IMG_E6137

Recipes | Split Red Lentil Dahl.

IMG_8546

Yesterday was our 5th Fast Day. And it went surprisingly well. It definitely get’s easier… infact, I look forward to our Fast Day, as we’re trying such lovely recipes – and the added bonus is,  I wake up the day after a fast feeling great – feeling lighter and brighter. I wish the scales would actually ring true with the lighter part though, as I’m not seeing a huge difference. I’ve seen how some people have lost 10 – 14lbs by their 3rd week of fasting. I’m so far only seeing a 3lb drop. But still, that is a 1lb per week I guess and not to be sniffed at. I guess I’m just being inpatient!

SO! Yesterday was a fast day, as I say. And I made the most wonderful red lentil Dahl! The first time I’d ever made a Dahl… and dare I say it, the first time I’ve ever actually eaten one too! So only going on how mine turned out – but it was super yummy, warming and filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! I was inspired by several Dahl recipes that I found online. I loosely followed this recipe from the wonderful London-Unattached. But as Fiona mentions in her post, most Dahl recipes are more or less the same – just depends on what veg/meat you want to add! Our recipe was meat-free last night. This recipe would be awesome during the cold Winter months too – you can throw in so many things to bulk it out, while it will still remain very healthy.

——————-

SPLIT RED LENTIL DAHL*
SERVES 2 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
300 Calories, per portion.

Ingredients.
90g Sainsburys Dry Red Lentils
100ml Knorr Vegetable Stock
1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped into chunks (can be skinned before chopping if you prefer)
2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Ground Tumeric
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 large clove Garlic (I pushed through a garlic press, but can be sliced or grated)
1/2 teaspoon Waitrose Hot Chilli Powder (Or one fresh chilli. Adjust according to taste – the Waitrose Chilli Powder is so powerful, you don’t need a lot! And I like heat!)
2 teaspoons Ginger (I chopped as I like to taste ginger, but can be grated)
1 Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
3 Spring onions (I had leftover in the fridge)
1 Red pepper (I had leftover in the fridge)
150g Spinach (Torn or roughly chopped)
Splash of Rapeseed oil

Optional – to garnish.
Parsley
1 tablespoon Low Fat Yoghurt
Sliced cucumber

Directions
1) Cook lentils as per packet instructions. For the Sainsbury’s lentils I used, I boiled them rapidly (in cold water) for 10 minutes. Drained and set aside.
2) Add some oil to a frying pan and add the dry spices and cook over a medium heat till the mustard seeds start to pop. I used Rapeseed oil, but know that a lot of people use coconut oil as an even healthier alternative.
3) Add the onion (and spring onions), garlic and ginger and cook gently for 3-5 minutes till the onion starts to soften. Then add the cubed peppers (I just had a pepper leftover in the fridge).
4) Add the tomato puree, stock, fresh tomato and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary
5) Stir in soft lentils and the spinach and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
6) Serve garnished with a dollop of Low fat yoghurt, sliced cucumber and a sprig of parsley (or coriander would work well too).

ENJOY!

————-

Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

MM.

*Recipe adapted from Fiona Maclean’s Red Lentil Dahl recipe, over on London-Unattached.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 41 Weeks Pregnant // We’re overdue!

Well, I definitely DID NOT think I would be writing a weekly pregnancy update at 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant, that is for sure!

But it’s been quite a week so here is my update, thus far.

I had the first of my two ‘Sweeps’ on Wednesday. During my appointment at Broomfield, I met with my lovely Midwife, Caroline and Consultant. Both parties were concerned about the size of Boy – obviously, he’d measured up large for dates since Week 28. But on Wednesday I measured at 44cm (44 weeks pregnant). SO! They both agreed that I should not go past Sunday without having Boy as he’s looking too large now. So another Sweep was also organised for Friday (yesterday), incase the first one didn’t work. I was also tested for MRSA and given the usual checks, all of which were fine.

The first sweep did not work, despite me having really painful period pains and contractions for 10 hours! So feeling a little despondent, back to the hospital we went again yesterday. A second sweep was performed and the Midwife really gave it a good go – she even tickled Boy’s head – which was a bit strange! When we got home I was convinced the sweep had worked! So we had yet ANOTHER curry and bounced on my ball as we watched more Olympic’s 🙂

But no, the second sweep doesn’t appear to have worked either! BOO 🙁

I also just wanted to point out that a sweep really doesn’t hurt. Yes, it was uncomfortable – but it’s going to be. I can honestly not believe that people have said this procedure is painful on forums and other blogs.

