WEEK #4 – POPPY SEED ROLLS

When you are trying to get pregnant it’s hard not to look for early signs. And what is frustrating is that every sign of potential pregnancy is also a sign of your impending menstrual cycle. Sore boobs? Cramping? Food cravings? Mood swings? Back pain? Extra tired? Are you feeling bloated? Congratulations! You may or may not be pregnant!

When I got pregnant the first time around, subconsciously I knew . I didn’t really believe I was pregnant in my heart, but my body knew and some how communicated it to my brain. A week before my period was suppose to start I stopped drinking (let me clarify, I am by no means a big drinker, but it was Christmastime and eggnog is quite the family tradition during the holidays). I also ran across a bottle of prenatal vitamins that I’d not touched in a few months and decided, “What the heck, someday maybe” and started taking them again. And I remember just being happy. Happy happy happy. 🙂

When my period didn’t start on the day it was suppose to, I knew something was up. My cycle was like clockwork. But, I decided not to get excited and thought nothing more of it until the end of the next day. The following morning I went to CVS and bought a pregnancy test and shoved it waaaaaaay down in the bottom of my purse. It was December 23rd and I was three days late. At this point I started to feel hopeful. I started to believe, deep down somewhere, that I could actually possibly be pregnant! But, I also knew that if I was wrong, and that if I took the test and it was negative, that it would ruin my entire holiday. But, I held on to the hope, and it was building.

I remember laying in bed next to my husband on Christmas Eve, listening to him breathing in and out, being warm and cozy, with a smile on my face, daydreaming about how next Christmas we might be a family of three celebrating. We might have a sweet baby in our arms. I might be a mother and he might be a father.

Finally, Christmas morning, around 6:30 AM I believe, I woke up with a full bladder and thought, “I’m just going to do it! I can’t wait any longer – I’m 5 days late. I HAVE to be PREGNANT!” and sure enough, I was!  I crawled back into bed with my sleeping husband never having felt so happy and joyful in my entire life. I kept my sweet secret for a few hours before my excitement was no longer containable.

 

This time was different. Man oh man, was it ever different.

Before getting pregnant the first time my husband never really knew what my cycle was. This time around, he was ON it. He knew before I did that I was a day late. “Honey, let’s go get a pregnancy test. You’re late,” he said to me on a Monday. My response, after looking at the calendar, was “I’m one day late. I’ve been late before. Let’s not get excited”. And at this point, I was convinced my period was coming. Every month leading up to this month had been tricky and sneaky months. Some months I was just a few days late. Others, I was an entire week late. And each month I broke down and bought a pregnancy test, with each test showing negative results. I was not feeling hopeful. Plus, my boobs hurt, I was super crampy, crazy emotional, and couldn’t stop eating – all signs of my period to come.

On Wednesday I had a sonogram scheduled to look at my gallbladder. When I went in I said to the guy, “I’m three days late, I don’t know if I’m pregnant, but I’m hoping that I am and want to make sure that what you’re going to do won’t be potentially harmful to the baby – if there is a baby”. As I said it out loud for the first time, I felt as if maybe I might actually be pregnant. He assured me all would be fine. On my way home I stopped at the grocery store and picked up the cheapest single pregnancy test I could find. And I shoved it way down in the bottom of my purse.

Thursday was a rough day. My husband was working another 15 hour day, my son was tired of being cooped up in the house (all week long it was either WAY too hot to go outside for a significant amount of time or it was raining), and I was growing frustrated by being a “single parent” (for 12 days straight J woke up after his daddy left for work and went back to bed before daddy came home – that was rough on ALL of us).

While J was happily contained in his highchair I slipped away to take that pregnancy test. I ripped the box open, did my thing, and then set timer for three minutes. When the buzzer buzzed I went back to the bathroom and looked at the test. And I had no idea what I was looking at. Was that a positive line? Was it just a weird mark in the fibers of the test? What WAS that? I grabbed the box from the trash can and looked to see if any of the examples were similar to what I saw, and that didn’t clear anything up for me. But what DID help me make sense of the test was noticing that I’d not followed the directions as I should have. I’d not peed on the test for as long as I was suppose to… Ahhhh!!!  Why didn’t I read the directions? I shouldn’t have assumed that all tests were the same.

I called my neighbor and asked her if she could pop over for a few minutes to watch J while I ran a quick errand. She happily obliged and off I ran to the CVS. This time I bought a slightly more expensive and more reliable test that contained two sticks (you know, in case I messed up again). That second time the results were unmistakeable. I was pregnant. 🙂

I wanted to tell my husband right away but also wanted to wait until he was home so I could tell him in person. I called him on the phone just to check in and find out if he thought he’d be home any time soon. He told me that he would not be done with his last call until around 10:30PM. He also indicated that he was not having the best of days/nights. In fact, he was in a particularly bad mood while I talked to him on the phone. And, he was still in a bad mood when he finally got home that night around 11PM. I don’t blame him – 12 days straight of waking up before 7AM and not coming back home until past 10PM, of not interacting with his son, of not having quality time with his wife (or anyone else for that matter), would be difficult for ANYONE.

I decided not to tell him that night.

