Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nutrition, India and Pregnancy

I had a meeting with a nutritionist today because some prego-related blood work suggested my protein and iron levels were on the low side. Not worryingly low, but just a little low. My guess is that since we eat mostly a vegetarian diet here, which I've never done before, I'm not very good about balancing things.

The good news is, we don't have to change much - the two major things are to add a side dish of lentil or other legume to each meal and to add some moong or chick pea sprouts. I'm not really sure on what the sprout thing means, but Sarwary knew exactly what I was talking about, so I guess that's what counts. The harder part will be adding more leafy green veggies, since Greg is not a fan of those ... but perhaps Sarwary can just make a batch for me on the side.

The other main suggestion is the same as what all the books and websites and doctors in the US say: eat smaller meals every four hours or so to even out sugar and energy levels. We'll see how that can be incorporated into my work schedule (it was much easier when I was a student to do that!), but I can certainly try.

The embassy doctor from Delhi, my doctor here, and the nutritionist think I've gained about one kilo (2.2lbs) too much so far, but none of them are worried. It is reassuring when three different independent doctors all tell you the same thing, however!

I also learned that the main foods not recommended for pregnant women here are unripe papaya (causes miscarriage - but the fructose in ripe papaya apparently balances out the enzyme that causes miscarriage in unripened fruit) and coconut chutney. I'm not really sure why on the coconut, but I don't eat that much of it anyway, so it's not that big a deal.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In order to eat raw fruits and veggies

There have been requests for more information on daily life. So, I decided to take some pictures of the process of eating raw fruits and veggies, which, admittedly, we don't do often because of the effort involved. The first picture below is of: (1) the bleach bowl where the veggies soak for 20 minutes then (2) the rinse bowl, rinsing in bottled water, of course.
Luckily, because there is no cold storage here, everything tastes fresh and fantastic when washed. As you can see from the close up below, the colors are beautiful, too. This is a selection of various chilis, tomatoes, baby cucumbers (the round yellow and green striped things), carrots and apples.
Usually I only make the effort for apples, honestly, and everything else gets cooked. I suppose I could ask Sarwary to wash and clean everything if I really wanted fresh, raw fruits and veggies. But, honestly, I don't always trust even the bleach to kill the bad germs, so I've mostly just given up salad an unpealed fruits and vegetables for the duration of our stay here. Luckily, most fruits have a peal!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Summer Golfing

Golf takes a lot of practice.  I'm reminded of that every time I try to play.  But yesterday's round was noteworthy not so much because of the game as because of the conditions.  We started at 10:30am under a sunny sky and with a pleasant breeze.  After a few holes, a threesome passed us, and I realized that we hadn't seen any other players.  Pam later said that she didn't see anyone from her perch at the pool (where William played for four hours), and we didn't see anyone for the rest of our round, either.  By the end I understood why.  The breeze died down, the sun got hotter (102 degrees the time I checked), my muscles remembered that they hadn't golfed in two years, and my hands were covered in blisters from the clubs.  On one of the rare occasions when I found a ball that I had hit into the scrub, a lizard was sunning itself on top of the ball.  I hardly sweat at all, but drank four bottles of water and a soda, and still felt dehydrated by the end.  Still, it was nice to be outside, and the company was good.  Most importantly, William had a great time at the pool.  

Things I would rather not see before 7AM on Sunday

1. A girl about 8 years old out sweeping a driveway. I know she's likely the daughter of a servant of the house she was sweeping by her clothing (very well worn) and hair (not combed). It's hard walking Bagwelle at quarter of 7 and being reminded of the conditions some live in - especially children.

2. Lots of little bugs in my flour canister - both mature and larvae. I had hoped to make some fresh banana bread this morning since the bananas I asked Sarwary to purchase 3 days ago are perfect over-ripeness right now. Unfortunately, we'll have to go buy some fresh flour first. I even tried sifting it, but some tiny larvae still got through ... so the whole canister had to be tossed.

