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The Heart of Life

The Heart of Life: August 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Waiting Ensues

Way back when I was 34 weeks along my doctor had me start doing some weekly fetal monitoring.  Baby Ching and I have a two-vessel cord going on, which “isn’t the end of the world” (as my doctor put it), but they want to keep an eye on it.  Normal cords have three vessels—one taking stuff in and two hauling it out.  Ours just has one vessel in and one out.  The two vessels can handle everything just fine, but where it’s a skinnier cord I guess it’s a little more prone to get squished; hence the monitoring. 

According to my research, this happens about every 1 in 100 pregnancies (and most of the time ends up having no ill effects on the baby), so it’s not super common, but it happens.  However, my pregnancy book mentions absolutely nothing about two-vessel cords.  Not even a sentence.  Sure, it has entire sections on umbilical-cord prolapse, bird flu, fibroid tumors, and lyme disease, but nothing on the one weird thing I’ve got going on.  Go figure.

Anyway, so I’ve been going in to get monitored once a week since I was 34 weeks.  Part of the monitoring is a non-stress test where they measure Baby Ching’s heart rate along with my contractions (if any).  The first time I went in, the lady looked at the print-out and said, “Oh, you’re having contractions.”  What?  She pointed out the big curves on the graph.  “It’s been so hot, so you’re probably just dehydrated.  I’ll get you some water.”  So she gave me a cup of water.  After I’d choked that down (literally—I’m not so skilled at drinking on an incline) she looked again and said, “Hmm.  I’ll get you more water.”  I’ve since learned that these contractions are just Braxton-Hicks, but I had no idea at the time.  I heard her make a phone call to my doctor’s office and said something to the effect of, “She’s having contractions, but isn’t aware of them.  I’m sending her home, but giving her some things to watch for.”  Sending me home?  They’d considered keeping me?  She then told me to call my doctor if the contractions started to hurt or if, of course, my water broke.  She said contractions aren’t a big deal after 35 weeks, so she told me to “hang in there for another six days at least.”

Needless to say, I walked away kind of freaked out.  I thought I had around six more weeks, give or take, but maybe—just maybe—I’d be having a baby much sooner than that.  To top it off, a week later my doctor predicted that I probably wouldn’t go past my due date.  I began thinking of things that needed to get done before Baby Ching comes and number one on my list was washing his clothes.  So I ran to Target to get some free and clear laundry detergent.  My child will not go naked.  Some parents are cool with the whole nothing-but-a-diaper outfit, but it’s not my thing.  It’s socially acceptable to wear clothes. 

Then as I was folding his clean clothes, I realized, “My son has one pair of pants.”  Sure, pajamas will be sufficient for those first few weeks, but eventually I’ll take him to church, and who wears footie jammies to church?  Everyone knows men wear pants to church.  I’ll not have him holding that over my head when he grows up.  I’ve since rounded up a couple more pairs of pants for him, so no worries.  But it was a legitimate concern for a few weeks that he’d be born and have no pants.

For the next few weeks I was on edge.  I was reluctant to make plans, because surely I was going to have this baby at any moment.  Now I’m three days (days!) away from my due date, and there’s still no baby.  Just never-ending Braxton-Hicks.  I’m sort of in denial at this point.  After six weeks of any day now, I have a hard time convincing myself that eventually it will happen.

Every day I’ve been asking Ching about his birthday preferences, “Ok, what about the 28th?  That’s a good day to be born, right?”  Then the 28th comes and goes and I tell him, “Ok.  So not the 28th.  But what about the 29th?  That’s a good day, yeah?”  I’ve known some moms who have a preference on their child being born on an even or odd day.  I don’t really care if it’s even, odd, divisible by three, or a prime number.  Any day is cool with me.  I feel a little weird about the 13th, but we definitely won’t make it that far, so I’m not too concerned.

Well, wish me luck (in your heart—no need to comment).  Back when I was first pregnant, a coworker told me to take note of all the women around me that have had babies.  There’s tons of them.  She told me, “They all did it, so remember you can too.”  I’m trying to keep that in mind.  I’m probably not going to post any pictures of him on here or give his real name (Ching will continue to be his pseudonym) because I don’t want this blog to go private but I’m paranoid about internet creepers.  However, if you’re friends with me on Facebook you’ll be able to see him there.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cookie Dough Brownies

2013-07-16 18.48.18-2

This isn’t a stellar picture, but let me assure you:  These are stellar brownies.  Although I’ve made a few tweaks of my own, this recipe is from a lady I used to babysit for.  I don’t know where she got the recipe, but I can assure you that these brownies pre-date Pinterest.  She’s that awesome.

The premise of these brownies are fairly simple.  It’s a brownie topped with egg-less chocolate chip cookie dough.  Think of it as cookie dough frosting. 

Her original brownie layer of the recipe is one of those that calls for melted chocolate chips—I’ve opted for a slightly simpler (but still very delicious) recipe that uses cocoa powder instead.  Alternately, a store-bought brownie mix could also be used, following the box directions.

Brownie Layer (Adapted from How To Cook Like Your Grandmother):

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon, being careful not to over-mix.  Pour batter into a greased or parchment-lined 9x13 pan.  It will be thick, so just spread it around (or poke it around if using parchment paper) until it’s evenly distributed.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

(Note:  These brownies on their own are amazing, but should you choose to go a non-cookie dough route, add some chocolate chips.  Refer to the above link for the amount.  The chocolate chips are a bit of an overkill with the cookie dough brownies, so I’ve omitted them here.)

Cookie Dough Layer:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars.  Beat in the milk and vanilla.  Slowly add flour.  After the flour is incorporated stir in the chocolate chips.  Spoon the cookie dough onto the cooled brownie, then carefully spread the cookie dough evenly over the brownies.  Keep refrigerated.

If you want it to look pretty, drizzle some chocolate sauce or melted chocolate chips over the top.  I haven’t tried it personally, but I’m sure these brownies would be delightful along with some vanilla ice cream.