Ramblings

I’m in that situation again where I’ve so much to cover and it’s just getting worse the longer I wait to write.
So, I’m going to try and skim over as much as I can and go on normally from there…

Easter was good. Saw both families. Clo was pretty good, but she wasn’t able to deal with all the people all day long. By the time we got home, she was super done and just wanted everyone to shut up and snuggle her.

We moved Chloé into her crib the weekend after Easter. It was not entirely without issue, although the issues were entirely my own. Even with the monitor, and her being literally next door to us, I was worried. I worried I wouldn’t hear her. I worried she’d not sleep as well in her crib as she had in her bassinet. I worried myself out of some really good sleep, since Clo stayed down for her typical 8-10 hours. We’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but in general she’s asleep in her crib by 9:30 and she’s up between 5 and 7.

LC visited from DC. It was awesome. She knows me so well, and my life and my family, that I talk about things and she just gets it all. It sucks that I don’t get to see her more, but I am so thankful for the time we get together. It was also kind of hilarious to see her with Chloé. LC is basically my polar opposite physically, and I think Clo really enjoyed the variety. The day after LC left, she sort of kept looking around me as if thinking, “Mom, where’s the tall blonde lady? She was fun, bring her back.” MFH always says this, but that doesn’t make it any less true: “Out of all the people we know [LC and her hubby], are the ones I wish could live closer.”

I’m no longer diabetic, so hooray for that. I knew it was 90-someodd percent likely that I would be free of it, but it was still nice to get the official outcome. I’m likely to get it again, if I’m ever pregnant again.

Clo can hear. I mean, I knew that, but Health Canada apparently likes to know as well. So officially, per Health Canada, she can hear.

I have New Mom Wrist. It’s annoying and actually hurts me periodically. I left it for a long time, because I kept thinking it would go away on its own. Now that I’ve been diagnosed, I’m trying to be super conscientious of how I’m holding Chloé. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I’m more concerned with just making her happy.

I can’t really wrap my head around being a Mom this Mother’s Day. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on it after the fact…

Wearing her curls this time 'round.

Wearing her curls this time ’round.

 

Advertisements

Term

Just to update everyone, my NST, blood pressure, and blood work was awesome today. I felt so guilty, laying there joking with MFH while two other women were admitted for actual labor. I do sort of feel like Spawn got ideas from their babies, though. I’ve been getting a lot more downward cervix pressure since being released. (MFH kept joking that Spawn had been given the advice to try down as an escape route. And Spawn’s all, “DOWN! I hadn’t thought of down! Thanks guys!”)

So unless Spawn figures out the escape hatch…until my appointment on Tuesday, I’m still just resting and waiting for more information…

In other news, I’m term. (Depending on who you ask, I’m either full term or early term. Either way, everyone can agree on the “term” part, so that’s what I’m using.)

Back when I did the midpoint roundup at 20 weeks, I thought it might be fun to check in again with some of the same points. So, without further ado, here we go…

37 Weeks Preggo

21 days left until Estimated Delivery Date, but Spawn will likely be induced a few weeks before

Spawn is approximately 20 inches from head to toes and weighs about 6.5 lbs. 

Symptoms: So much tiredness. Between having to pee all the time, and just the logistically difficulty of rolling over in bed, sleep is not as good as it used to be. I suppose not having to get up for work will improve things. Heaviness in the pelvic girdle makes everything vaguely uncomfortable. Full on stretchmarks, but only on my stomach.

Cravings: Nothing new.

Food Aversions: It’s not really a food, but I cannot stand standing/sitting/being next to someone who smokes. The smell completely puts me off. I have to move. It’s never been my favorite smell or anything, but now it’s extreme.

Maternity or Regular Clothes: Still both. Most of the regular clothes are pants that I can just roll the waistband down (or up in some foldover styles). Shoes are still pre-preggo size. Everything else pretty much has to be maternity.

Stretch Marks: As I mentioned, they have come and come well, but only on the stomach, generally centered around and below my belly button.

Belly Button Status: It’s massively stretched, but the scar tissue from my gall bladder surgery seems to be holding. (I have small “smile line” stretch marks on either side of my belly button from the expansion.) I doubt I’ll “pop out” in the end. Not going to lie, it looks a little bit like an anus. 😛

Names: TBA after birth…

Rings: Just this week, I’ve swelled up (Thanks GH). All rings are off.

Best Moment so Far: Having Spawn start to feel and move like a infant, rather than some sort of alien parasite.

Looking Forward to: Meeting Spawn on the outside.

So that’s the roundup. I’ll update soon. We shall see how it all goes…

The Game Plan

So…

I’m having the worst sleep of my entire pregnancy, which explains why I’m up at five a.m. typing here rather than…you know, sleeping.

I guess it’s pretty indicative of my feelings. I have a lot of last minute things to deal with, and my brain is making me repeat them over and over again, rather than letting me just get some sleep.

I met with OB-R yesterday. My blood pressure was still high, so I’ve been diagnosed with Gestational Hypertension. She’s taking over my primary care, which I’m actually pretty okay with all around. I donno if it’s because I’m “hers” now or just because of the situation, but working with OB-R yesterday was so much better than the speed-daemon appointments from before.

