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As I write this LONG post, I’m now 2 weeks from my official due date of August 11, 2014.  Technically, it could be any day, which is exciting to think about!  It’s also maddening to imagine having to wait another 3 weeks.  It’s so strange that such a momentous and life-altering day is also one big mystery.  When I prepared for our wedding, I knew the date of the big day.  Now, I have no clue other than knowing that it will eventually come!

WEEK 27

I started my third trimester in mid-May.  Our “other” anniversary, on Saturday, May 17th, marked 23 years of Eric and I being together as a couple.  No one can tell us we rushed into having kids, now, huh?  😉

WEEK 28

On Tuesday, May 20th, I had another midwife appointment.  It was another opportunity to hear the heartbeat:

I also noted more “big rolling movements,” rather than distinct kicks.  Baby was tough to catch on video, but I got a pretty good clip here:

28 Weeks

28 Weeks

28 Weeks

28 Weeks

That weekend, we went for a short hike at Meadowdale Beach Park.  I was eager to be with the trees!

Meadowdale Beach Park -  May 24, 2014

Meadowdale Beach Park – May 24, 2014

Afterward, we had the Vegan Sofritas, at Chipotle Mexican Grill.  YUM!  I love that they give you a LOT of guacamole!!

Vegan Sofritas at Chipotle Mexican Grill

Vegan Sofritas at Chipotle Mexican Grill

WEEK 30

30 Weeks

30 Weeks

On the same day that I wrote, “most active day yet” in my calendar (June 3rd), I received this baby shirt in the mail.  It’s from my #NSNG friend, ScottyO, from Aspen.  Sweet!

 

Thank you, Uncle Scotty!

Thank you, Uncle Scotty!

On Wednesday, June 4th, I took the day off work, to go to a 3 hour midwife appointment.  The purpose was testing for gestational diabetes.  I had to fast the night before, and get my blood drawn at 9 AM.  Then I drank 75 grams of glucose.  Icky!  My blood was drawn again at 10 AM and 11 AM.

I felt a bit ill and headachy after consuming the drink, but it was okay.  The worst was that I didn’t eat any real food until shortly after noon, and by then my blood sugar was really crashing.  As I sat down to eat my lunch, I was shaky and sweaty.

Gestational Diabetes Testing - June 4, 2014

Gestational Diabetes Testing – June 4, 2014

Fortunately, my results were excellent!  They want your readings to be:  fasting glucose <95, 1 hour glucose <180, and 2 hour glucose <153 mg/dL.  My readings were:  87, 104, and 90 mg/dL.

WEEK 31

On Sunday, June 8th, we hiked to Heather Lake, which is right next to Mt Pilchuck.  It’s ~4.7 miles round trip, including circumnavigating the lake.  It starts at 1400 ft elevation, and the lake is at 2400 ft.  It felt really wonderful to be in the mountains, and I saw 2 other pregnant hikers, too!

31 Weeks - Heather Lake

31 Weeks – Heather Lake

Heather Lake - Sunday, June 8, 2014

Heather Lake – Sunday, June 8, 2014

My first baby shower was on Saturday, June 14th.  It was fun to socialize with family and friends.  And, I “made” each person pose for a picture with us when we opened his or her gift.  I am a picture taker!

The venue was the Shire Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant in Arlington, WA.  All the food served was vegan…of course!  My sister made this adorable diaper cake…

Diaper Cake by Karin

Diaper Cake by Karin

Baby Shower - Saturday, June 14, 2014

Baby Shower – Saturday, June 14, 2014

WEEK 32

On Friday, June 20th, we drove to Bend, OR to visit my family for the weekend.  On the way out of Seattle, I finally had the opportunity to satisfy the vegan donut craving I’d been fighting way back in January/February.  Mighty-O for the whole family!

Mighty-O Donuts (Vegan)

Mighty-O Donuts (Vegan)

We met up for lunch in Bend at Salud! Raw Food Cafe.  It’s pretty much the polar opposite of vegan donuts!  You gotta have balance in your life, right?

Eric's Salad

Eric’s Salad

My Plate

My Plate

On Saturday, June 21st, Eric went mountain bike riding with our brother-in-law, while my sister and I hiked along the Deschutes River with her kids.

Hiking along the Deschutes River - Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hiking along the Deschutes River – Saturday, June 21, 2014

WEEK 33

On Monday, June 23rd, I had a special surprise waiting for me at work.  My ~95 year old former patient, Lillian, had left me a baby present.  Lillian never had kids of her own and she was so happy for me when I told her I was pregnant.  She was way too generous!

Gifts From Lillian

Gifts From Lillian

WEEK 34

This week I officially decreased my work schedule from 5 days per week, down to 4.  It was time!

At my midwife appointment on Wednesday, July 2nd, I found out that baby was head down and facing toward the back.  To date, he’s stayed in that good position.  We also met with my doula, from Serene Doulas.

