Monday, 8 August 2011

The end is in sight Week 39 - 40

With trepidation I went to the consultant for my 39 week check - last time she informed me that due to my age there was a cut off point that Beanie could not be late. I had tried the acupuncture and the famous Aubergine Parmigiana (see below) and going on long walks in anticipation of this assumed deadline. The first thing she said as I entered her office was 'So do you want to have your baby now?' what a way to start the appointment, I had visions of her whipping out her scalpel before I had said hello.

Despite that introduction as my blood pressure is fine and she has relaxed the three line whip the c-section and so the pressure is off - I have to see the midwife at 40 weeks and the consultant again at 41 weeks. I have read up on all the ways to get babies to get a move on and no, I will not try Castor oil and I do not believe that pineapple will do the trick and if you read the NICE guidelines (yawn) not surprisingly they do not advocate any alternative induction methods. However, there are so many sites discussing natural induction processes, I had to have a good read and I found this page interesting. I have cherry picked ideas that suit me, so arranged to hike up a beautiful local hill that seems to have brought on the labour of many a neighbouring Mum.

The phone calls and emails have started. Messages from friends and family checking on me and Beanie's progress. Last time around I told everybody the due date for the 42 week mark to avoid all the premature calls.

What Beanie is up to?
 Before I start a reminder that only 5% of babies are born on the due date - so think of it more as a guess date.  Beanie should be fully cooked and around 7lb / just over 50cm long, but whether he is ready to make an appearance, now that is still a mystery. Earlier this week at 39 1/2 we weeks while my cervix was central  the cervix was still closed so a fair way off.

The consultant is renowned for being straight talking, and has told me when you are over 40 the risk of stillbirth is the same for me at 40 weeks is the same as for the baby of 35 year old at 42 weeks so I have to monitor Beanie carefully. One midwife told me, if in doubt, to lie on my side and drink iced water (without spilling) and here is advice on How to Monitor Movements from the Count the Kicks charity. I have a scan booked for 41weeks as at this point they start monitoring things very carefully.

I'm watching out for all kinds of indications of the onset of labour, noting that waters breaking is critical as it can open Beanie up to infection once they have broken - this could come in a whoosh or a trickle. If I remember from last time there was a surprising amount of fluid, which reminds me, keep up those pelvic floors they must be working overtime!

Apparently I have more puff soon - as Beanie moves down there should be more room in my abdomen for me to breath. The Hubster reminded me of that when I almost keeled over after a 10 pace run - so that has not happened yet.

What I ate

Labor-inducing Eggplant Parmesan
Here is the precise recipe for the infamous dish. I have tried it in the interests of this blog, nothing here convinces me – at most evidence would indicate that the herbs and spices may help induce but I can find nothing else except folklore to substantiate its mythical properties. It took so blimin long to make that the only inducing type properties may but the amount of time you spend standing in the kitchen gently (or frustratedly) going between the counter dipping endless slices of aubergine and the frying pan. Once accomplished I have to say that it is probably the least favourate recipe that I have featured in this blog, I felt that I was undergoing an aubergine endurance test – and I actually like aubergine. It makes a huge quantity, when I heated it up I decanted what I needed into a smaller dish covered it with foil and warmed it slowly in an warm oven for about 40 mins - it tasted better that way, but it is barely an eco-recipe!

Once upon a time in a small restaurant in follows the recipe verbatim with my comments in italics.
Nearly 300 baby pictures decorate Scalini's old-fashioned Italian restaurant in Cobb County, Ga. All of the babies pictured on the Italian restaurant wall were born after their mothers ate the Scalini's eggplant parmigiana. The $9.95 plate of breaded eggplant smothered in cheese and thick marinara sauce is "guaranteed" to induce labor, the restaurant claims.
The eggplant legend began not long after the restaurant opened 23 years ago. "Two or three years after we began, a few people had just mentioned to us they came in when they were pregnant, and ate this eggplant and had a baby a short time after that," said John Bogino, who runs the restaurant with his son, Bobby Bogino. "One person told another, and it just grew by itself by leaps and bounds." To date, more than 300 of the pregnant women customers who ordered the eggplant have given birth within 48 hours, and the restaurant dubs them the "eggplant babies." If it doesn't work in two days, the moms-to-be get a gift certificate for another meal. We make no promises, but the restaurant has graciously shared the recipe.

Eggplant Parmigiana Alla Scalini's
3 medium sized eggplants – aubergine :)
1 cup flour – 140g but I did this by eye just adding to a bowl as required
6 eggs, beaten – I managed with only 4
4 cups fine Italian bread crumbs, seasoned -About 5 slices of standard sliced bread blitzed in a food processor
Olive oil for sauteing
8 cups of marinara sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese – 50g
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese - 50g
1 1/2 pounds of mozzarella cheese, shredded - 680g
2 cups of ricotta cheese – About 500g

1. After you wash the eggplant, slice them into 1/4-inch thick slices. [slicing them thin about ½ cm or 5mm really does make a difference, don't be tempted to slice thicker otherwise the end result is inedible stodge, did I mention this recipe is faff?] You may choose to peel the eggplant before you slice it. However, you may want to leave the skin on since it contains a lot of vitamins.
2. Place the eggplant slices on a layer of paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt, then cover with another layer of paper towels and hold it down with something heavy to drain the excess moisture. Let them sit for about an hour.
3. Working with one slice of eggplant at a time, dust with flour, dip in beaten eggs, then coat well with breadcrumbs.
4. Saute in preheated olive oil on both sides until golden brown. [Keep the heat to medium so they start to cook rather than just browning the surface]
5. In [a large] baking dish, alternate layers of marinara sauce, eggplant slices, ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, until you fill the baking dish, about 1/8 inch from the top.
Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake for 25 minutes in a 375 degree [190 degree C] oven. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Scalini's Marinara Sauce
2 Tablespoons of chopped garlic
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
8 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)- 4 large cans
`150g 1 cup onions, chopped -1 largish onion
1/2 cup of fresh chopped parsley- About 30g or a small supermarket packet of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/8 cup of fresh chopped sweet basil – A small handful
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of rosemary
One teaspoon salt
One teaspoon black pepper

1. Lightly saute the onions in olive oil in large pot for a few minutes.
2. Add garlic and saute another minute.
3. Add tomatoes and bring sauce to a boil, then turn heat low.
4. Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and let simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.