep. At some point the emotions will bubble over, I am sure of it, and I might actually shed a couple tears. And the trigger will probably be something to do with puppies/kittens, I would bet money on it. Shiraz seems to be a mix of concerned and amused that I am suddenly experiencing these….feelings. Me? I am just annoyed. How do people deal with experiencing emotions on a daily basis their entire lives?

SWELLING & PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT: The swelling started about halfway through the second trimester. I would start the day off with my body feeling ok, and my joints/body parts at a normal size. By the end of the day I would notice a bit of swelling in my ankles and feet, all of which would disappear by the next morning. As of 3-4 weeks ago the swelling is around the clock and everywhere. I stopped wearing my wedding ring about six weeks ago (I had nightmares about it getting stuck on there). I tried to put it on a couple days ago and it wouldn’t go over my knuckle. Womp Womp. I now wake up with my ankles and feet already swollen and it gets worse as the day goes on. Most of my shoes are now too tight (width, not length) and I basically live in those few pairs that are still comfortable, like my Converse and Birkenstocks. In addition to this I have started to to experience the usual myriad of aches and pains that come with a growing stomach. Bras have become my arch-nemesis (seriously, I want to burn them all), my upper back and the area between my breasts and stomach are constantly in pain (which makes sitting at a desk quite tough during the work day), heartburn occurs almost daily, I tend to have a waddle no matter how hard I try to walk normally, I move significantly slower regardless of what I am doing, and doing simple things like getting out of bed or trying to put pants on has become laborious. I can’t wait until I am no longer able to get dressed by myself or stand up without assistance.

26Weeks26 Weeks

JUST A MINUTE, I HAVE TO PEE…AGAIN: If you need me and are unable to locate me, I am probably peeing, for the umpteenth time that day. I knew this was going to be a problem for me as I had a smaller bladder prior to pregnancy (I would wake up at least 1-2 times every night to pee). Well now it’s just ridiculous. To keep myself sane (and from crying), I have made a game of it, to see just how many times I wake up during the night to pee. So far my record is six times in an eight hour period (after going three times in the hour before falling asleep). Sometimes I pee and then immediately feel like I have to go again after I am done. At some point I might just take up sleeping and working while sitting on the toilet. Or perhaps I will invest in adult diapers.

OH HEY, YOU’RE PREGNANT!: Around 22-23 weeks it became undeniably noticeable to the average person that I was pregnant, rather than just having consumed too many burritos and burgers. What this means is that people now are more likely to offer me seats on the BART (that’s a whole other post for another time), more and more people are asking when I am due and what the sex is (and then try and make conversation with me about the pregnancy), and the occasional person will now look at me and ask if they can touch my stomach (which is met with a resounding NO, luckily this has only happened a couple times). I have also been getting more comments/compliments about how I am “glowing”, how I still look great (why wouldn’t I still look great), how I should cherish the time I have now because once the baby arrives it will all change (duh), and how once it is all over I will miss being pregnant (NOPE).

28Weeks28 Weeks

Now that I am in the final trimester and the countdown has begun, I am trying to stay focused on not letting the growing discomfort and pain get to me, which is no easy feat. There are still some things around the house that we need to get done before the baby arrives, which with how slow I move, might take some time. We also have to put the final touches on the nursery, purchase the final items we need (such as a car seat, diapers, etc.), and of course do a tour of the birthing center and attend a childbirth class. For the most part, as my mobility becomes increasingly limited, we will probably stick close to home on the weekends, and keep it low key on weekdays after work (I intend to work up until the final week or two before giving birth). We are definitely excited (and anxious) to meet the baby, but if I am being completely honest, I am most excited to no longer be pregnant. I know I am not the only pregnant person to feel this way, but I still do feel a bit bad that I haven’t enjoyed this experience as much as others. I guess pregnancy truly is different for each person.

August 18, 2016

Wanderlust | Weekend Getaway in Carmel

In celebration of our one year wedding anniversary (only a month late) Shiraz and I spent last weekend in beautiful Carmel. Since we have both explored Monterey a lot over the years (which is where we got married) we opted for someplace nearby but relatively new to us. Carmel fit the bill perfectly. We drove down after work on Friday (which thanks to traffic took us three+ hours), checked into our hotel, grabbed a delicious sushi dinner, and then called it a night. Saturday we were up early(ish) for a delicious continental breakfast before we headed out for the day. After breakfast we headed to the 17-Mile Drive for some scenic views, followed by a short visit to Pacific Grove. For lunch we returned to Carmel, had some amazing food, and then walked around the main downtown exploring all the little shops. Late afternoon saw us back at the hotel for a few hours of relaxation before one of the most delicious Italian dinners I have had on the West Coast. After dinner we returned the hotel and called it a night. Sunday morning we indulged in the continental breakfast once again before packing up our bags and making the two hour trek home. It may have been a short getaway but it was absolutely lovely and relaxing and just what we needed.