What I did decide to do was to wait until Friday evening to tell him. I’d crossed my fingers and hoped that he’d actually come home from work at a decent time, that we’d all be able to go out to dinner and have a nice, relaxing, unwinding night together as a family. I imagined that as we enjoyed our last bite of a shared dessert I’d say to him, “Honey, I have some amazing news to share with you”, and then I’d be able to tell by the look in his eyes that he knew exactly what my news was, he’d hop up from the table and give me a giant kiss and say, “Oh my God, this is fantastic! I love you so much!” and then look at J with a giant smile across his face and say, “Buddy, you’re going to be a big brother!”

Not. How. It. Went.

Friday, unsurprisingly, was another long day/night for both of us. Halfway through the day J came down with a fever and just felt miserable. I’d received a phone call from my doctor’s office informing me that I do, indeed, have gallstones and they recommended me having my gallbladder removed a.s.a.p., to which I said, “I’m pregnant”. Their response was, “Oh, wow, what bad timing”. Yes, I know. My husband didn’t get home again that night until after 10PM. I’d decided to keep J with me out in the living room (where he napped) until his daddy came home because I knew he was missing him. When my husband finally got home it was obvious that he was exhausted. Together we read J a book, sang our nighttime songs, said a prayer and then put him down for the night in his room.

We both were tired. It was past 11PM. We contemplated watching a show but didn’t know if either of us would even be able to stay awake for it. As we both sat on the couch, worn out from our own individual days, I contemplated just telling him – “I’m pregnant”. But, straightforwardness has never been my style. So, instead I started the conversation like this: “So, I have bad news, more bad news, some good news, and then more good news,”. This got his attention. So I continued:

ME: “My doctor’s office called me today and told me that I do, in fact, have gallstones and are recommending that I have my gallbladder removed. Immediately.”  HIM: “Okay, we were expecting that. When do you think you’ll be going in for surgery?”. ME: “Well, that’s where the other bad news comes in – probably not until February or March 2015”. HIM: confused, “I don’t understand why we’d wait that long.” ME: “I’d rather wait until after I’m no longer pregnant to have surgery… that’s the good news. I’m pregnant.” HIM: big smile. ME: “The other good news is that I imagine that by the time this baby is born we will have gone through my health insurance deductible, so having my gallbladder yanked out will be like a free-bee, right?”

The rest of the evening we talked about how excited we were to be pregnant again, we laughed at the whole gallstones/baby timing (better than crying, right?), and started making plans. It was an excellent way to end a not so excellent week.  🙂

So, at WEEK#4, our baby was just an itty bitty little thing. He/She was only as big as a POPPY SEED. Between now and week#10 all of his/her organs will develop. Right now he/she consists of just two layers: the epiblast and the hypoblast. But that will quickly change!lemon poppy seed muffin 1

POPPY SEED ROLLS

My husband is the bread baker in this house. When I decided to start this blog up again I knew right away that his poppy seed rolls would be my (well, our) first recipe. Getting him to measure out his ingredients and slow down long enough to tell me what he was actually doing was quite a challenge. He’s the kind of baker that just goes in to a kitchen, grabs his ingredients, and “measures” out by eye and hand. He’ll say to me, “Okay, let’s see, you need some flour – about this much (and shows me a bowl with who knows, maybe 3 cups? or 3 and a half? of flour in it) – and some salt and sugar – about this much (and shows me his palm with maybe a TBSP of sugar? or is that the salt?) – and mix it up. In another bowl you bloom your yeast with some water – make sure it’s not too hot. Here, stick your finger in and see how hot it is…” and on and on. No recipes. Just gut instincts. He’s a pretty impressive guy.  🙂10488857_787567414609731_757221254_n

INGREDIENTS:

(Please note, these are approximate measurements. As my husband regularly reminds me, “Baking bread is an art. There are no exact measurements in bread”.)

3 TBSP bread flour, plus 4 heaping cups bread flour

1 pkt active dry yeast

1 TBSP honey

warm water

1/3 cup olive oil

1 TBSP salt

poppy seeds

 

METHOD:

1).  Make a thin slurry by combining 3 TBSP flour, yeast, and honey. Set for 15 minutes, till bubbly.

2).  Combine remaining flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix in 1/3 c olive oil and the bloomed slurry.

3).  Start pouring warm water by the 1/4 c. and mix in until all of the flour has been incorporated and dough is sticky (total 1.5-2.5 c approx). Knead on parchment 10-15 minutes. Add flour as needed until dough is no longer sticky. Dough should form ball and spring back if you put fingers in it. If it doesn’t, keep needing.

4).  Pour enough olive oil to coat your dough ball into a big bowl (a TBSP or two). Add dough ball and move around til covered in oil. Cover with warm wet towel and wait one hour or so for dough to rise and double in size.

5).  Once the dough had doubled, punch it down, then section out into individual rolls. Feel free to do whatever fancy roll making moves you like. My husband twisted some inside out and also left some just round (my favorite). Egg wash and then cover as liberally as you like with poppy seeds.

6).  Place on a parchment covered or greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 20 or so minutes, or until rolls are nice and golden brown and you can smell the rolls all the way down your hall.

 

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