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Update: Belly, Food, and Baby—Lots of Pictures

Update: Belly, Food, and Baby—Lots of Pictures
Angelo Coppola

A game called Mad Gabs turns simple phonetics into brain-twisting fun. You have to translate odd phrases like ‘Cohen Peas’ into the more common ‘go in peace.’ The answer to a game card that reads ‘Europe Art Tough Fit’ would be ‘you’re a part of it.’

You get it. Well, that’s how we announced Amy’s pregnancy to our family. We had a game day, played Mad Gabs, and we slipped in a custom clue for the grand finale. When they realized ‘Aim Ease Gnawed Cup’ translated to ‘Amy’s knocked up,’ well, let’s just say the looks on their faces were priceless.

Puzzle solved! But then, still puzzled…then excited, disbelief, squeaking, screaming, hugging!

I thought I’d share a little bit about what we’ve been up to this Winter, so read on, and you’ll learn why things have been a little quiet on the blog, see pictures of a few of our meals, and even get a 3D peak at the littlest one in the family.

Here was Amy back in early November, a little before we made our announcement:

Amy Coppola

Amy was eating a Plant Paleo diet, feeling and looking great! Over the past year, she developed a liking for Zumba classes at the Y. We went on a lot of walks and hikes together, too. So, she was eating great and staying active.

By early January, just 8 weeks later, there was a noticeable difference, wouldn’t you say?! Her baby bump was—and still is—large and in charge:

Amy & Angelo Coppola 2015

Amy’s first trimester was tough, unlike her first pregnancy, which was a breeze by comparison. She felt sick a lot of the time and didn’t have much of an appetite. As such, I was doing more at home, helping hold down the fort while she wasn’t feeling well.

When I started doing the cooking, I fell back on what I know best: Italian. No one was complaining! They love it when dad dons the kitchen apron, wielding spatulas and wooden spoons.

Amy’s diet during her pregnancy has included a bit more meat, more beef and chicken stocks, more eggs, and more lightly processed foods, too. She still has an appetite for vegetables, but doesn’t want them plain. No problem there, traditional southern Italian food is all about making plants delicious.

Here’s a dish I prepared, which originates from the Avellino province in Italy, where my relatives are from. I’ve never been but would like to visit someday.

Verdure, patate, e gnocchi caravalli

At the base of the dish, above, is a mixture of greens and mashed potatoes. It’s flavored with garlic, red pepper flakes, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a bit of olive oil. Adding my own little twist, I topped it this time with homemade potato gnocchi.

Sunday sauce with steel cut oats, vegetables, mushrooms, and an over-easy egg.

Above is a delicious dish I created, starring my homemade tomato sauce. Supporting roles were played by steel cut oats (I know, but you’d be amazed), mushrooms, greens, Parmigiano-Reggiano. I’d call the over-easy egg the special guest star—the dish works fine without it, but it’s a lot nicer when the egg joins the cast!

Plant Paleo Lentil Soup with Vegetables and Fusili

More Plant Paleo Mediterranean soul food here. Above, this is lentil soup with vegetables and homemade fusilli pasta made from whole wheat flour (and a bit of semolina, too). Pregnant Amy is really liking the homemade pasta, while I eat more whole grains like farro, barley, and groats. Her cravings make sense though—as far as pregnant cravings make sense—the pasta is more calorie dense than whole grains, supplying more energy more rapidly.

tiramisu

And speaking of calorie-dense pregnancy cravings, above is a little indulgence I made for her: homemade tiramisu. This version is a little less sweet than most and no hard booze either, since, you know…pregnant. Instead, I add some hazelnut or almond extract to the coffee.

Around Week 16, we learned that Amy has a condition called, weakened cervix. So, she underwent a cervical cerclage procedure to help ensure the baby would stay put for the full term.

The weakened cervix likely explains why her first pregnancy ended in the pre-term delivery of our daughter, Lucy, at just 28.5 weeks (yes, that extra point-5 is huge; every day in the womb counts). With Amy’s history and age (a youthful 39, but technically on the older side for an expecting mom), this pregnancy is considered high risk. That means we’re making more visits than usual to the doctor and the midwife to keep closer tabs on everything and everyone.

It’s taken about a week for Amy to recover from the cerclage, and she is starting to feel much better. She’s becoming more active, though remains cautious and is consciously refraining from doing too much.

As of our last visit a couple of days ago, the doctor told us there are no signs of Down’s Syndrome or other abnormalities, the heart and all other organs look good, head size and overall growth are normal, and the cerclage is doing its job, while healing nicely.

About a couple of month ago, we learned we’ll be having a boy, based on DNA tests on Amy’s blood (pretty cool, huh?). As the father of four girls, I’m looking forward to having a boy in the family!

Boys, however, don’t tend to do as well when they are born prematurely. To be completely honest, the excitement we feel about meeting our new son soon is tempered by some worry on that front. We’ll all breathe a sigh of relief when Week 29 comes and goes.

Some worrying is natural, of course, but I don’t want to leave an impression of hand-wringing and nail-biting on our end. We’re prepared to deal with whatever may come. After all, bringing new life into the world has never been risk-free. Mostly, though, we’re immensely happy, doing our work, planning a spring garden, going to the Y on rainy days, trying to get outside during the brief dry spells, and just doing everything else that goes along with life.

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” ―Alan W. Watts

I’ve saved one of the coolest things I’d like to share for last. Here’s an amazing glimpse of the little guy, via a 3-D sonogram image. He weighs in at a hefty 10 ounces now—60th percentile, we were told. Go little Coppola! Stay put and fatten up, son!

Boy-Coppola

Arriving June 2016

Well, that’s what we’ve been up to this winter, under the gray skies and evergreen canopy of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Thanks for reading!

  • Congrats Angelo & Amy! Also, it looks like you’re a pretty good cook!

  • Jeff Borden

    All three of you are looking good! Congratulations and best wishes to the Coppola tribe.

  • Deepak M

    Congratulations and good luck!

  • David R

    A lovely post. I love your work and take much pleasure from hearing about your growing family. Wishing you well.

    • Thanks, David. All’s still going well as we approach 27 weeks now. Cheers!

  • Jack Yee

    Dude, you looking ripped like Bruce Lee!