Rory’s Birth Story

Only two years after my last blog post, and two and a half years after the birth of his sweet sister, Rory John Vos has arrived.

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Before I continue with the details, please note that this story will contain details about BIRTH, so if you are squeamish, maybe stop reading now rather than later. TLDR: Labor was under three hours and everyone was ok in the end. Now here’s the whole story:

Rory’s birth story begins a few weeks before I imagined it would. This time around, I was determined to take the doctor’s “you’re never going to make it to your due date” warnings with a huge grain of salt and enjoy the end of pregnancy and the last of Ruby’s and my days as just the two of us. What actually happened was: I saw a different doctor at my 37-week checkup, who worried the baby was getting too large and sent me in for an ultrasound. This really disrupted my vision of playing it cool at the end of my pregnancy. I worried they were going to intervene and that it was totally unnecessary to worry, since he was probably a completely normal-sized baby.

I spoke with my own doctor at my 38-week appointment (mid-February), and she suggested that if I were still pregnant by March 9 (the day before my due date), which was her day on-call at the hospital, we would induce. My heart sank. I immediately worried she meant Pitocin and imagined another 12 long hours of active labor. She said she hoped breaking my water would be all it would take, but I was still nervous and frustrated that we couldn’t just wait for the baby to decide on his own when to come.

I spent the next week agonizing about whether to even agree to the induction and reading about interventions for large babies, alternatives, and castor oil. By my 39-week appointment, I had been having contractions, very cute, dainty contractions, every day for several days. I was hopeful he would come any day, but I had also finally come to terms with the idea of inducing on the 9th if he was still in there. It seemed nice to be able to sleep and eat before labor began, and to be able to schedule a sitter (thank you, Sue! and everyone else who was willing to help!) and prepare Ruby for what lay ahead with certainty for when it would actually happen. (She had spent many nights restless at bedtime because she was worried about us leaving for the hospital.)

That week, I had contractions (the adorable kind) every day in addition to a host of other symptoms that the internet says may or may not imminently preclude labor. But still, no baby.

So Wednesday, March 9, we called in to the hospital at 6:30am to see when they wanted us to come in, nervous that they wouldn’t have a room for us, or wouldn’t want us to come in until noon. They wanted us at 7:30am, so we quickly ate breakfast, gave Ruby lots of hugs and kisses and said goodbye, and headed off to the hospital.

They settled us into a room (we were the only ones in the Birth Center!), and by 8:45am, my doctor had broken my water. They decided not to give me any other drugs (we had discussed misoprostol), since I was already 3.5cm dilated. We assumed it would take a while for things to get going (we even brought games because last time it took 4 hours for the contractions to really get going), but within literally minutes I was having some contractions that grew with intensity each time. Within a half an hour, they were three minutes apart and stopped me in my tracks. We turned on Sandra McCracken’s Psalms album to help me chill out.

By 11am, the contractions were coming quickly and intensely, and the nurse popped in to tell me that if I was feeling constant pressure to let her know, because she would have me checked by the resident. I told her I was feeling pretty constant pressure; the resident check me, and I was already at 6-7cm dilated. The next half hour was the dreaded transition (when your cervix dilates all the way to 10cm). It was pretty rough, not that that’s surprising. I told Elliot, “Remind me about this part next time I want to have a baby!” By this point, I was hands and knees on the birthing bed, white-knuckling the raised back of the bed, and the contractions were on top of each other, no rest in between, each one worse than the one before. Elliot and our amazing doula, Bridget, helped me stay on top of each one with encouraging words and massage. I had been throwing up, and I was sweating like I was running a marathon. So much fun! I got up for a moment, and by 11:30am, I’m pretty sure I said “This baby is coming RIGHT NOW!” So Bridget went to get the doctor.

I climbed back up onto the birthing bed, hands and knees the only position that offered any relief. They checked me, and I was at 10cm! “You can push with your next contraction,” my doctor told me, “it will feel SO good!” I was glad to hear her say that, because the urge to push was overwhelming. Elliot swears that from here it was only 4 or 5 big pushes. My contractions slowed a little to give my body time to, uh, stretch as Rory made his descent through the birth canal. I remember yelling “He’s getting stuck! Is he stuck? He’s stuck!” because it was so strange to have (what felt like) so much time between the pushing contractions (and I was so worried I would have to get another episiotomy like I did with Ruby). In reality it wasn’t much time at all, and they assured me he wasn’t stuck. Elliot says he could see Rory’s ears come out as he crowned. In five minutes of pushing, Rory John was out with one last push. I remember screaming with joy/pain/elation/terror the moment Ruby was born, and when Rory was born it was sheer joy and determination that caused a crescendo from my coping moans to a sort of primal scream. Both are memories I’ll keep forever.