I got some more blood work done (seriously, at this point, I should just have a hep-lock put in). Urine as well. I also had a surprise ultrasound to check on Spawn. Apparently the high blood pressure can hinder growth. Not Spawn though. As usual that kid is “perfect” and measuring in the 60th percentile. Oh, and Spawn has a ton of hair, apparently, as well. Now I keep wondering what colour it’s going to be…

Anyways, the real point of all this is that some big decisions were made.

The first of which is that I have been medically ordered off work. This is the hard one for me. It’s the reason I’m up right now. I didn’t finish my projects at work, because I had no idea when I left on Wednesday that it would be my last day there. So now I have a running list of things I have to delegate off to my assistants and hope they get done close to the time I originally scheduled them for.

Please understand that I recognize that fixating about this stuff isn’t helping on the path to lowering my blood pressure. Unfortunately, it’s in my nature. I’ve managed to convince myself that I can handle the coordination of all this via phone and email…but even that took awhile to convince myself. (I really just want to go into work one more day…)

But, according to OB-R, I am to be the laziest couch potato ever. She encouraged me to marathon Netflix. At least it’s not full bed rest.

Part two of the game plan is constant monitoring. I have an at home blood pressure machine now. I also have to have a medical professional check me out every two days or so. (Sunday I go in for another NST and blood work; Tuesday I’m back in OB-R’s office.) I have a list of signs and symptoms that mean I need to whisk myself off to the hospital. If those various things happen, obviously the timetable on the rest moves up.

As you may have guessed at this point, the last part of the game plan is an induction. 37 to 38 weeks was bandied about early on, but I think we’re aiming for 38 weeks. (After all, I’m 37 weeks on Sunday.) The GD and GH together is a placental issue. Basically, my placenta is working so hard to insure that Spawn gets all the oxygen and sugar rich blood it can, that it’s making me sick doing so. Once I deliver the placenta, poof, all of this disappears. So the idea is to find the point in which Spawn has gotten everything from me, while also making sure I don’t get a severe drop in my own health.

Literally we’re looking for when “better out then in” hits.

An induction was never going to be my ideal situation. I know the risks and the procedures and what the numbers say. Somehow, though, I’m content with it all. I suspected Spawn would come early. I just thought it would be on our terms. The fact that it will now be determined by a doctor isn’t so bad, though. As I said last time, there is a bigger picture to this than me wanting my birth my way. There is a baby that will soon be another member of the human race. A brand new person to learn and grow and be launched into this life of endless possibilities.

And more and more, I’m coming to the conclusion that birth is just the start of all that. If the induction works perfectly and starts natural labor, awesome. If it doesn’t and I need pitocin, I’ll deal with that as well. And if it all goes wonky and it comes down to a c-section, then that will be okay again.

Because at the end of birth? I want a baby. A live, screaming baby. And everything else? At this point, who really cares?

Wild

The past couple days have been so crazy and all over the place. I’m really still not quite sure which way’s up, and feel like I need a day or two to just rest and recover.

Saturday, MFH and I had Christmas with my father and MBJ. It was a lovely day, but as always when my father is involved, it was a bit chaotic as well. (He’s literally the only person I know who can leave shoes behind at someone else’s house and not realize it until you tell him.)

Sunday, MFH and I had planned on cooking meals for freezing (and eating postpartum), but MFH was in the mood for more, so he invited some friends over to tryout some new boardgames. The night went overlong, and we both got to bed far later than we should have.

I’d noticed a bit of swelling in my feet on Sunday, with the right being noticeably more than the left. I let my GD team know about it, and they looked me over with a sympathetic, “This is 9 months pregnant swelling. Nothing to worry about.” My handling of GD was also nothing to worry about, apparently. I’ve basically been released, with the caveat that I need to get retested three months postpartum to confirm I am free of diabetes then. One thing of note was that my blood pressure was “elevated.” As my appointment with my midwife was the next day, my endocrinologist just told me to mention it.

So yesterday I had my midwife appointment and my blood pressure was still elevated. I’d invited Dad to the appointment so he could hear the heartbeat, but looking back it wasn’t the greatest situation for him to be involved with. Much like Stan Smith, my father is not his best in crisis mode. He’s high-strung at the best of times, so having M1 suggest I go to the hospital for a NST and toxicity bloodwork was a bit like pressing the “launch nukes” button for him.

Luckily (for me), Dad had to be dropped off to get his car and come back to the hospital. So instead of him sitting there, vibrating with panic next to me, I got to hang out with M2 (and later M1) in a calm corner of the hospital. I was trying to explain to various parties yesterday why I was never scared. Even when M2 mentioned that, “Worse case, you’ll be breastfeeding in 3 hours,” I was fine. I realized then that I trust my midwives 100%. In the face of my literal worst case scenario (barring a stillbirth), I felt completely calm. C-section? Welp, if you say I have to have one, then I know I have to have one. It was a really wonderful feeling of calm and control even in the face of a possible emergency.

In the end, we’re all fine. Spawn’s NST was “perfect” (seriously, I’m starting to wonder about this kid). My bloodwork was mostly normal. The one number that was slightly elevated was so close to normal that the on-call OB theorized it could literally just be my normal.

Still, the initial problem of the elevated blood pressure remains a concern. As M2 said, “this type of thing generally doesn’t get better until you deliver the placenta.” M1 bandied about various options, all of which involve more monitoring, but nothing was decided. I was tired and everyone was happy to release me to go sleep in my own bed.

