Thursday, July 28, 2011


Yawn. Life at work is relatively boring these days. I am reminded on how I am not content to be immobile behind a computer while waiting for machines to perform measurements. I prefer the hustle and bustle of running around like a headless chicken around the lab to perform multiple tasks. I am afraid this inclination is not in line with my aspiration to be a somekind of a manager. Oh, well!

Belindy and I are more comfortable with each other on the second half of this first trimester. There are less hunger pangs and more energy for the host/incubator. We are good. On our second prenatal check, Dr. W pulled out a Doppler ultrasound and we got to listen to Belindy's 175 bpm heart beat. Wow, that is where the energy goes.

Hubbostrich is pretty happy too since I now show less symptom of CPL. For those of you who are not aware of this, it's a mental condition associated with an expecting mother. Crazy Pregnant Lady. Although in my defense, my CPL is less than some others I know. I am raising a glass (of milk) to my fellow pregger friends.

Hubbostrich and I made a costum t-shirt to commemorate our 12 weeks of pregnancy and to announce the impending coming of Belindy to the world (by world I mean Faceb**k). Last Saturday, we went to a kiosk at the mall, sketched a simple designed and let the guy worked his best to modify what could be copyright infrigement images. We had the t-shirt done for two Hamiltons and a Washington and only for 30 minutes of our time. Not bad, not bad at all.

Here is the finished product and its model. I think this is the brightest idea I had so far with this pregnancy brain: just let the walking billboard boy do his job and collect congratulations and well wishes. Thank you, everyone!

Hey, look who's drinking for three? Beer for Daddy, martini for Mommy and little shot glass (of milk) for Belindy!

Now, if only Hubbostrich is willing to go to lunch at the cafetaria at would be so much easier to spread the news. For now, I just scotch-taped a black and white print of the picture on my white board at the cubicle. Any idea how to let people at work aware of one's pregnancy? I am not even showing yet.

One last thing. I have just enlightened to the fact if Belindy is not messing up with his/her estimated delivery date of February 5 (Superbowl baby?), he/she would be a water dragon. My dad was a water dragon. Oh, what a serendipitious moment.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spreadsh*t Victim

Even Belindy is a victim of spreadsh*t.

Here I just wanted to chart fetus crown to rump length (CRL) measurement compared to those of "average" fetuses, data taken from here. From its first ultrasound, Belindy is pretty normal, I conclude.

After GDM, there's another thing that has been occupying the back of my mind. It's Down Syndrome screening test. We are scheduled for an ultra sound and a blood test tomorrow.

This 7-11 week ultrasound will be also used to determine the fetus' nuchal translucency (NT). Here's a graphical explanation of NT I grabbed from this website.

This nice study (I need to find the exact source and link it) nicely summarizes the correlation for Down Syndrome obtained from the so-called combination test. The test consists of a blood test and ultrasound from the first trimester and another blood test from second trimester. PAPP-A is measured from the first trimester blood test. Alpha fetoprotein, estriol, HCG and inhibin A are measured from the second trimester blood test. Only HCG data (not fetoprotein, extriol and inhibin A) along with CRL, and NT length are shown in the table.

Out of these 16 cases, cases 8 and 11 are the only two that are worry-free from Down Syndrome.

My heart is palpating. I hope Belindy is having an NT not higher than 3 mm and that I have a close to 1 MoM PAPP-A tomorrow.

Wish us luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011


I found out that I (and so is any other pregnant woman) have to undergo a glucose screening test aka glucose challenge test. The test is aimed at screening for the development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). If one tested "positive" on this first screening test, a glucose tolerance test then will be administered to determine if one really develops a GDM.

GDM itself is a type of diabetes developed during pregnancy. It occurs when a woman's body is not regulating enough insulin and/or having insulin deficiency. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the use and the storage of blood glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscle cells. Elevated glucose level in the blood could be observed when level of insulin is abnormal.