So, it looks like we’ll be going back to the hospital tomorrow to have the induction kick-started. I have to call in advance to ensure we have a bed and will be given a Propess Pessary when ready. We’ll be staying in the hospital for at least 6 hours and will be sent home if nothing happens. Then we have to go back within 24 hours for assessment and if nothing else happens, we’ll be having my waters broken and placed on a drip. Which I’m REALLY hoping won’t happen as I desperately wanted a water birth. Water has helped so so much during my pregnancy – I’ve literally not been out the bath! It’s been so helpful for my SPD pains.

So keep your fingers and toes crossed that Boy decides he wants to come naturally tonight, so we don’t have all the hassle tomorrow!

MM.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 40 Weeks Pregnant // Today is our DUE DATE.

Last Saturday we went to a wedding! This is us at 39+1 weeks.

Baby size at 40 weeks: 50 cm long.

Baby weight at 40 weeks:  7.6 + lbs

——————————————————————————————-

Well, here we are. The day I didn’t think we’d actually get to! Today is our DUE DATE. Actually cannot believe that Boy hasn’t arrived before now!

I’d convinced ourselves that I’ve been in “slow labour” since Monday of this week. I’ve either been going to bed with VERY regular and quite intense contractions… or waking up at 3:30am with the pains. The pains start off as period style cramps (front and back) and nausea, then I get the tightening across my tummy. I’ve also had the most excruciating stabbing pains in my undercarriage at the same time. It’s been the most frustrating thing EVER. Every night we’ve gone to bed thinking “THIS IS IT!!!”. Last night felt like Christmas Eve and we went to bed incredibly excited! But Christmas hasn’t arrived so far today 🙁

BOOO!

Now I’m going to have a little rant – please excuse me! 🙂

I went for my final Midwife check up yesterday and have to say I wasn’t (and still aren’t!) happy with how it went. Firstly, there was a student midwife left in charge. No other help at all! I’d normally have my assigned midwife, and then a student if she had one that week. So I was really very shocked. Now, I do not mind students or trainee’s to do the usual checks – I’m all for it! How else will people learn, without practical case studies!? But yesterday was my last appointment, I had lots of questions and frankly the midwife just wasn’t experienced enough!

Firstly, she did my blood pressure and it came out as 110/80. Which is about usual for me, as per my notes (which, she did look through after checking each and . She said my blood pressure was HIGH? But this blood pressure is ‘optimal’ if anything! I ignored it.

Then it came to measuring me. Now I’ve measured big the entire time. Last Thursday I measured 42cm (by two different people!). Now I know this is not an exact science and normally don’t read anything into the fundal measurements – especially since we had our growth scan a fortnight ago! But she measured me at *just* 38 weeks. So obviously, I was dubious. I asked her to re-measure me as I can’t have lost 4cm in the space of a week – I’m usually growing 3cm a week! She re-measured me and said “Oh yes, about 40cm”. Whatever.

THEN she went to check Boy’s heart rate. But nothing was registering on the doppler. She started to panic, pulling the probe across my tummy. I showed her where to locate his heart beat. But it still wasn’t registering on the monitor… She blamed the machine and said it must be broken. But it wasn’t broken, SHE HADN’T PUT GEL ON THE PROBE! Struth.

THEN! I asked if she was going to examine me. Especially considering the contractions and pains I’ve been experiencing. She said she wasn’t allowed due to “policy”. I was completely under the illusion that you were given an internal at 40 weeks, to check your cervix/dilation?! Apparently not at my hospital! Or was it the case that she wasn’t supervised?! So frustrated!! And it’s doing nothing for my Oxytocin levels!

So I’m not very happy. At all.

My next appointment will be for my sweep at Broomfield Hospital on Wednesday 1st August. But hey, Boy is DEFINITELY coming this weekend, so we won’t be attending that appointment 😉

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/40weeks/

After months of anticipation, your due date has been and gone, and… you’re still pregnant. It’s frustrating, but lots of women find themselves in this situation. Your baby continues to shed the greasy, white substance (vernix caseosa) which has been protecting his skin. If he shows no sign of making an appearance after another week, he may have slightly dry skin when he arrives.

Your baby has mastered all the skills he’ll need after he’s born. He can instinctively search for his thumb and suck it, just as he will search for your breast for a feed soon after birth.

 

MM.

 

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 39 Weeks Pregnant.

Here we are at 38 + 1 weeks pregnant at the Day Assessment Unit in Broomfield Hospital.

Baby size at 39 weeks: 50 cm long.

Baby weight at 39 weeks:  7.2 + lbs

——————————————————————————————-

Me and the internet have been having a somewhat long distance relationship the last fortnight! I’ve been absolutely EXHAUSTED. I’ve been getting up around 4-5 times a night for a wee (HOW?!) and been snoozing throughout the day. Aside from when I’ve been having hospital appointments and meeting the girls from my NCT group!