Today, hopefully, I find out the game plan. I may be transferred fully back into OB-R’s care. I find that a bit hysterical after I just got completely put back into the care of my midwives, but I’m less concerned about then I expected to be. (Again, my trust in my midwives is without compare.) Alternatives to that would be twice a week appointments or weekly blood and NSTs.

When I got home one of my preggo friends, AB, messaged me about getting together one last time before we all gave birth. I responded with info about my day, and how I wanted to hear from the midwives before I made any plans. She called me shortly after and shared her own “change of plans” story. AB’s baby is small, breach, and her amniotic fluid is low. So, even though she was due a few days after me, she’s now got a c-section scheduled for the 12th.

We basically just yammered about our petty disappointments lessening with the realization that these little guys (or girls) are going to be here sooner rather than later. Funny how that works.

I was so pleased she called me to share her own story. We really barely know one another, but it was surprising how much the conversation really showcased how important it is to have someone in the same situation in your life. (It doesn’t hurt that she’s a really fun girl that I genuinely like. Also–and this one is mostly for LC–she says “I KNOW!” like AP-Stats class. :p)

There are two major things that came out of this whole experience. First of all, as I mentioned when I started, I’m exhausted. I need a break. Seriously considering taking tomorrow off work if I don’t end up having appointments or what not on Friday. If that doesn’t help, I may have to reconsider this whole work until the very last second idea of mine. If I’m going to twice a week appointments or weekly appointments plus hospital visits for tests, that only leaves me with three full work days a week. Since the midwives, hospital, and OB-R’s office are all within walking distance of my house and more like 40 mins from work, I’m wondering if a work-from home situation just makes more sense for everyone. Still, not going to talk to the owners until I actually know what the game plan is.

And the other issue? Being at the hospital with my midwives yesterday really hammered home to me that there is nothing “bad” about birthing at the hospital. The choice will be taken away from me entirely if I am completely transferred into the care of OB-R.  So, before that even becomes a possibility, I decided to chose the hospital over the birth centre.

It’s not what I thought I wanted, but as a wise man once said, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you just might find…You get what you need.”

35 Week Musings

First and foremost, I have to share the (I feel) good news.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will no longer be seeing OB-R. She was super impressed with the responses of my GD team, and feels like there’s no point in me doubling up on care at this level of progress. She did, however, tell me I can’t have a homebirth. This is amusing to me, mostly because M1 flatly stated that I could still have a homebirth if that was my choice.

OB-R had a student midwife in who did my basic exam. There was a bit of an odd moment when the student measured my fundal height at 3 cm higher than I was last week. The student “double-checked” and I clocked in only 1 cm higher the second and third time. It’s crazy how that little bit of abnormality can make you instantly worried. Still, it was fine in the end.

Spawn’s head has at least partially engaged, which I’d suspected due to all the new weight on my pelvis. I don’t know that this actually means anything regarding the birth or the likelihood of it happening earlier or later than my due date. Still, my instincts that this one may make an appearance before the EDD are at least possible.

The best part of the whole appointment (besides being released from OB-R’s care) was the fact that my brother (MBJ) was able to hear Spawn’s heartbeat. MBJ has just moved up to Toronto from Houston, and he hasn’t had the opportunity to be much involved with me and this pregnancy besides finding out the gender. Spawn gave him a few good kicks on the weekend, but I think the heartbeat was really cool for him to hear.

So, to sum up, at this point I’m back to seeing only my midwives and my GD team. I have one more appointment with the GD team and then I will likely be released from their care as well. Things it will be like it was before, with my midwives handling all my care. The only difference being I’m self-checking my blood sugar 3-4 times a day.

I gotta say, I’m looking forward to it being just me and the Midwives again. As weird as it sounds, they know me. They know my past and my present and they’re doing as much as they can for my future. How could that not be comforting?

Speaking of…I’m going to talk more with M1 about the Birth Centre vs Hospital thing and see what her feedback is. I feel like I’m about 70% confident on my decision there, but I do want the feedback first. Then, I think a good chat with MFH will solidify the deal.

I’m getting to the point in this pregnancy that I can actually feel Spawn’s body from the outside. I occasionally find myself idly running my hand up and down Spawn’s back, thinking about what that will be like when there isn’t a layer of flesh between us. I’m not sure that I’m quite to the “get this thing out of me” point, but I’m starting to really look forward to life after birth. I can see how late-pregnancy symptoms will only get worse, and how at some point I will reach DEFCON 1 (‘cept for baby, not nuclear war).

Every day I cross more off my to-do lists, and feel more and more prepared. Of course, the thing about being a new parent is anything could happen. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not as prepared as I can be. It doesn’t innately mean I have no idea what I’m getting myself into.

A huge help in this department has come from work. We’ve hired my covers for Matt Leave. (I’m not going to lie, it’s flattering that they needed to find two people to replace me while I’m gone.) I’m still hoping I can come back in a work-from-home capacity this summer, but that’s all going to be played by ear. (See the paragraph prior regarding “anything could happen.”)