After that they cut the cord very quickly and took him over to the warmer. We had asked for delayed cord clamping, but I guess when babies come out so quickly, sometimes they get a little stunned, and so Rory needed some attention. Elliot was teary-eyed; I was just flabbergasted, completely fucking gobsmacked that it was only 11:35am and he was here. They laid me down and the doctors went to work stitching me up (2nd-degree tear this time, “a normal amount” of stitches, my doctor said when I asked her how many). I could just see Rory in the warmer, so I focused on watching him, still trying to process that my baby was out and here and safe and alive. They put him on my chest a few minutes later, and we got acquainted. I forgot how squishy and floppy newborns are. He latched onto the breast pretty quickly and snuggled and snuggled for almost two hours, while we called our parents and family before they took him back to weigh and measure him. I think my jaw might have hit the floor when he weighed in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces. That is a HUGE baby! They were right after all – he was big.

Another bit of this story is that I was diagnosed with preeclampsia after he was born. I had some high blood pressure, so they ran some blood work and took a urine sample (it is completely not fair that after my rock star birth, I had to get a catheter for a urine sample – OUCH!), and sure enough, there was protein in my urine, but apparently not enough to panic (?), so they just monitored my blood pressure until I left. I’m fine now.

The nurses got us settled into our room, and Ruby came with Sue to meet him later that afternoon, which was great, because they put tighter visitor restrictions into effect the next day due to the stupid flu. She was sort of unsure about the whole situation, but interested in her new brother.

I spent the rest of the day absolutely in shock that the labor had gone so quickly and reflecting on how it had actually been pretty overwhelming and scary in the middle of it, just because it was so fast and intense. I remember, during transition, running through options in my head to see if there was any way I could get myself out of that situation, but none of the options I came up with would offer immediate relief, so I went forward. The contractions were almost unsettling, both in the moment and remembering them later, they were so intense and big. And yet, I survived.

I felt so relieved that the labor hadn’t been a huge ordeal, and I felt so empowered by pushing with such purpose and determination this time. I had been so nervous that taking 3.5 hours to push Ruby out had been somehow my fault, not the product of sheer exhaustion, that I had felt fearful of the pushing process. But when it came time, this time it was visceral. It was primal. It was natural.

Pretty much immediately after the birth, I told Elliot, “I might be done. That might be it for me.” That stands out so much to me, because right after Ruby was born I just knew I could do it again. It had been pretty terrible pushing for 3.5 hours, but I knew I wanted at least one more and could do it again. Now I’m honestly not so sure, and that’s actually kind of a relief. All through the pregnancy, I wished I knew if it was the last time, and now I feel a sense of peace thinking that it might have been.

Welcoming Rory into our family has been an exhausting joy. He is a thankfully pretty chill dude, and his sister is adjusting about as well as you would expect a 2.5-year-old girl to adjust. She needs one-on-one time with us, and as long as she gets that, she’s pretty happy to have him around. She only asked to take him back once, and that was two weeks ago already! The last few days, she has been more interested in hugging him, kissing him, holding him, and reading to him, all of which are a huge relief and very sweet.

I’m so relieved to say that I have felt so much better during this recovery time. In just the second week postpartum, I could already sit on the floor and do a puzzle with Ruby; last time I was still carrying a pillow around to sit on two weeks in. Now, three weeks postpartum, I feel pretty good! I still have the ups and downs of hormones, and I know I’m still not 100% healed, but I feel like I’m at least on the road to feeling like myself, and I don’t feel so nervous that I’m never going to feel better. Plus, this time my body knows how to nurse. We know how to take care of a newborn already. Those things have made the transition so much easier. Family coming to help has made the transition easier. I’m still nervous about when Elliot goes back to work, but I know we’ll figure it all out together.

Welcome to the world, little boy. We love you so much.


Ruby has started eating solids! We decided to wait until 6 months and do the Baby Led Weaning approach. (Note that the word weaning is not meant in the sense of replacing nursing yet, but just in adding solid foods.) So far, we are having lots of fun!