Some literature suggests that gestational diabetes is a pregnancy condition that tricks the body to ensure supply of glucose for the growing fetus. To put it simply, when a pregnant woman has low insulin sensitivity and high blood glucose, most of these glucose molecule will be transferred to the fetus via placenta. The fetus will grow abnormally larger (macrosomia) and possibly will develop health conditions such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), jaundice, respiratory problem, etc.

Enough of the background.

Why do I worry on my chance of developing GDM? First, diabetes runs in the family, on both sides nonetheless. Second, I am not exactly living a super healthy live style: over indulgence, mostly on food, is always the case and I don't think I exercise enough (although, with Hubbostrich as my personal trainer, we try to balance a cardio to weight lifting exercise) most days of the week.

Learning my lessons from another post (which I still owe at this point), I steer away from pregancy forums. This type of information exchange is not reliable as there are so many instances of pregnancies which varies from case to case. Instead, I sourced information right from peer reviewed journals.

I came across the abstract of this article. With its straight forward title, this one hit my attention. Please note, I came across the article on Friday and the test was the next day.

My action plan was to mimic the experimental method they used (i.e., the prolonged exercise) in hope of increasing my damaged muscles tissue consumption of blood glucose the next day. Provided that I don't have insulin resistance in the first place (type II diabetes), this exercise should lower my blood glucose. In short, I do exercise most days of the week but that Friday I trippled my usual routine. I kept my diet the same.

On the day of the test, the lab technician brought me a chilled orange concoction that contains exactly 50 g of glucose. The drink was to be consumed in 5 minutes and my blood was to be drawn an hour after. I made sure I didn't consume a lot of carbohydrates with high glycemic index and high sugar drink the day of the test. I went walking just before the test and in the first 30 minutes I went walking up the stairs of the hospital, just to maximize my metabolism level.

Today, I had the result in. My heart beep faster as I scroll down the result online. My blood glucose is 102 mg/dL. The cut off for a "positive" is a > 139 mg/ dL. I took a congratulatory deep breath. I might not even have a high blood glucose without the Friday exercise in the first place. I should be worried when the number was closer to the cut off even with the prolonged exercise.

Let me conclude. At first, I had an ulterior motive to find ways to "cheat" the glucose screening test (one should not cheat in the first place, if you have the condition you should be treated). At the end, my literature finding actually change my point of view. It increases my awareness of the importance of diet and exercise and other healty life style in life. Not necessarily of fighting GDM, but on the overall quality of life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ultimate Vegetarian Nachos

We finally finalize our vegetarian nacho recipe. This week's nacho night is the best one yet. It's the addition of cilantro and the fresh ground cumin that makes the difference. What happened was that we were out of cumin and had to grind the seeds on the spot. Don't forget to put the ground cumin back to fridge because once they air dried, they are not that flavorful.

We love nacho night because it's actually a well balanced meal. You get vegetables, carbs, fat and protein. Well, maybe we need to work on portion control because it is still a lot of calories. You can probably use reduced fat version of the dairy products used here and low sodium corn tortilla chips.

As usual, I forgot to take picture. Use your imagination!

Viva la comida.



-for fresh salsa

1 serrano pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
1 pickled jalapeno pepper
1 tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion chopped medium size
2 tbs cilantro
1/2 lime
2 tbs pickle solution (from the jalapeno pepper pickle)
1 tsp fresh ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika

-for main assembly

40 corn tortilla chips
1 cup Mexican cheese blend (Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar, Queso Blanco, Asadero)
1/2 cup black beans

-for finishing

1/4 cup plain yogurt


Heat oven to 400F
Mix all salsa ingredients together in a bowl
Cover a flat baking pan with some vegetable oil
Assemble tortilla chips on the pan
Pour salsa over the chips
Distribute black beans and cheese over the chips and salsa
Bake for 15 minutes
Take it out and cool down for a couple minutes
Distribute cilantro and yogurt on top