And in keeping with that “anything could happen” aspect, I packed my labor bag last night.  Part of it was a comment by a fellow blogger, who went in for a regular weekly checkup and ended up in the hospital. (Her attitude towards all the changes and interventions to her birth plan really inspired me to truly be zen about whatever happens. You can read her awesome birth story here.) Another part of it is just feeling like things are changing/moving towards labor as it is. Now, I haven’t packed the full-on “hospital bag,” but rather the things I’ll specifically want at labor. Worse case scenario, it’s ready even if I don’t have a change of clothes for the hospital stay…

All in all the pieces seem to be falling into place. Even though I’m feeling more and more heavy, and tired of feeling like I can’t go or do anything for longer than 20 minutes without having to pee, I really am pretty happy. Spawn is healthy, I’m strong, MFH is awesome and supportive. It seems petty to complain about some weight in my hips with the wealth of gifts around me.

We’re nearing the end–or rather, the start of a new beginning, Folks. All I can do is take it one day at a time…

Weighing My Options

I met up with M2 Wednesday, as well as the Student Midwife I shall call M3 for simplicity. M2 and I realized that we hadn’t seen each other for a loooong time. It was all the way back when I took my first GD screening test.

Anyways, we caught up and chatted a bunch after M3 checked me out. I was told my iron levels, blood pressure, and fundal height were all “really good.” It’s amazing how not being anorexic means I’m also not anemic. Shocking, that. 😛

I was also told–although I knew this one already–that Spawn is head down, back to my belly, hanging out on my right side. While there’s still a few weeks left for Spawn to change that up, it’s nice to think that (besides the right-side preference) Spawn’s in the preferred launch position.

About that, though…

Even though Spawn’s been head-down for a few weeks now, it wasn’t until the end of last week that I really noticed a change in the way I felt. Namely, like an approximately five pound bowling ball is hanging out in my pelvis. The feeling is so odd…almost like the pressure you feel when you need to pee, but radiating from pubic bone to hips and around my back all at once. I feel this bizarre need to hold up the bottom of my belly somehow. (Tried a support belt. Worked ok for walking around, but notsomuch for sitting.)

It’s really the first actual pregnancy symptom I’ve had (tiredness, boob pain, and GD notwithstanding). I remember women talking about having this feeling early on, and I feel terrible for them, wondering what it’s like now that there’s actual weight on their babies.

In theory, Spawn still has another 3 pounds or so to go before birth, so I feel like this weird pressure is just going to get worse. Hooray. :/

Something else we talked about was the Birth Centre vs. Hospital thing. As I’ve mentioned several times, the Birth Centre is my ideal. (Oh, and their website is finally up and running!) I can basically have my low-intervention, vaguely crunchy labor in beautiful surroundings and well rehearsed transfers to hospital for medical necessity.

But here’s the thing…

The Birthing Centre, as I’ve mentioned, has only three rooms. These three are shared with every midwifery in Toronto. Best case scenario, I go into labor, work my way into active labor, my midwife calls, they have a room, and we go. Awesome.

But I’m starting to wonder how I’m going to feel if I’m at home, working through active labor with MFH and my midwife and she calls and there is no room for me….and I completely lose my shit. Do I really want to take that chance?

The other point, and one that I am taking into consideration, is that M2 flat out said that the quality of care she can provide me is now better at the hospital then the Birth Centre/Home. Part of this is the GD, part of it is monitoring Spawn and making sure all’s good there. Now M1 was pretty adamant about there being no real difference. But when I went over the why of my hospital hesitation, M2 did bring up a really good point. I live 5 minutes away from TEGH. I can literally labor at home til the last moment and still get there in time.

One thing that both LC and Mom said, was that I could go into the whole thing with the idea in mind that I’m going to the hospital. Still have my midwife call about the centre, and if I get in it’s a happy surprise. I like it, I’m just not 100% confident that I can get my brain to think about it that way.

So, do I just throw in the towel on the Birth Centre all together? Or do I hold out and try to get a spot on the day? I can’t decide if just making the darn decision will take a load off my mind or if that’s just an excuse I’m giving myself.

We shall see…

In true Ms.I fashion, I have created a spreadsheet (well, several) for Spawn and Labor. One of the sheets is for my birth bag. I have everything I plan to bring on there…organized by if I have it already, have bought it and am waiting for it to come in, or need to get it. You’d think it would be enough to just put everything into a darn bag, but no, it is not. Not for me, at least. Part of it is that it’s difficult to actually pack stuff I’m currently using. Some of it is also just difficult to pack. I’m not going to be able to pack my snack bags of fruits and veggies until the day. But, it’s still good to know that I want to bring it.

Lists: an obsessive compulsive’s best friend. 🙂

Holiday Cheermeister

Normally, I’m a pretty holiday-friendly person. I’ve never groaned at seeing Christmas or Chanukah themed items in stores as early as October. Even really terrible fake-bearded Santas make me smile. I go nuts for reindeer.

This year, though was super different. I felt the holidays coming sooner and harder than I ever remember feeling in my adult life. I looked back at my old posts and saw that I first commented on how much I was looking forward to the holidays in mid-September. That gives you a fairly good idea of how much my Christmas spirit was amped up early.