So far, Ruby has tried:

  • Avocado
  • Steamed apple
  • Steamed butternut squash
  • Chicken (white meat)
  • Banana
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • Plain whole milk yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple sauce

It’s amazing to watch her navigate picking things up and getting them into her mouth, and she has gotten better at those skills even just in the two weeks since we began. You have to cut the pieces big enough that she can hold them (lesson learned – the first day I cut things too thin and they all broke), and small enough that she won’t choke. She tends to get the pieces in her mouth and then suck on them a bit. She isn’t actually swallowing a whole lot yet, but I know she’s getting some (ahem, I do see what’s in her diapers), and it’s really about exploration at this stage.

The oatmeal is fun because I prepared some regular rolled oats with less water, and rolled it into little nuggets. She really seems to like that a lot! The yogurt and apple sauce are the only things I’ve tried with a spoon so far, and she is always eager to grasp the spoon and put it in her mouth herself, which makes me glad we are going the BLW route!

It’s a bit messy, but she seems to make more of a mess of the things she eats off a spoon, so it’s really just picking the chunks out of her highchair when she drops things, and being ready with a wet cloth at the end. The first day, we stripped her down and really let her go wild, so she did get pretty messy, but since then, she’s been doing pretty well with all a cloth bib underneath a Tommy Tippee rubber bib.

I am just loving watching Ruby grow! She is learning new things every day, and it is just so cool.


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Sweet Potato Obsession

Well, people, I think maybe I love sweet potatoes. I’ve had them for lunch almost every day for the past few weeks. Here’s how I do ’em:

15-Minute Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Thanks, Mom, for the recipe!
1 sweet potato
1-2T olive oil
spices of your choosing (I like cayenne pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, salt)

Peel and cut the sweet potato into bite-size chunks. Toss the chunks in olive oil and spices in a medium bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring once in the middle.
Transfer to a small baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes, stirring once.

These are soft and tasty. I like them for lunch with cheesy scrambled eggs and a piece of whole grain toast. Good for a cold winter’s day!

The Best Baked Oatmeal

I just discovered baked oatmeal this past fall, and I think I’m in love. I love the texture oatmeal gets when it’s baked up with some milk, apple sauce, and egg (not too squishy). I love it with a dollop (or two) of smooth vanilla yogurt on top. I like mine with blueberries, frozen after a summer’s day picking, baked right in, jammy and hot.

Thanks to Sue for the original recipe, adapted here.
Serves 4-6
2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tblsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1-1 1/2 cups mix-ins (I like blueberries, no need to thaw if frozen; other options would be nuts, raisins, dried or fresh cranberries, apple chunks, etc.)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease an 8×8 square baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and brown sugar. In a two-cup measuring cup, measure your apple sauce and fill to the 2-cup line with milk. Add vanilla and egg and beat lightly with a fork (Note: the original recipe also has 2 tblsp melted butter, but I forgot to put it in this morning and didn’t notice at all. Thus, I have omitted it.). Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla yogurt on top.

Double the recipe for a 9×13 pan, if you’re willing to share that much.

Maybe someday I will start posting pictures with recipes! Keep dreaming, for now.

My Very Own Chili

Guys, for a long time I thought I just didn’t like chili that much. Then I made this one. I became a little obsessed with the chunks of squash and turnip in it. I loved the spice and the depth of flavor. But I still wanted to make it my own, so obviously, I added meat.

This chili is thick and hearty. It’s spicy but not too much. It’s chunky, but in a good way, and today, it won 2nd place in the prestigious Artisan “Super Football Party” chili cook-off! Enjoy.

My Very Own Chili
Very loosely based on The Kitchn’s Pumpkin Chili

4 slices bacon, cooked and set aside, grease reserved
1 pound ground beef, cooked
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup corn meal, finely ground if you have it
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
4 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
3 cups broth (chicken, vegetable, etc.)
1 can each (drained): dark red kidney beans, light red kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans
2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Sriracha to taste (I like 3 or 4 good squirts)
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
A few dashes balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Cook the bacon until crispy in the bottom of a large stock pot. Remove the bacon strips (leave the grease), and add the onion, corn meal, and tomato paste, and stir well. Stir in garlic and parsnips, and cook for 3 or 4 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, broth, beans, corn, bacon (chop it up), and cooked ground beef. Then add in the spices, sriracha, Worcestershire, and balsamic. Bring to a simmer and leave on a low stove for as many hours as you’ve got. I like to start this around noon, and have it for dinner.