34 Weeks

34 Weeks

For the 4th of July holiday, we headed to Wenatchee for our last “just the two of us” weekend at our condo.  I put on my bikini and we cooled off in the pool.

34 Weeks + 4 Days

34 Weeks + 4 Days

For comparison, THIS was me exactly a year prior!

What a Difference a Year Makes - July 4, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes – July 4, 2013

On Saturday, July 5th, we hiked 4.6 miles of the loop trail at Icicle Gorge, just outside of Leavenworth, WA.  More wilderness therapy…I need it to remain grounded!

Upper Loop at Icicle Gorge

Upper Loop at Icicle Gorge

Mountain Views From Icicle Gorge

Mountain Views From Icicle Gorge

Along the Icicle River

Along the Icicle River

After the hike, we had a tasty and beautiful vegan pizza at Lemolo Cafe & Deli, in Wenatchee.

Vegan Pizza at Lemolo

Vegan Pizza at Lemolo

WEEK 36

Thanks to my friend, Molly, we got a nice car seat and stroller set.  Here, the fuzzy frog from Nana tests it out for us!

Looks Comfy!

Looks Comfy!

36 Weeks

36 Weeks

On Wednesday, July 16th, I started my weekly midwife appointments.  I also had my 2nd baby shower.  My thoughtful co-workers at my last job put it together for me.  I hadn’t seen these gals since last October.  I especially thank Sharon for being the host and Julie for making the cake.  I felt very special!

Anacortes Baby Shower - July 16, 2014

Anacortes Baby Shower – July 16, 2014

Vegan & Gluten Free Cake with Coconut Bliss Ice Cream

Vegan & Gluten Free Cake with Coconut Bliss Ice Cream

Before I left work on the evening of Thursday, July 17th, I suddenly leaked some watery, clear fluid that gave me a brief scare.  It wasn’t much, but it didn’t seem like urine, and it wasn’t anything typical for this pregnancy.  I called my midwife and she told me to wait and see if more fluid leaked out.  It didn’t…phew!  I was glad that it wasn’t my water breaking.  I was only at 36 weeks + 3 days.

For the weekend of July 19th, we traveled to Ocean Shores, WA, to visit Eric’s parents.  It was our last “long” road trip before baby comes.  Now, we’ll stay close to home!

WEEK 37

At my midwife appointment on Thursday, July 24th, I found out that I am a carrier for Group B Strep.  That means I will take IV Penicillin during labor.  GBS can cause serious problems in newborns, even though it’s not harmful to the healthy carrier.

WEEK 38

At this late stage, I’m thankful for a LOT.  Top on the list is not having our baby premature.  But, I’m also thankful for no stretch marks, and for being able to keep my navel ring in.  I’ve had the ring since 1996!

38 Weeks

38 Weeks

38 weeks

38 weeks

Now– Just WHEN will this #minivegan be born???  I hope soon!

————————————-

3rd Trimester Weights (Weeks 27-40):

May 13, 2014 = 124.6 lb
May 20, 2014 = 126.4 lb
May 27, 2014 = 125.6 lb
June 3, 2014 = 126.0 lb
June 10, 2014 = 128.6 lb
June 17, 2014 = 128.0 lb
June 24, 2014 = 130.2 lb
July 1, 2014 = 130.2 lb
July 8, 2014 = 131.2 lb
July 15, 2014 = 131.4 lb
July 22, 2014 = 132.8 lb
July 29, 2014 = 131.0 lb
August 5, 2014 = 131.4 lb
August 11, 2014 = ?? = Due Date!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I’ve been living under a slab of tofu (as the vegan saying goes), but I only just watched Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” commercial 3 days ago.  If you haven’t seen it, watch the 2 minute, 20 second commercial here.

The reason “Back to the Start” was in the news is that it won top honors at the 21st Annual AICP Show (The Art & Technique of the American Commercial).  Here is an excerpt from this article, which briefly describes the short film:

[Promoting the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, “Back To The Start” was directed by Johnny Kelly of Nexus Productions, London, for Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles. “Back To The Start” centers on a misguided farmer who slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the error of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. The beautifully executed stop motion animation is all contained in one long panning “shot.”]

The music is critical in setting the emotional tone of this short film.  Country music legend Willie Nelson performs Coldplay’s 2003 (US) EP, “The Scientist.”  The piano ballad is slow, hypnotic, and sorrowful.  No surprise- the song lyrics are about the sadness and regret of love’s dissolution.  It’s depressing.

Yet, when the music is played as background to the video animation, the song’s melancholy quality eventually gives way to a soothing and hopeful feel.  (At least that seems to be the intent.)

As mentioned above, the animation tells the story of a farmer’s progression from modest and pasture-based animal farming, to institutional and intensive, and then back to small again.

Over the chirping of birds in the opening frame, we’re introduced to the farmer– with wife and baby– and his one pig.