The Grinch

[© Universal Pictures]

Neither my GD diagnosis nor Toronto’s insane ice storm were able to down my excitement. Yes, we lost power, but MFH and I were with MFH’s family just outside of Barrie for it, so we really didn’t have to deal with it. (Although you know what’s super fun? Finding ice chips in your toothpaste a day after the power’s come back on. I don’t know that it’s a first-world problem, but man it was bizarre.) Our Christmas plans didn’t really change, even as the locations of each event got drastically altered.

On the 23rd I met my diabetes team. I have a Diabetes Specialist RN, my dietitian (that I’ve mentioned before), and now my diabetes doctor. Three women all working together to help me and baby stay healthy. I’d lost 2 and a half pounds since my visit last week, so everyone listened a lot closer to my concerns about low-carb eating and weight loss. I was told to eat more in between meals, and to add a complex starch to every meal. All my actual numbers were good, with the exception of my early morning fast. I assumed because I was in the fives I was okay, but they want me below 5.2 mmo/L if I’m not going to get on insulin at bedtime. (Basically my body isn’t getting that I don’t need to eat when I’m sleeping. It’s freaking out, thinking I’m starving, and making too much sugar.)

My three caregivers asked if I’m wanting to stay off insulin in order to keep my primary care with my midwives. When I said yes, they all said the same thing, “Okay, let’s do everything we can to correct this with food and keep you off insulin.” After four days of following their advice (eating more all day, eating right before bed, etc.) I managed a 5.1 mmo/L this morning. I cannot tell you how excited I was to see that number on my reader. I was thisclose to jumping on my poor sleeping husband and screaming incoherently at him.

Spawn’s totally down with all the extra food. The movement has really become strong. Whether kicks, stretches or rolling over, you can now pretty much see all movement from the outside. Sometimes I find it quite uncomfortable. Especially as now it’s typical to feel it in two or three places at once. MFH and I were seriously considering the possibility of us having an extremely active child yesterday. Maybe Spawn’s just claustrophobic?

As always Christmas was full of family, friends, and far too much in the way of generosity. Even Spawn cleaned up; gaining clothing, Canadian Olympic mittens, a few receiving blankets, a book, and an unbelievable rocking horse that whinnies and moves (and that I spent far too much time cuddling considering I’m a full-grown adult.).

Rocking Horse

Spawn’s First Pony

I felt everyone’s excitement for Spawn, and compassion for me dealing with the GD and still up in the air about my care. I’ve always felt like family, even with MFH’s extended family, but this Christmas everything deepened. I felt how this new tiny human was going to take on the traditions of mine and MFH’s family, not just the traditions we make as a new family of three.

People can talk all they want about how hard it is to raise children or, alternatively, how easy it is to do it alone, but I cannot imagine doing our thing any other way. Spawn has a village of grandparents, great-grandparents, first and great aunts and uncles, and a ton of second cousins excitedly waiting for the birth day. We are not alone in this. It may not be easy, but having the wealth of love certainly isn’t a downfall.

And that’s the most important part of all of this for me, I think. I have so many people helping me with my health and my happiness. I think without a single gift I would have felt just as blessed this Christmas. I love my family, both those I was born with and those I married in to. Spawn is going to be so lucky to have all of these people to call family from birth.

Maybe some part of me knew this was coming, and that was why I was so looking forward to Christmas 2013. And with years ahead of me with Spawn learning about Christmas and what it actually means (both to the world and to our friends and families), I really don’t see an end in sight.

I may drive people crazy being the Holiday Cheermeister, but I’m okay with that. I’ll calm down and stop singing The FairyTale of New York everywhere I go soon.

Until then…

Sing it with me?

30 Week Musings

Here’s the thing about being 30 weeks preggo, for me: I feel like everything just got so much more serious.

The only rational explanation I have is I know of many babies born somewhere within the 10 weeks that start with a 3. Term is 37 weeks. (Used to be full-term, now is “early” term.) That means that I reasonably could have a term baby in 6 weeks and 2 days.

shocked-face-52923156040

Yup. Just saying “I could have a baby in 6-weeks,” seems so crazeballs I cannot even manage it out loud. But, there we are. Even more crazy? One way or another, I will have a baby in my arms within 11 weeks and 2 days. (The likelihood of anyone allowing me to go over 42 weeks is pretty much nil.)

It’s just…sobering? Something, maybe something undefinable, but something has shifted in passing this milestone. I still don’t feel like, “I want this kid out NOW!” Nor do I feel like, “OH GOD, it’s all happening too fast!” Yet there’s a brevity to the whole thing that wasn’t quite there at 29 weeks.

I’m sure being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes has made me focus a bit more on time. Part of the reason my pregnancy has flown by is it hasn’t been all that different from my life pre-pregnancy. I’ve been too busy living life to really take note of the passage of time. Now that I’m taking my blood at timed intervals throughout the day, there’s a sense of division or marking of time that wasn’t there before.

I’m going to get into the logistics of what keeping track of my blood sugar entails, including pictures. I’m doing this because as much as I knew about GD before getting diagnosed, and as much as I know about low-sugar/carb eating, I really had no clear idea of what my daily routine would be if I did get diagnosed. Hopefully this will clear up the basics for you if it’s something you’re facing yourself. There is one image of a drop of blood, so if you’re super squeamish or what have you, you may want to skip down to the cookie photo. (Or just finish reading now and meet up with me again next time. I don’t judge.)