Serve with a little sour cream and sharp cheddar cheese. I love the warmth you get from the cinnamon and nutmeg, and the complex heat you get from the various types of pepper powders.

It’s a great winter meal, and it just gets better leftover for lunch in the following days!

Ruby’s Birth Story

It’s been a little over two months since Ruby was born, and as you can imagine, I’ve been a bit busy. But I’ve been wanting to sit down and write out the story of her birth, so here it is. Please do not read on if you do not want to hear a detailed description of birth.

Ruby was due on September 5th. For the few weeks before her birth, doctors at my OB practice were telling me (among warnings that I had a “big baby” in there…not helpful, OBs!) that I was a few centimeters dilated, almost completely effaced, and I could expect the baby to come any time. I think that made the wait even worse. Several friends had all had their babies early that summer, and I was just sure she was on her way soon.

I scheduled a Non-Stress Test (NST) for September 6th, thinking no way would I make it that long. Well, I did. The due date came and went with no baby. I showed up for my NST the morning of the 6th and sat in the chair to get hooked up for the test. The nurse took my blood pressure. Then she took my blood pressure again. She asked if I normally have high blood pressure. No, I said. She called my doctor to let them know my blood pressure was up, and my OB said she’d like me to go to the hospital to have it monitored.

I called Elliot. “They want me to go to the hospital to have my blood pressure monitored. I guess it’s a little high. I can just call you when I’m done,” I said. “No,” he said, “you can come get me right now. I’m going with you.” What a sweet husband. I went and picked him up before heading over to the hospital.

I gave my doula a call and let her know the situation. She confirmed that she thought they would just monitor me and send me home. When we arrived at the hospital, we checked in and a really nice, pretty nurse came in to do some testing. She said my BP didn’t look so bad, and thought they’d probably send me home, but she’d check with the doctor on call.

Soon, the on-call doctor came into our room where we were waiting. “So, do you want to have a baby today?” she asked. I thought she was making a joke, so I said, “Yeah, of course!” She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Ok, this is what’s going to happen,” and started explaining how she wanted to induce my labor that afternoon. I was honestly shocked. I wasn’t unhealthy, and I wasn’t that far past my due date, and I really, really did not want to be induced. Thankfully, she listened to my concerns, and explained that my high blood pressure was caused by a placental issue, and that she was concerned that if they let me go any further, I could develop pre-eclampsia, and there was no reason to let me get sick and endanger the baby’s and my health. After talking with her, I felt like it was probably the right call and agreed. She gave me the option of just breaking my water, but said that she thought that would take too long, and I would get tired laboring all night. She suggested breaking the water and giving me just a little Pitocin. I explained that I had read it gives you pretty bad contractions and would prefer not to have it. She said that it’s bio-chemically the same as what your body releases to create contractions, and she thought I’d be ok.

I was a little worried about that, but agreed. They got me set up in a delivery room, and then the doctor came back in, said she’d thought about it some more, and had decided the right choice was not to go with Pitocin, but something called misoglandin (which I spent the rest of the day calling miso soup), which is an oral version of a ripener that they sometimes will stick up a lady’s vag. Thankfully, my cervix was quite ripe and ready to go, I just needed a little nudge apparently, and she thought the misoglandin would do the trick. I would have to be monitored while I was on it though, which was ok. Hopefully it would only be for four hours, and then my body would take over and I could be off the monitors.

It was then I realized my grave mistake in not stopping for the largest meal I could consume on the way to the hospital. While the nurses were out of the room, I inhaled the few snacks I had with me in my purse, cursing my choice of a bagel for breakfast that morning (already now 5 hours earlier) and not something more rich in protein.

They broke my water (that’s a pretty weird experience) and gave me the misoglandin around 2pm, I think, and hooked me up to the monitor. The nurse assigned to me was super nice. Bethany (our awesome doula) met us at the hospital, stopping first at our house to pick up our hospital bags. Unfortunately, Elliot didn’t realize there were two, so we only got the diaper bag, and not the bag with extra clothes in it for Elliot and me, snacks, etc. Oh well. The three of us hung around in the hospital room, playing Ticket to Ride on the iPad (I won!), and laughing about this and that. Finally, around 5pm, my contractions started in earnest. Thankfully, since we had Bethany with us, the nurse kind of left us alone for the most part. When they came back to assess my progress around 6, they were glad to see my contractions were getting closer together, and that my body had seemed to take over from the drug, so they let me go off the monitor. They even let me have a little granola bar as a snack! I was so thankful. The doctor said if I didn’t keep progressing as she wanted, they’d have to give me more drugs, but thankfully my body totally took over. Bethany and I took a walk while Elliot went down to get some dinner. The contractions were getting worse; we had to stop each time one started. It made what I had thought were contractions earlier that week seem so cute. And later, these would seem cute too.