So, I’m just a week away from my due date. I REALLY thought Boy would have arrived by now. Considering how big he is! But clearly, he’s just far too cosy in there.

Last week I went to the doctors about my rash (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) who was beyond blasé about the whole thing. By Saturday of last week, I’d scratched myself so badly I was drawing blood. I was also struggling with my SPD, so we took a trip up to the Day Assessment Unit at Broomfield to seek their advice. I was taken to an assessment room and hooked up to a monitor for 45 mins. I had lots and lots of tests done. But the doctors were not concerned about my rash – it’s quite common and will disappear after Boy arrives. What they were concerned about was the fact I’m still measuring big! I was measuring just over 41 weeks. So went for a growth scan on Wednesday of this week while we awaited results for late onset Gestational Diabetes. Boy is measuring correctly for 39 weeks… apart from his tummy! He’s a little bit on the chunky side 😀 To us, he sounds absolutely SCRUMMY! The scan, at so far into my pregnancy, was incredible! You could see his spiky hair at the back of his head! But because he was so big and squashed, you really couldn’t see as much as on earlier scans. SO, it’s back to the waiting game!

Boy is still head down (good boy) and is 2/5th palpable – which means only 2/5th’s of his head can now be felt above my pelvis. So that’s good.

We REALLY hope he arrives soon – we’re beyond impatient! 🙁

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/39weeks/

It’s all about watching and waiting now, as your baby could arrive any day. Your baby could be up to 50cm long, and weigh about 3kg.

The hair on your baby’s head may now be thick, and his fingernails extend beyond his fingertips. They may look long when he’s born. Your baby’s skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap as he passes through the birth canal during labour. This is the reason your baby’s head may look cone-shaped after birth.

 

MM.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 37 Weeks Pregnant // Full Term!

Here we are at 36 + 3 weeks pregnant! Not long now!

Baby size at 37 weeks: 49 cm long.

Baby weight at 37 weeks:  6.1+ lbs

——————————————————————————————-

This week we are FULL TERM! Absolutely ecstatic 😀

So this weekly update comes to you late, again. I had to give the interw3bz the old ‘heave ho’ this last week as I was ACTUALLY resting up! I’m finally listening to what my body wants… Well, I gave in more like.

This week I have somehow managed to develop PUPPP (pruritic uticarial pupules and placques of pregnancy or also known as, polymorphic eruption of pregnancy). With me being small and petite before my pregnancy, my tummy has had a good old stretch into my third trimester, where I started getting stretch marks to my hips, upper thighs and some under my belly button. But that was it…. I had my pregnancy massage last week and noted that some of the stretch marks under my belly button were sore and itchy. Since then, they became REALLY itchy. To point where I have zero self-control and have itched them to the point of bleeding. The stretch marks formed bumpy rashes that have since developed into ‘hive’ like spots. The rashes have spread to my upper and lower (inside) arms, behind my knees and my chest. It’s the most uncomfortable thing ever. PUPPP mixed with SPD has been horrendous. Through false labour into the equation and you have my week pretty much wrapped up!

So what could be causing the PUPPP? Well, PUPPP is more common in mothers with large fundal measurements and/or those who are carrying large babies, twins, and triplets. Certain studies reveal that this condition is more frequent in women carrying boys, although no formal research has been conducted. Statistics cite that 70% percent of PUPPP sufferers deliver boys.

Well, as I have documented throughout my updates, baby boy bump has always measured large (around 5 weeks bigger than the average measurements). In fact, at my last midwife appointment he was described as “larger than average”. So this all adds up. I’ve only been able to lather myself in E45 cream and continued to take Piriton which I was prescribed for my Hayfever. I’ve also tried E45 oil in luke-warm baths (hot water can irritate the rash and make you even more itchy!). It doesn’t seem to be getting any better to be quite truthful, but allegedly it’s another one of those pregnancy ailments that just magically disappear when you finally pop! So fingers crossed!

So as you can probably tell, I am not a happy bunny all-in-all.