At the moment it’s being assumed that I have the most basic, low-risk GD. This means that I am particular about what I eat, and my blood sugar hangs out at a normal level. In order to monitor this, I have to take my blood sugar reading an hour after every meal. Twice a week, I also take a fasting reading. Which basically means I wake up and take my reading before I eat anything for the day.

Today for lunch I had two large chicken souvlaki skewers, amazing tzatziki that I swear they make with crème fraîche instead of yogurt, and a side of cut cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. It came on a plate larger than my torso, and the plate did not appear to overmatch the food. Water to drink.

I set a timer for an hour as soon as I completely finish eating. When I get close to my timer going off, I get out all my tools.

The accoutrements

                                                                         The Accoutrements                                                                       [Just wanted to note for those of you who really hate needles, the actual needle part is about half the size of the round part there at the top. It’s about 4 mm and not all that goes into your skin.]

Once it goes off, I use the pen-like lancing device to acquire some blood. Basically the thing has a spring-fired tiny needle that pokes my finger once and then “disappears” back into the pen. You can set the depth the needle penetrates, so if you have super thin, callus-free skin you’re not going to use the same depth as someone with thick, well-worn hands. (You don’t actually have to use your finger, it’s just convenient.) The range is from 1 to 5. I find 3.5 works best for me. I use one finger a day and switch from one side of the finger to the other every time I test. Sometimes I feel it, and other times I barely notice. Regardless, I have to “milk” my finger once or twice to get my little blood droplet. This droplet goes onto the testing strip; the strip is read by the testing unit.

Pretty straightforward

Pretty straightforward

As you can see above, my readout is 5.5 mmo/L. The goal is to hit 7.8 or below so…yeah, I make that easily. I usually get away with just holding my finger with a tissue for a half minute, but if I’m rushing I’ll slap on a bandaid. I record the number in my book, properly dispose of strip and needle, and I am free to go about my day until an hour after dinner tonight.

So that’s the process. Is it ideal? Of course not. I hope all of you manage to sweep through pregnancy without having to worry about GD at all. Still, I’d take this over “morning” sickness any day.

I don’t find the low-carb (or carb watching, whatever you want to call it) difficult. Some people probably would. Especially as now is the season for things like this to be left on desks:

In the words of M1, "It's Christmas, you can have a stinking cookie."

In the words of M1, “It’s Christmas, you can have a stinking cookie.”

Because my average readings have been so low (6.05 mmo/L) my midwife M1 is pretty confident that I’m going to be fine with diet. She was super aware and supportive of how me “dieting” can mess with my head a bit. She spent quite a bit of our appointment just talking about GD being a no-fault situation. She also said that unless something drastically changes, I won’t be seeing the OB much longer, and–best of all–I can still birth at the birthing centre!

Later on that night MFH and I went to our second prenatal class. This one was about pain management, birth support, and (rather timely all things considered) birth plans. I think MFH and I both got a lot more out of this one. We all got the opportunity to narrow down our choices and share with each other what we did and didn’t want out of the experience. (Oddly enough, the ladies number one fear was not pain, labor, or actually dealing with baby. It ended up being C-Section.)

MFH mentioned something that I thought was hilarious, mostly because it shows how well he knows me. He was in with all the future Dads and they were talking about coaching their partners through labor. MFH was like, “It’s fine for them to talk about how you’re supposed to be really cheerleader-y, but I can see Ms.I looking at me and daring me to say ‘good job’ one more time and see what happens.”

Every time I read or see a suggestion for a partner to be repetitiously vocal about encouragement I feel itchy. I don’t have an issue with genuine awe/support. Just nothing forced/silly. Of course, things may change on the day…who knows?!

In related news, I may have started experiencing braxton-hicks contractions. I say may, because something’s going on, but it’s not exactly how others have described it to me. Have you ever gotten hit/dinged so hard that there’s a moment of almost vibrating numbness before pain? That’s sort of what this feels like to me, minus the eventual pain. The location seems to move from one area to another, and they’re never really very close together. (I may get two a day.) Spawn ceases all movement for the few seconds I have this “vibrating numbness” which was the only thing that made me think it might be BH in the first place. Afterward Spawn shows displeasure by recreating the chopsticks scene in Big on my ribcage.

Also, I have to say that with Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in my life. It sometimes is to the point of discomfort. I am a blessed (lucky) person. I cannot stress that enough. Come the good, bad, or otherwise, I have so much to be grateful for. I certainly plan to post again before the big day next Wednesday, but–in case life makes other plans–I wish you all a wonderful day of joy regardless of your own beliefs or celebrations. May this year–no matter how great–be only a shadow of the awesomeness that next year brings you.

Much love,
Ms.I

Officially GD

So my official diagnosis came through for Gestational Diabetes.

I now add an OB to my stable of healthcare providers.

Tuesday I have to attend a 2-hour clinic at the hospital for preggos with GD. (Apparently there are so many of us that having individual appointments isn’t reasonably feasible.) That’s a comfort, in a way. I’m not in this alone.

And, as much as it sucks to have this come up at the end of a “perfect” pregnancy, I’m really rather glad I decided to get tested. My uterus is growing perfectly on schedule and my weight is fine. I had no other symptoms then my blood sugar levels were crazy. It is entirely possible that come D-day, I could have a twelve pound Spawn on my hands.