I took another walk or two, I think, and spent some time in the bath in my room. The best part about being off the monitor was definitely being allowed to go in the bath. It was so soothing. I made Bethany and Elliot tell me funny stories, and tuned them out during contractions. The next thing I knew, the contractions were getting way worse. They were getting more intense, and closer together. I was also throwing up quite a bit thanks to some heavy nausea, so they gave me something for it that they promised wouldn’t affect my labor; it would just help me not vomit. I asked Bethany to remind me why I had decided to do without an epidural, and she quietly ticked off the reasons in my ear, massaging my back all the while.

The next thing I remember is feeling like I had to pee and poop frequently (all that pressure), so I was hanging out in the bathroom, riding the contractions as best I could. I was going to my zen place, and insisted we turn off the lights and music. I would have thought I’d like a soundtrack, but I just wanted peace. Even Karin and Linford were too much. I think we stood in the bathroom for quite a while. I would hug Elliot and bury my face in his chest during each contraction. It felt good to hang on him. And Bethany would squeeze my hips each time a contraction started. That also felt good. As good as anything can feel during what I later realized was transition. I do remember saying at one point, “Why do people do this!? Why do people do this multiple times?!” and “This is bullshit! It’s really bad and I haven’t even hit transition yet!” I saw Elliot and Bethany give each other a look over my shoulder and realized maybe I’d already hit it.

At some point during the evening, they had assigned a different nurse to me, and this one was quite talkative. She was awesome, but sometimes wanted to tell me or Bethany a story during a contraction. I remember sharply telling her “ME NOW” during a contraction when she was talking and I needed everyone to focus on me. I think that was the meanest I got, even in the midst of it.

Around 1am perhaps, I was starting to push without really realizing it. When the doctor came in to check me again, she said, “How many centimeters do you want to be?” “ALL THE CENTIMETERS” I said. She told me I was 9.5 centimeters (!!), and almost ready to start pushing for real, but that I had to wait, because I had an “anterior lip” and we’d need it to work itself out. For the next 20 minutes, Bethany laid next to me in bed (bless her) while I said “pop pop pop pop” during each contraction to stop myself from pushing. The urge to push was overwhelming.

When the doctor came back, I was at 10 centimeters and ready to push. I had really wanted to be upright to push to let gravity help, but I was pretty tired. I tried pushing on my hands and knees, and then I tried squatting, holding on to the bar at the end of the bed, but once they laid me back down to check me again, I stayed there. It was the middle of the night, and I was exhausted. I pushed during the contractions and slept in the few minutes in between each one. Elliot and Bethany lifted my legs up and down, placing them on the bar when I needed to push. I was so, so tired that I couldn’t even lift them very well myself. The doctors and Bethany coached me during the pushing and cheered for me when I finished each push. It was kind of neat having such an enthusiastic cheering section! I pushed for 3.5 hours. Finally they could see her coming, and I asked if she had hair. She did! They said it was dark, and that helped motivate me to keep going. I guess she got a little stuck coming around the corner of the birth canal, and finally the doctor said, “I think we need to give you a little episiotomy”. “I don’t think that’s a very good idea!” I said, and she laughed. She gave me a few more pushes to try without the episiotomy, but in the end, it was necessary. Ruby was coming out with the top of her head first, instead of the back of her head, which would have been easier.

Finally at 5:06am on September 7th, she slid out, and I screamed with joy and surprise! Elliot burst into tears and kept saying, “You did it, honey, you did it!” I wanted her on my chest right away, but she had sucked in some of the fluid on her way out and the NICU nurses needed to suck it out. I just kept yelling, “Her name is Ruby Jane! That’s my daughter, and her name is Ruby Jane!” in a voice hoarse from growling and moaning during labor. I had Bethany take a picture of her and show me on her iPod so I could see her sweet face.