After looking at a number of options in the area, including AirBnB, we opted for an adorable boutique hotel that was was walking distance to Downtown called Cypress Inn. While it was on the pricey side (most everything in Carmel is), the attention to detail blew us away and made us feel more comfortable with the cost. Upon check-in they provided us each with a token that could be redeemed for a complimentary glass of Prosecco. The room, although small, was beautiful and well maintained. In addition to the standard toiletries and comfy robes, they also provided a basket filled with fruit and packs of honey roasted nuts, as well as a full glass bottle of Sherry, all of which was complimentary. Their continental breakfast was expansive and delicious and featured fresh fruit, freshly made scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes (and sausage if that’s your kind of thing), a variety of freshly baked goods including homemade popovers, and of course delicious coffee and juices. It was eat to your heart’s content. While we didn’t take advantage, the hotel (and entire town of Carmel) is VERY dog friendly (one of the things we were most looking forward to was getting to sleep in without having to worry about the dogs). The hotel is famously co-owned by legendary actress and animal activist Doris Day. A number of the guests there had their pup(s) with them which made the atmosphere all the more enjoyable.

Cypress Inn


Carmel is apparently known for having amazing food (or so Shiraz told me, and obviously everything he says MUST be true). Outside of the continental breakfast we had three meals in Carmel proper and all of them were delicious. Yelp, as always, was our co-pilot in finding highly rated and delicious food.

SUSHI HEAVEN – Friday night we enjoyed dinner at a small-ish sushi restaurant called Sushi Heaven. We weren’t super hungry after the long drive from the city so we kept it simple with some miso soup and two rolls to share (yes, I ate sushi while pregnant, no, I don’t regret it). The fish was so fresh that it melted in your mouth. I seriously wish I had been more hungry so I could eat more. Prices were extremely reasonable, especially for the quality of the ingredients (and also because we are used to SF prices).

Sushi Heaven

DAMETRA CAFE – For lunch on Saturday we decided to check out the most highly rated (according to Yelp) restaurant in the entire city. With over 2100 reviews and a solid 4.5 stars, Dametra Cafe did not disappoint, despite having to wait nearly 30 minutes. We shared a fried calamari appetizer, which had some of the biggest and freshest calamari I have ever eaten (I even made a joke about them going out and catching it that day). I enjoyed a simple but delicious four cheese ravioli, while Shiraz had the most amazing looking lamb shank I have ever seen (if you can call lamb delicious, which I admit, I can not). While we didn’t order dessert they did give us a couple small pieces of baklava, on the house. The service was top notch, the food was tasty, and the atmosphere was lively.

Demtra Cafe

LITTLE NAPOLI – For our last meal out in Carmel we decided to go with a proper Italian dinner, as Shiraz kept telling me that Carmel is known for its amazing Italian food. After perusing the menus of a variety of places we decided upon Little Napoli. Given that it was a Saturday night we made reservations which turned out to a really smart thing (when we arrived for our reservations they were turning away all walk-ins and had been for at least an hour or so). Since our extremely filling lunch was eaten a bit later in the day we set our reservations for 9pm. By the time we got there we were pretty hungry (which is necessary when eating heavy Italian food). Before we even got there we both had at least a half dozen things we wanted to order off the menu. We decided upon their “Famous” Garlic Bread and Risotto Lollipops as appetizers. For entrees we ordered their Truffled Gnocchi and Spicy Cioppino Rosso (basically seafood pasta stew). For dessert we shared the Black & White Cannoli. It was, quite possibly, the best Italian meal I have had on the West Coast. Seriously, I am still thinking about this amazing meal days later.

Little Napoli


We kept our activities low key and enjoyed the sights and beauty of the 17-Mile Drive, stopping for the necessary pictures along the way. We then grabbed coffee/tea in the cute little town of Pacific Grove before heading back to Carmel (unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of the Monarch Butterflies). In Carmel we wandered around the beautiful town admiring all the art galleries and popping into a few shops. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Carmel, I HIGHLY recommend it!

17-Mile Drive

Gorgeous view along the 17-Mile Drive.