I’m already following the diabetes standard of eating. It’s really rather familiar to me. Low-carb, high protein was a mantra of mine for at least ten years. It’s part of the reason my meet with my new OB didn’t go so great. She had this assumption that because I’m not “thin” I don’t know how to eat thin. I thought about getting into my history, but I just was too annoyed to bother. I really wasn’t very nice…not that I was an asshat or anything, just not my usual positive self. I actually was thinking today of writing her a little apology letter. Afterall, things might get bad enough that she ends up being the person who delivers me and I’d rather her not think of me as her “problem” patient.

Oh. That’s the other thing. When M1 told me I’d been officially diagnosed, I had a mini-breakdown. I interrupted her to ask what would have to happen for me to lose them. M1 explained that, while my primary care will transfer to my OB if I have to go on insulin, I’ll still have my midwives present at my birth.

I was so relieved I started crying. And not normal crying either. After the initial relief, it just kept going. It was like my eyes sprung a leak. It really had little to do with the rest of me. Almost like a nosebleed. Very unsettling.

So for now, I’ll continue seeing my midwives on our regular schedule. I’ll fold in extra appointments with the OB. (Shall I just call her OB-R for now? Yeah, let’s do that.) I may have to see a diabetes specialist as well. A lot depends on how well my sugar levels stabilized with diet.

I will say that being on a diet that so closely resembles how I kept myself in “acting weight” for so many years doesn’t sit super comfortably. I’m not a big sugar eater to begin with, but I do love breads and pastas. When I don’t eat them, I tend to drop weight very quickly. Now just doesn’t seem like the time for that.

While I realize that there are probably a lot of preggos out there that would love to stop expanding, I’ve been really quite content with the belly. I don’t feel fat. I feel like I’m nearly finished with growing a person. It’s certainly helped along by the positive reactions of MFH and our friends, but at the heart of it all is just how I feel about myself. I am really super happy with my body. It’s looking after me and Spawn. It’s taken us to this point without issues.

Now I just want to show it the same courtesy. I keep reminding myself that I’m eating the way I am now to keep Spawn from getting too much blood sugar, not because I’m trying to drop weight for a part or event. It’s amazing the mental scars that hang around even after you’re over the heartache they initially caused.

I’ll update as things progress.

In other news, MFH and I attended our first prenatal class at our midwifery clinic. We were there with seven other couples who are all patients there as well, and one of the girls I’d already met through my various preggo meetups. Most of the information seemed very familiar to me after all of my reading/research. Still, hearing personal experiences always helps, and I like both midwives teaching the classes.

It also came up in class that a lot of the moms-to-be felt fairly prepared, but they wanted their dads-to-be to feel as covered. MFH agreed that the first part (on pregnancy) held little in the way of news, because I try to explain things as I experience them. The second part (on labor) was more helpful to him. Even just the logistics of how to know when to go to the hospital (my midwife will likely be with me/us at the house when we make that decision) had not occurred to him.

He also brought up the point that I feel really super strongly about and have mentioned on here before. It is important to talk to people going through the exact same things at basically the same time as we are. All the couples are first-timers, and the husbands got the opportunity to realize that their anxieties were completely normal…because six other dudes felt the same way about things. Of course it helps to talk to anyone who has experience with having a child, but it’s not quite the same thing talking to a veteran on the other side as it is to trade stories with people who are with you in the trenches.

Which brings me to another sort of interesting topic…

Everyone (with the exception of one husband) in our prenatal class is white. All of us are gainfully employed and appear to be middle to upper-middle class. MFH and I might be the only ones not living in an actual house. When I think of people who are interested in midwifery, I generally think of a more cultural mix of people.

On the other side of that was the waiting room of OB-R’s. I was the only person without a child. I was the only woman wearing pants, and one of the few not wearing a burqa, niqāb, or ḥijāb. There was one other woman there who was unaccompanied by a man. All together with patients, kids, and husbands/accompanying men, there were about twenty people in the waiting room at any time. It was such a contrast to my midwifery, where it’s rare just to have someone in the waiting room, let alone have a ton of people waiting.

I’ve mentioned already that I was courteous, if not my normal sunny self to OB-R. Our appointment was very short. Having said that, she did ask me several times if I had any questions and I certainly didn’t feel rushed. Still, I could not wait to get away from her/there. I do hope we come to a better understanding in the near future, but that will be as much on me as it is her. (If not more.)

Besides the preggo stuff, I had my work Christmas party last night. MFH finally got to meet the people I jabber about all the time, and I was happy to show him off to all my coworkers. I was unaware that they awarded bonuses at this event, so was extremely surprised to be called up to great acclaim to receive one. (Super glad MFH and I didn’t cut out early as planned.) The whole night was rather pleasant.

I’ve got to say, though, I’m very much looking forward to this weekend. MFH and I have zero plans, and that’s the first time in ages for the both of us. I think the time together, bumming around with Piper will be great for the lot of us.

I may ruin things a bit, though, by working on refinishing my Deacon’s Bench. It’s the last piece of furniture we’d planned on using in Spawn’s room, and it needs a little TLC before it’s ready to hang out with the rest of the nursery. (The thing has been around since my birth. It’s hung on rather well and I don’t blame it for having a few bumps and bruises.)