Finally they brought her to me and put her on my chest. It was an incredible feeling. She was so new and tiny. Within a half hour, she latched onto my breast, which was so encouraging. She was beautiful and tiny and perfect. She weighed in at 8 pounds 0.0 ounces, and 22.5 inches, including the conehead she had. She would soon shrink to 21 inches. Eventually they wrapped her up, and Elliot got to hold her. I called my mom, and we cried on the phone. We called Elliot’s parents, my dad, and at some point, our siblings, I think. It’s all kind of a blur.


Maybe around 7, they wheeled me down to our recovery room, and we tried to take a nap. I don’t think I slept at all really, since Ruby cried as I rested my eyes. I fed and snuggled her instead of napping. I had been awake for 24 hours at that point. We ate breakfast (finally, food!!!) and around 9, the nurse came in and offered to take Ruby so we could sleep; they had to test her bilirubin levels anyway. I agreed, and we got like two whole hours of sleep before our family arrived.

It was twelve hours of active labor, and it was all pretty incredible. I remember a few minutes after she was born I thought, “Well, that wasn’t so bad, I guess. I could maybe do it again.” The recovery and all the hormones swarming around me the next few weeks were pretty rough – I’m not going to lie. I needed help the first few days just getting to the bathroom and in and out of the shower. My arms were really weak from holding my legs during the pushing, and I am still not completely healed from my stitches (9 weeks later). But, assuming I do feel 100% someday, I would do it again. Being a mom is an incredible challenge, but I want Ruby to have at least one sister or brother.

People ask if I miss being pregnant, and I really don’t. Sometimes I miss making my own schedule, instead of following Ruby’s or running out real quick to run an errand, or drinking wine whenever I please, but the feeling of nursing Ruby, holding Ruby, seeing her smile and being her mom is the most incredible (and difficult) thing I could ever have imagined.

Pregnancy Recap – First Trimester

We are only three-ish weeks away from our little girl’s due date, so I thought I should finally post the pregnancy memories I wrote down about 2 months ago. Here are some thoughts and milestones from the first trimester:

December 28th, 2012 – After a night of throwing up every 30-60 minutes, I took a pregnancy test, and those two blessed little lines showed up. I had already taken 2 or 3 in the week before, all of which were negative, so I was expecting another negative. When I got back into the guest room where Elliot was sleeping (we were at his parents’), he rolled over and looked at me hopefully. I showed him the stick, and said something like “It’s positive, we’re having a baby!” but very quietly, since we didn’t want to wake everyone. But we were super excited!
January (weeks 5-8) – Queue the nausea! I actually didn’t throw up anymore, but the smell of most foods made me sick. I ate a lot of cereal, toast, and bagels. Carbs were about the only thing that sounded good to me, but I still managed to lose a total of 10 pounds during the first trimester. At 5 1/2 weeks, still such a tender and unsure time in a pregnancy, we told our small group so they could be with us every step of the way. I also slept A LOT. I was so tired, some days I would barely make it home from work before crashing on the couch until dinner time. Elliot was so patient and would even schedule naps into our weekend plans so I could be rested.
On the last weekend in January, Elliot’s parents and my mom and Beetle came up to visit us, and we told them the good news. We were sitting and eating lunch, and Elliot brought up holiday plans, saying that he knew it was early to talk about next holidays, but we weren’t sure how much we’d want to travel (and then I took over) because we’d have a three-month old by then. My mom grabbed me and said “Are you really…?”. I nodded and she burst into happy tears and held me. Everyone was so excited! And I was so tired! I took a long nap that afternoon. They wanted to talk about the baby so much, and I was still wrapping my head around the fact that there would be a baby. It was so nice to share it with them in person, though. The next day, we video-chatted with my dad, and called a few other friends and relatives.
February (weeks 9-12) – February was much the same as far as how I was feeling. We had our friend Bethany take some photos of us with tiny shoes and clothes to use for an announcement, which we posted on Facebook on the 8th, I think. We had just gotten the a great report from our doctor that everything looked good, and we were so ready to tell everyone about the baby! We threw our annual Groundhog Party on the 9th, which was a great party as usual, especially since we had something to celebrate!
February was also the month when I started wearing lots of leggings and skirts, because my old pants weren’t fitting anymore. I bought some maternity leggings, a couple maternity tops, and a belly band, which worked to keep some of my old pairs of pants up. I didn’t feel like I looked a lot different, but my jeans certainly stopped buttoning comfortably by about 9 or 10 weeks.
That’s about all I have to say about that first trimester! Nausea and tiredness….glad that’s over. Second trimester recap coming soon!