The one pig turns into several, and the barns go up.  There are cows, too.  Everything expands.  The animals go inside.

Then, we leave the farm and the green trees to enter the factory.  We see the dark contrast of uniform pink pigs against sterile grey metal.  We see mechanized meat production and semi trucks.

It all turns chilly and dark when we see the forlorn, sleepless farmer reflecting on what his farm has become.  He reaches a point that communicates, “Enough is enough,” and he starts opening up the animal enclosures.  Barren Earth returns to green grass and trees.

In the final scene, the farmer loads a wooden crate into a Chipotle Mexican Grill truck with chickens pecking nearby.  He joins hands with his wife and stands with his now-adult child and one pig.

The music fades out with a sign:  “Cultivate a Better World”

The lyrics used in the animation, from “The Scientist,” are:

I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Don’t speak as loud as my heart

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I’m going back to the start.
———————————————————————————————————————

I think some would feel comforted by the ending.  I am unsettled by it.

I’ll state the obvious first.  This is an animation about rejecting factory farms/CAFOs and intensive animal agriculture practices.  It’s about improving welfare for “farm” animals.  The expressed mission of the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation is:

“…creating a more sustainable and healthful food supply and to raising awareness concerning food issues.  This is realized through the support of family farmers and their communities, educators and programs that teach younger generations about food matters, along with support for ranchers and farmers who are working to develop more sustainable practices.”

Few people– outside of industry itself– will deny that factory farm practices treat animals terribly.  For those who consider industrial-scale animal agriculture unacceptable at best, and abhorrent at worst, this animation clearly points to “a way out.”

There are 3 stakeholders in the animal agriculture scenario:  farmer, consumer, and animal.  Farmers and consumers share the responsibility for taking action to “Cultivate a Better World.”  The actions that farmers and consumers take determines the outcome for animals.

When the farmer decides to release his animals from their confinement, the implication remains that the animals will still die.  We must assume that the crate he loads onto the truck contains the flesh of his pastured animals.

The farmer’s “way out” is going “back to the start,” or back to the way farming “used to be.”  The farmer has his own set of interests.  I don’t question that one of the farmer’s interests would be improved welfare for animals.  Better treatment is better treatment.

For meat consumers, I think that the short film succeeds in generating feelings of relief and hopefulness.  Too much relief?

I still remember my own feelings of distress when I learned about modern meat production.  I was horrified.  I felt naive:  How could I not know what was going on?  I was angry at the people who would let this kind of brutality continue.  And I felt guilty when realizing that, if I bought animal products, it meant I would continue to support cruel practices.

Like the farmer who says, “Enough is enough,” people who feel horrified, naive, angry and guilty desperately want and need their own “way out.”  Who can blame them?  What decent person wouldn’t seek such deliverance?

People may opt for so-called humane, grass-fed, free-range, pasture-based, sustainable, and organic animal products, but I think we need to discuss where that really takes us as a species.  Is going back in time– i.e. “back to the start”– really going in the right direction?

For animals, certainly better treatment is better treatment.  But from the animal’s perspective, is it acceptable?  Should the farmer’s pastured pig feel a sense of relief when he is stunned, stuck, and bled out?

There was a time when I felt good about purchasing “happy meats.”  I didn’t feel bad, I didn’t feel neutral, I actually felt good.  The phrase “happy meat” usually refers to the animal being happy before he or she is killed, but I’ve come to the realization that “happy” actually describes the consumer.

I’m no longer happy about “happy meat.”  I’m unsettled.  And I think we can “Cultivate a Better World” in an even better way.  I’ll use the Chairman of Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, Steve Ells’ own words:

“Delicious food can be produced without exploiting the farmers, the animals, or the environment.  Chipotle has proven this to be true, but Chipotle is only one small part of the solution.  Our goal now should be to have all food produced as sustainably as possible.”

I think his words, “Delicious food can be produced without exploiting the farmers, the animals or the environment” is spot on. After that, he lost me.  Chipotle is not promoting Veganism.  I must ask:  Isn’t killing a form of exploitation?

———————————————————————————————————————

I’m going to re-interpret the commercial’s ending, starting with the chilly blue frame:

When I see the farmer hit rock bottom, I see his “lightbulb” moment.  I see the farmer change his whole view about animals.  He realizes that “his” pigs don’t really “belong” to him at all.  He recognizes that each animal is an individual who deserves autonomy.  He empathizes like never before.

The farmer admits that it’s unnecessary to eat animals.  He becomes motivated to farm plants, not animals.

Then, I see the farmer really liberating the animals.  I see animals on the green pasture of sanctuaries.  I see animals being cared for without being exploited.

Finally, I see the farmer loading a crate of onions, peppers, corn and beans into the back of the Chipotle Mexican Grill truck.  I see him join hands with his wife with the satisfaction of knowing that he really IS cultivating a better world.

The pig is safe.

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown

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