One way or another, it will be nice to spend time together as a family. Christmas and New Year’s is around the corner, and Spawn is going to make a grand appearance soon after that. A bit of quiet time now seems to be exactly what the doctor (midwifes/ob) ordered.

 

 

The Planner (Counting Chickens)

I’m nothing if not a planner. This is no surprise to anyone who knows me personally (or anyone who’s followed along here from the beginning).

I always have a game plan for one thing or another. (Or several things, as the case may be.) Getting to University. Scheduling my University classes (I had all 4 years planned out before I graduated high school.). Getting an agent for acting. It was all done meticulously and with no shortage of planning. Most of the time, what I planned for happened. When it didn’t, or didn’t exactly to plan, that was still okay, because proper planning means you take alternate situations into account. That way a small thing goes wrong and you deal; the whole thing doesn’t implode.

For a few years my planning mechanism went faulty. (Let’s be honest here, a lot of things went faulty.) I look back on it as a time of learning about the darkness of life. I was more adrift then I’ve ever been (and hope to ever be). I was caught in this half-being. Not happy where I was, but also unsure about where to go or what to do to fix it.

I started planning again. Lo and behold, I set myself on a course that landed me in with new, positive friends, a change in career, and finding My Future Husband. I also found myself. I found my voice again. I remembered my own power to do and feel good. The darkness lifted.

It’s not that everything was perfect. I had several false starts and what have you, but days changed from mostly dark to mostly light. Just like I’d planned. 😛

Planning for Spawn worked out perfectly. Better than it should have, probably. I wish everyone who wanted a child had as easy of a road of it as I did making it happen. It doesn’t work that way, but I wish it did.

My pregnancy has been super easy as well. I’ve passed everything with flying colours. Until now.

My glucose screen came back high, so I had to go back and take the actual three-hour test. Because I’d planned for it, I wasn’t shocked. Doesn’t discount the fact that I was very disappointed.

I’m a bit resigned now that I will probably be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. There are a wide range of possibilities if I am. Depending on the severity, I may only need to stop eating sugar/carbs. Not ideal this time of year, but completely and totally do-able. Of course, the other side involves a lot of intervention, medication, and the possibility of actually losing my midwives.

And while I completely understand that transferring me to an OB/GYN will only be done because the risks of birth to myself and my child will have drastically increased, logic cannot overcome the fact that I really don’t want to give up the women who have gotten me through this pregnancy thus far. All the planning in the world hasn’t prepared me for that sense of loss. I will have to man through it as/if it comes.

But on to a much brighter topic…

Until I started all my pre-pregnancy planning, I’d never heard of having a baby shower after the baby was born. I’d been to a slew of baby showers, starting at a fairly young age. None of them had a baby present, just a big-tummied lady.

The first time I realized you could have a shower after the baby, was reading a blog of a Jewish mom. Now, I’m well aware that it doesn’t have to be a religious thing. Having said that, there is (apparently) a very strong feeling in the Jewish community that purchasing items of celebration before confirming there is an actual living baby to celebrate is major bad luck. There is literally the idea of not counting your chickens before they hatch…

Now that I’ve been pregnant for awhile, I’ve heard more and more stories of showers after birth. Besides the good luck/bad luck thing, I’ve also heard people express that showers are just so much better when there’s a baby to pass around and cuddle.

Sure that’s adorable…but it also really skeeves me out. Passing a one-month old around the room of 20 so-odd people who are eating and drinking? While I somehow try to divert my attention away from Spawn long enough to open presents and remember to show how grateful I am for them? Nightmares. Literally, everyone go wash your hands right now, please.

And here’s the other thing. Having a shower after a wedding makes more sense to me. For one, you’re sure the two are actually going through with the thing. For another, no couple is going to come home after the wedding and really miss the place setting they might have gotten before. [aside: I am VERY grateful for everything MFH and I received both at my showers and for the wedding itself. I need to be extremely clear on that point. However, I don’t think waiting until after the wedding for those generous gifts would have made a real difference in our lives.)

If you wait to buy baby things until after the baby, you could literally have to go and buy a mattress (or bassinet or something) just after birth so that the baby can actually be put down on occasion. Or blankets. Diapers. Does this not terrify anyone else?

Having a shower before means I can see what we still have to get before we have a Spawn to juggle. (Figuratively, of course. No juggling babies in my house.) I promise you, I am OCD enough that I will find a way to purchase all “useful” items long before February 23rd. My child may not have a single stitch of clothing that I have purchased at birth, but there will be sheets, swaddlers, and diapers at the ready. 😀

Maybe if I wasn’t such a planner, that would all be okay. There wouldn’t be this mad desire to ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS.

Yup, that's me. [Art by one of my faves, Alli Brosh. Seriously, if you haven't read Hyperbole and a Half, now's the time.]

                                                         Yup, that’s me.                                                  [Art by one of my faves, Alli Brosh. Seriously, if you haven’t read Hyperbole and a Half, now’s the time.]

As it is, I’ve had to willfully restrain myself from putting together nursery furniture before our huge Christmas party tomorrow. (Seriously, the day after? All that furniture will be together and in place. MFH is a saint to stay with me sometimes, guys.)

I’ve got a few other things in the works for the nursery, so don’t be surprised if you see more photos in the next week or so.

In the mean time, I hope your days are bright and your well-laid plans come to fruition.