Welcome to the Vos Family Blog!

Hello friends! Welcome to the new home of my (Anna’s) sporadic musings. You may notice there are already lots of posts here – Elliot was kind enough to migrate the posts from my old Go Love Serve blog, so feel free to read the old stuff.

As we are about to add a new member to our little family, I thought it would be a good time to make sure we have a spot to grow and share. We are so very excited to be parents and want to be able to post updates as we want and need to!

I will hopefully be posting a few reflections on pregnancy soon, perhaps more for my benefit than anything, but I hope you will enjoy those nonetheless.

Dogfish Head’s Pumpkin Soup (nearly)

For our anniversary this year, Elliot and I went on a road trip to Philadelphia. It’s one of my favorite cities — about an hour south of where I grew up and just feels homey to me. We had a blast staying in Old City, going to South Street, having a cheesesteak, seeing the Dead Sea scrolls at the Franklin Institute. It was wonderful.

But possibly the best part of our trip (well, second only to our incredible meal at Butcher and Singer) happened on the first day, before we even got to Philly. We went to Rehobeth Beach in Delaware, and ate at Dogfish Head’s brewpub. It was magical. The most magical bit was their pumpkin soup with goat cheese. I don’t think it is at all good for you.

I found a recipe online that claims to be the exact recipe. I made their version on Friday night and it was way too sweet. It was like eating spiced pumpkin pie filling. The recipe I found called for one whole cup of sugar and one whole quart of cream. So I made another batch on Saturday (with almost no sugar) and combined it with the batch from Friday night, and it was much more like the soup we had in Delaware. The consistency was creamy but not overly rich, sweet but not saccharin, and thick and filling.

1 stick butter
4 of 5 stalks celery, chopped
4 or 5 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 pint Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 cup water (mix with pumpkin)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2t cinnamon
1/2t nutmeg
1/2t chili powder
1/2t cayenne powder (omit if you don’t like a kick)
3/4 cup heavy cream (or less, your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh goat cheese to garnish (also could use bacon if you like)

1. In a 4-5 quart pot, melt butter and saute celery, carrots, and onion until the onion is translucent and the carrots and celery are soft.

2. Add the beer, and stir to combine. Make sure to scrape up any tasty browned bits of butter or veggies that are stuck to the pot. Then add the sugar, spices, and pumpkin/water mixture. Stir well, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Slowly add the heavy cream, stirring all the while. Using an immersion blender (or working in batches with a traditional blender), blend the soup until smooth.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with goat cheese. Makes 10 or so servings.


Pork Chop with Apple Cider Cream Sauce

Guys. I know. It’s good.

I made this for myself as a late dinner one night after a long evening of baking. I was craving a pork chop, since I basically had cake batter and beer as an appetizer, and fortunately had one thawed in the fridge! I served this to myself with a side of Wegman’s Lazy Person’s Brown Rice and Quinoa blend. I made this for one, but the recipe below is for 2, and could be scaled to fit any number.

2 pork chops
1T butter
1/2 an onion, chopped
garlic, if you like
1/4-1/2 cup apple cider
splash of heavy cream (or half and half, or leave it out), probably 1-2 tablespoons

1. Melt butter and saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.

2. Add pork chops and brown on all sides.

3. Pour in a good splash of apple cider and stir to mix with butter. Allow the apple cider to cook down a bit. It will turn pretty syrupy-looking. Add some more apple cider and flip the pork chops. You want a good pool of apple cider in the pan, but not so the pork is swimming. You also want the apple cider to cook down quite a bit. At this point you may also want to check the temperature of the pork chop. Depending on how thick your chop is, it may be done already (at 145F). If it’s not done yet, you can cover it and throw it in a 350F oven (if you happen to have it on already), or you can keep it on the stove. When it reaches 145F, go to step 4.

4. Using tongs (or a fork), plate your pork chops. Drizzle in your heavy cream, stirring all the while. Once sauce has reached a light brown color, cook for 30 seconds and then pour it over the pork chops on the plates.

5. Enjoy! I think this would go really well not only with the rice/quinoa blend I mentioned before, but also with some sauteed greens or a nice salad.

Variation: You could also slice some apples real thin and start those in the butter with the onions at the very beginning. I didn’t have any apples to do this at the time, but I think that would make a nice addition too.

Eat well, friends.