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/37weeks/

Your baby is now considered to be “full term”. That means they are capable of feeding and breathing outside the womb without any medical assistance. Your baby is starting to look nice and plump, and will continue putting weight on steadily until they’re born. The new fat stores are keeping their body temperature about 0.3-0.5°C above yours. They’ll need to be wrapped up warmly after they’re born though, otherwise their bare wet skin will lose heat rapidly. Your baby is also showing all the reflexes they will have as a newborn, curling their fingers and toes tightly around objects (grasp reflex) and turning their head and opening their mouth when something touches their cheek (rooting reflex). They’ll need this last reflex to find your nipple once they’re born.
Your baby’s head is now cradled in your pelvic cavity – surrounded and protected by your pelvic bones. This position clears some much-needed space for his growing legs and buttocks. Many babies now have a full head of hair, with locks up to 3.5cm long. And then, of course, some babies don’t have any hair at all. Speaking of hair, most of the downy coat of lanugo that covered your baby from 26 weeks has disappeared, and so has most of the vernix caseosa, the protective whitish substance that also covered him.

 

MM.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 36 Weeks Pregnant

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/36weeks/

Baby size at 36 weeks: 47 cm long.
Baby weight at 36weeks:  5.9+ lbs

——————————————————————————————-

So this has been my first week away from work… it’s been strange. It feels like I’m just on holiday at the minute and have to go back next week! Very surreal.

I’ve had a busy week this week, despite trying to relax. On Monday I went to see a Physio regarding my SPD. There’s literally nothing we can do. I just have to suck it up basically. But the Physio did say that because of the way my coccyx has moved, it’s actually in a better position for labour – along with the fact that all of my ligaments have softened early. It should all make for a more comfortable birth (FINGERS CROSSED!!).

On Tuesday I had a Mummy-To-Be massage! It was incredible! I will be writing a separate post on this.

Wednesday we had a tumble dryer delivered! Considering the weather, we can’t really use the whirlygig (as much as I’d love to!) and we just won’t have the space to hang the laundry to dry around the house soon – so it made sense! Especially as I’ll be washing A LOT more soon!

Yesterday I had my standard Midwife appointment. Baby boy is still measuring up big – 38 and half weeks! The Midwife also pointed out that Baby Boy feels “larger than average”. OH DEAR. She also said that she thinks he may weigh something in the region of 9 and half lbs at full term. OUCH. I’m only 5 ft 1, so it’s absolutely no wonder I’ve been in agony with my pelvis! He’s a heavy boy! Baby Boy has also slid further into my pelvis and is sitting “low”. Aside from that, everything is absolutely normal.

I then met up with some of the lovely ladies from my NCT group and we went along to a session called ‘Bumps and Babes’ in Brentwood. The four of us were the only bumps there… but there were lots of babes! It was so so nice to catch up with the girls from my group, outside of the group and without partners! But it was also great to observe new mum’s and their beautiful babies for the afternoon. It was a great insight into how babies behave and react in the early early months… and made us all feel a lot more positive about taking our brand new baba’s out. Added bonus was coffee and cake! Yummy. Will hopefully be able to go next week too.

Feeling-wise, I’m still suffering with my SPD. It’s really painful after walking… and when I get up first thing. I’ve had another increase in Braxton Hicks and been getting stabbing pains in my undercarriage – apparently all normal.

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Any time now, your baby might start to move down lower in the pelvis, getting ready to be born. This is called ‘lightening’. Your little one weighs around 6lb this week and is about 47cm long.

MM.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 35 Weeks Pregnant

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/35weeks/

Baby size at 35 weeks: 46.2 cm long.
Baby weight at 35weeks:  5.2+ lbs

——————————————————————————————-

This was my final week at work… and what a stressful week it has been. So so glad that I’m on my leave now! I can finally get my feet up and rest properly, without checking emails, without worrying what’s happening in the office! PHEW.

This week, my SPD has been mostly situated at the front of my pelvis which has been really painful. Especially on a morning after waking up,when it feels really stiff. OUCH. I have my first Physio appointment at the hospital on Monday 25th – so hopefully that will bring me some restbite.

I’ve also noticed a massive increase in ‘stabbing pains’ through the front of my pelvis, that radiate right under my undercarriage and through to my coccyx. Apparently, it’s just practice cervix movement! Scary, but really good to know that everything is progressing as it should be.

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

This week sees the start of your baby’s most rapid period of weight gain. Your baby’s ability to control their own temperature is well developed so they no longer need the protective layers of vernix and lanugo. The downy lanugo has almost gone now although some babies are born with patches on their shoulders and back. The vernix will gradually disappear over the next few weeks. His elbows, feet or head may protrude from your stomach when he stretches and squirms about. Soon, as the wall of your uterus (womb) and your belly stretch thinner and let in more light, your baby will begin to develop daily activity cycles.

Your baby’s lungs are finally fully developed now and the digestive system is ready to cope with a milk diet. The gut is filled with a dark green sticky substance called meconium. This is made up of waste matter that your baby has ingested along with amniotic fluid. It usually forms the contents of the first few nappies after birth, but if your baby becomes distressed during labour it may be passed into the amniotic fluid.