August 15, 2016

Pregnancy | How I’ve Survived Thus Far

Obviously I have made it no secret that being pregnant has been a struggle for me. That being said, there have of course been a few bright spots along the way. But more than that, there have been a number of things that have helped me to survive and get through this less than joyous experience. Here are just a few of them:

Fast Food Cheeseburgers – As I mentioned in a previous post, the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy were quite tough thanks to severe nausea. Most days I could only manage one meal, if even that. Even after the nausea passed, up until about 22 weeks, I didn’t have much of an appetite. While I know it’s not the most healthy (something about making every calorie count while pregnant), I basically survived off cheeseburgers from McDonalds (Quarter Pounder w/ Cheese or a McDouble) and In-N-Out (Double Double). Well that and…

Ensure – Again, because I wasn’t getting the necessary calories during those first months, and I had ZERO appetite and the idea of chewing made me want to die most days, I had to get creative in how I got nutrients into my body. My sister-in-law’s boyfriend recommended Ensure so I snagged some during a Costco trip. Some days I managed a cheeseburger, some fries, and two whole Ensures (those were the best days). They were easy and quick to drink and keep down, and gave me over 300 calories each. They were perfect for a quick breakfast so as to keep the nausea at bay.

Zofran & Unisom – These two magic medicines helped me get through the worst of my nausea and prevented me from throwing up the little food I did manage to consume (I am also one of those that firmly believe that throwing up makes you want to throw up even more). The Zofran was doctor prescribed and expensive, so I used it very sparingly. The Unisom is apparently a “pregnancy hack” (discussed on many pregnancy websites/boards) and was deemed safe by my doctor. One at night before bed, and a half one in the morning, and my nausea was kept from turning into full blown vomiting (I have said how much I HATE HATE HATE vomiting). Sure I was a little extra sleepy, but I prefer that over an upset stomach any day. Lesser of two evils.

The Snoogle – Ok, so I discovered this a lot earlier than many pregnant folks, and boy am I glad I did. The Snoogle is the most wonderful creation to ever be created. Yes, even better than sliced bread. An advanced/uber body pillow, the Snoogle makes sleeping while pregnant so much easier, particularly if you are a stomach or back sleeper who is suddenly forced to sleep on their side (normally I am a stomach sleeper). This creation is so wonderful I will probably continue to use it even after I am pregnant, because honestly, why not?! At the peak of my morning sickness I was in bed more than not and this miracle pillow made it so much more comfortable.

An iPad w/ Netflix In the early part of the pregnancy when I was super sick and couldn’t move out of bed, I would spend hours watching episode after episode of Gilmore Girls, Scrubs, HIMYM, and Angel while in bed thanks to this handy piece of electronic equipment. I also attempted to distract myself from my misery by playing random games like Panda Pop and Words With Friends. I even used it to do some maternity clothes shopping…ALL WHILE IN MY PAJAMAS, LAYING IN BED, TRYING NOT TO HURL (sounds awesome, right). Unfortunately even though the nausea has now passed, as my stomach has grown and the random aches and pains have set in, sitting on the couch to watch TV is actually quite uncomfortable. Which means Shiraz and I spend a lot of time watching Netflix and HBO from the comfort of the bed and our handy dandy iPad.

Adorable Baby Clothes – In those early weeks/months when the fetus is the size of an apple seed, it can sometimes be tough to feel excited or connected. Despite being quite sick it still felt like a dream until I actually started to feel the baby moving around (which happened around 16+ weeks). For me, what would make it feel more real and get me excited was seeing and buying adorable little baby clothes (until we knew the baby’s sex we kept everything gender neutral). How can you not smile when you see adorable clothes in miniature form? That’s right, you can’t.

My Mother & Stepsister – Both my mother and stepsister had really tough pregnancies (gestational diabetes, hyperemesis gravidarum, etc.). Being able to talk to them about what I was going through, and hearing that they had experienced similar or worse, it honestly helped a lot. Sometimes misery really does love company. There was one phone conversation I had with my Mom that I will never forget, where I basically complained to her for a good 45 minutes about how miserable I felt, how I didn’t know if it would be worth it, and how I was scared and anxious about everything. She listened, she talked, and she never made me once feel bad for how I felt. I am so thankful for that conversation, and for awesome and strong women who have been through the same.

Shiraz – And no, I don’t mean the wine (but man, I miss wine…and beer). I mean my husband who has the patience of….I don’t know, a really patient person. When I was at my sickest he would run to McDonalds for me all on his own, or cook macaroni and cheese, or slice up some fruit, without blinking an eye. Now that I am better, he is willing to take me anywhere, at anytime, when I have a craving (even if the line at In-N-Out is ridiculously long). He has become the master cleaner of the litter box since before we were actually pregnant (and I know he hates that chore). When I was unable to function, he took care of all three of our dogs on his own. Now that my belly has gotten too big, he carries my laundry basket up and down the stairs, and lifts all the heavy things. When I need time to myself or crash at 8pm, he doesn’t make me feel guilty. When I need him to just lay in bed with me while I wait for my heartburn to pass, he does just that. Basically, he’s awesome and I am so happy that I am going through this with him. Without him I probably would have crumbled multiple times. I definitely made a great choice in my partner.

In-N-Out Double Double

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?