Luckily, the import grocery store had a Betty Crocker blueberry muffin mix for sale last week, which I had purchased. So, I could still make blueberry muffins from a mix, even if the banana bread project has been postponed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A new record

William was a total rock head this morning, sleeping until 8:15! Of course, Friday night was an early night for me and Greg - we were asleep by 11. Why can William not have his rock head mornings after we've actually been out late the night before? The toddler-sleeping gods do not always bless us with such logic. We will, however, take the lazy morning checking email, reading the paper and updating the blog without complaint.

Needless to say, the $20 invested last week in block-out curtains was well spent!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sonogram results

Sorry to leave some of you hanging - I've received quite a few emails! The sonogram two weeks ago went well. I'm happy to report the experience was nothing like getting my blood tests done - and from now on any blood work I need I'll just drive to the maternity hospital for, even if it does add 20 minutes each way to the trip. The ultrasound machine was the exact same one used at Georgetown, from what I could tell, and the tech who took my blood to complement the ultrasound results used the purel-equivalent before touching me without being prompted. Both aspects much to my relief!

As for the results themselves, for all intents and purposes they came back negative for any birth defects. Since I'm under 35 and in a low-risk category based on my past pregnancy, we opted to only do a nuchal scan (sonogram + blood test) which tells the percentage chance of various defects - it does not give a definitive yes or no. However, as with William (when he used to be Ralph), the results said that the chance of this baby having any defects that they can test for is something like 1 in 1,000,000,000. Well, maybe not that low, but you get the point. There definitely wasn't any need for further tests, given the risks associated with amniocentesis and the like. Good news!

Many have also been asking if we'll find out the sex of the baby. We had been thinking maybe this time around we might, but since it now looks like we'll be staying in India for delivery, we won't be. Why? Because it's against the law here. We had to sign a consent form saying we wouldn't ask the doctor and that we understood that if we did, it was an offense punishable by law. And that the doctor can also be prosecuted for telling us. Female feticide / infanticide is such a big problem here, the government takes this very seriously. So, Floyd's gender will remain a surprise!

We took William to see the sonogram. He thought it was so funny to see the "baby jumping" on the screen. Then he started jumping on the examining table, too. And for the next few days, he would point at my tummy and say "baby jumping!". I think he may have forgotten now, but we'll have to make sure to take him to any appointments that will involve a sonogram so he gets used to the idea of a new baby coming. We also took Sarwary since she had never seen an ultrasound - she was amazed that you could already see all the fingers and toes and eyes and everything even though the baby was only about 1" long. Quite the fun for everyone.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

No sleep till Monday

Every day when we come home from work, Sarwari tells us how nicely William slept.  Everyday, he sleeps from 1pm to 4pm, except the days he goes to sleep at noon or wakes up at 5.  But 1-4pm M-F might as well not exist for him, given how little he's awake at that time.  

Weekends are different.  Unless we muster early and get to a park or something in the morning, we usually don't leave the house.  Since William's bored, he often gets to sleep closer to noon than 1.  But he doesn't sleep until 4.  Sometimes he sleeps for an hour, sometimes two, but almost never the full 3 hours on a weekend.  This makes Sarwari very upset, and she sometimes tries to get him back to sleep.  That happened yesterday, but then the power went off and the a/c with it.  Thus ended that effort, and thus began one of his usual grumpy, tired weekend afternoons.  

Today, in an attempt to exhaust the boy so that he got his full afternoon nap, we went to the Marriott with a friend for breakfast.  Deepna was very nice to humor us by rousing herself for an 8:30 departure on a Sunday, and then to keep one of us company at breakfast while the other played in the pool with William.  He probably had a total of an hour or an hour and a half in the pool, playing hard most of the time.  He was clearly tired in the car, and looked like he was about to fall asleep as soon as we got home.  He kept himself up until 1pm, then went to sleep.  We figured surely with him that tired he'd take his full three hour nap.  But 2:15 rolled around, and there he was, ready to face the rest of the day.  At least today he's in a good mood.   And with Sean bringing two dogs to the house (William's favorite, Abi, and Sean's new puppy), the boy should be occupied enough to keep him reasonably happy.  Knock wood.