MM.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 34 Weeks Pregnant


This is us at 33+3 weeks pregnant, this week. As you can see, we have a HUGE baby bump!


Baby size at 34 weeks: 45 cm long.
Baby weight at 34 weeks: 4.8+ lbs
——————————————————————————————-

This week I’ve been on annual leave from work and it’s been BLISS. I’ve had my feet up every day and actually relaxed!! I have no idea how I’m going to go back to work next week!! Albeit, it is my FINAL WEEK! So I’m sure I’ll be fine ;o

I’ve continued to struggle with my SPD. Quite badly. I’ve been reluctantly taking paracetamol and rotating between hot water bottle and bath. But at least I have been off work and able to relax. I’m definitely going to miss my bath when I’m back to work next week! What will I do?!?!

I went to see the Midwife for a standard appointment yesterday. I’m still measuring big – 36 and a half weeks at 33+5 weeks. Which isn’t too bad, and she did say it does just feel like we have a lot of fluid as Baby Boy doesn’t feel particularly ‘big’. PHEW. Another thing is… Baby Boy is in the “Brim”! Which means his head is engaged. This all means things are progressing normally – I do think we’re all convinced he’s coming early regardless. My bets are on Week 37!

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/34weeks/

Your baby’s fingernails have grown up to, or even beyond, the ends of their fingers and they may accidentally scratch themselves from time to time (it’s not unusual for babies to be born with scratch marks on their faces). The toenails will take a while to catch up.

Baby might be lying head down already. He will be making lots of little movements but you won’t feel so many big ones – there’s just no room for lots of somersaults any more.

MM.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 33 Weeks Pregnant

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/33weeks/

Baby size at 33 weeks: 44 cm long.

Baby weight at 33 weeks: 4+ lbs

——————————————————————————————-

What an absolutely awful week. I cannot tell you how much pain I’ve been in with SPD. I wrote a post on how I’ve been suffering, here>> Woe is me… I have SPD. I do feel slightly better today. But the pain in my coccyx is still there… being all resilient.

I didn’t manage to get to sleep until 5am this morning with Braxton Hicks. Pretty sure Baby Boy is ready to come, he’s moved really low down and I keep feeling a lot of pressure downstairs. But he’s not fully cooked yet, so he’s being warned (daily) to keep put… at least until 37 weeks anyway 🙂

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

You may be able to tell the difference between a jab from your baby’s elbow and a nudge from their knee these days. And you may sometimes be amazed at how much your bump visibly moves.

Your baby’s sleep patterns are similar to that of a newborn now and they spend more time in REM (short for Rapid Eye Movement) sleep than older children and adults. In REM sleep our eyelids flicker and we dream so it’s possible that your baby is spending much of their time dreaming!Your baby’s skull is still quite pliable.

The plates of bone that make up his skull have not completely fused. This is so he can ease out of the relatively narrow birth canal, the passage between your cervix and the opening of your vagina. But the bones in the rest of his body are hardening. Your baby’s skin is also gradually becoming less red and wrinkled as fat builds up underneath.

MM.

IMG_E6137

Weekly Update: 32 Weeks Pregnant // My birthday!

32 weeks on my birthday evening out 🙂

Baby size at 32 weeks: 42 cm long.

Baby weight at 32 weeks: 3+ lbs

——————————————————————————————-

Today is my birthday! Which also marks 8 weeks until D-Day! HECKERS.

Another tough week I’m afraid! I’ve had such a busy time with work, I just don’t feel like I’m resting… in fact, I’m not resting. As I write this I have just 9 more (non-consecutive) days left in the office. And they cannot come fast enough. I’ve had increased back pain this week – with aching low down on my coccyx. Ouchy! I also had to visit the doctor on Monday for Hayfever relief! I didn’t even think about not being able to take my usual tablets (Zirtek). So was prescribed Piriton, along with my usual nasal spray and eye drops. But aside from this, I’ve felt not half bad!

Tonight we’re going for a curry at our favourite Indian restaurant; Tayaabs. Let’s hope it doesn’t set anything off, because I *still* haven’t packed my hospital bag! *WRISTS FIRMLY SLAPPED*.

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/32weeks/

Although his lungs won’t be fully developed until just before birth, your little one is busy inhaling amniotic fluid to exercise his lungs. From 32 weeks, babies born early have good chance of surviving and thriving. His skin is becoming soft and smooth as he plumps up in preparation for birth.

Some babies have a head of hair already, others have only a few wisps. Thick hair at birth doesn’t necessarily mean thick hair later on. But children with fine hair in childhood also tend to have fine hair when they’ve grown up.

MM.