Monday, July 29, 2013

Week Thirty Seven.

After some testing this afternoon, the plan is confirmed: we're checking into the hospital tonight. The little Rabbit should be joining us tomorrow sometime! I can't guarantee when I'll get a post up here again, so keep an eye on the Twitters if you're looking for the first "she's here!" announcement.

Let's do this!!!!
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Week Thirty Six: The Upsides.

Last week's post was sort of a bummer so this is my attempt at cosmically realigning my pregnancy mojo, or something of that nature.

Good Things:

  • I made it through 36 weeks of pregnancy before the inability to get a wedding ring on struck
  • Not being able to easily reach my feet has meant more pedicures, and I am very okay with this
  • Every so often I catch Aaron holding back a laugh (typically during a time where my belly is in my way to some degree), and when I ask, "Are you laughing at me?", and he responds, "Yes, but it's because you're cute", it then makes me smile so everyone wins
  • The hospital we'll be at has some delivery rooms with jacuzzis in them, which when it comes down to it I may not even use or care about, but for now it helps me think of this "getting baby out" process as a wonderful spa-like vacation
  • I can really fool myself into believing things like "infant care is a vacation"
  • They have a margarita machine at the hospital right
  • Okay back to topic
  • I have a straight A student in there - six BPP tests, all passed with flying colors
  • Speaking of colors, there's some debate over what color her enormous mop of hair will be - I vote brown (the ultrasound tech did a measurement on her hair last week [does insurance cover that?] and claims it is over an inch long)
  • People smile at very pregnant ladies more than I expected
  • While I may have momentarily given up on proper nutrition last week (three Oatmeal Creme Pies in one day - go ahead and judge because I don't care because pregnancy - and the second and third ones tasted like delicious, delicious guilt anyway), I'm pretty sure all the previous weeks of almonds, blueberries, and soy milk negates most of the grossness
  • The Oatmeal Creme Pies are no longer in our house, so I'm once again safe
  • It sounds as though ours and the royal baby will be sharing a birth month, so obvsly they will be BFF penpals
Pure evil, in every possible way

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Plan (Week Thirty Five).

I'm beginning to believe there must have been some under-the-radar meeting involving secret handshakes and passwords wherein every pregnancy symptom that I've experienced thusfar has decided to band together for one last "let's make this really miserable" hurrah. Instead of confetti, there are sporatic stabs of back pain. Instead of an inflatable bouncy house, I have inflated feet and ankles. Instead of cake, there's my inability to avoid low blood sugars every mid-afternoon, and sometimes after dinner, and often in the middle of the night (essentially overdosing myself for meals as that's all I can seem to do to negate food spikes, with the expectation of a low later on that can be avoided - assuming I remember to expect it - with a snack). (See also: not medical advice in any way please don't do this I am not a doctor.)

Wait, so maybe there can be cake.

Last week had me seeing both the high-risk OB (also known as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist) and my regular OB. This was our last visit with the high-risk dude, and we once again got to see our little Rabbit on a 4D ultrasound scan. The good news is that she seems raring to go - all major organs look good, she's "breathing" like a boss, and the amniotic fluid levels look great. The BPP scan we did at my regular OB's office also produced another perfect score; 8 out of 8.

This is all very good news. But unfortunately, not all of the news was ideal.

Remember how I mentioned that while her size was creeping up, no one was freaking out about it yet? She now is being estimated above the 90th percentile in weight, and both my hope and my bladder are feeling a little crushed. And "crushed' compounds when I realize that I shouldn't feel badly about feeling badly, but yet I do. (What?) Let me explain.

If I'm being completely honest with myself, my disappointment stems from now being an example of the incorrect assumption that "oh, you have diabetes, so of course your baby was big". I have worked so, so hard to keep this body a healthy environment for her (on top of all the normal pregnancy requirements); poked my fingers more than I ever have in my life; lost sleep so that I could check BGs during the night and eat a little something to keep the morning fasting ketones at bay; injected and waited, waited, waited until it seemed safe to consume some carbohydrates; participated in the frequent monitoring, doctor visits, blood draws and urine collections recommended; kept my A1Cs in "baby range" as soon as I was able to do so.

I've done everything I'm able to do to keep her healthy. So why do I still feel defeated? (And if she comes out otherwise-healthy, who cares?)

It's possible that, even if I didn't have type 1 diabetes (or even if somehow I could have been hooked up to an artificial pancreas that could keep my BGs in those impossible ranges at all times), I still would have grown a baby her size. It's possible that she was going to be larger no matter what I did. But we'll never know, and I fear that the biggest thing that will stand out to some about this journey is that, judging by her size, I must have been "uncontrolled". That I didn't work hard enough. That it's my fault. Once again I have to release myself to the conclusion that I ultimately can't control what happens here - I can try hard, and I can enlist the most competent medical team, and I can count every freaking carb and unit of insulin until it all starts blurring together, but at this point the whole thing's on a version of auto-pilot where what I do doesn't directly affect the outcome. And while delivering at 37 vs. 39 weeks would relieve me of the misery party I mentioned earlier, it wasn't what I was genuinely hoping would happen.

And then I feel bad about feeling this way, because I sincerely hope that it doesn't come off as thinking that delivering early, for anyone, is a failure. I know that it's not. Everyone's situation is different, and 37 weeks is considered "full term" anyway. I only assign this feeling to my own personal situation, because that's the only situation I know all of the details and inside information into. My own journey with pregnancy is the only one I can judge, because it's the only one I truly know.

Though I know this is the plan that is probably best for her, I can't shake the feeling that I didn't do the best for her along this journey somewhere, somehow. (But again, what could I have done differently?) I know that so many others with T1D have delivered very healthy babies during week 37, and I hope that our story is no different, no matter how I may feel about it in this moment. (And if you're one of those who did deliver early and shared your story with me, thank you- it is helping me in ways I can't now articulate to accept what's coming.) Much in the same way that removing most of my pre-pregnancy clothing from my closet helped me feel better about how I was growing, I've packed up the newborn-sized clothing the little Rabbit will probably never get to wear as a way to help me accept what will be. I keep telling myself that if she is healthy when she's born, it shouldn't matter how (or when) we get there. I keep telling myself that, but I can't say I believe it with my whole heart just yet.

I hope that can change in the next two weeks.

Due to her estimated chunkiness, we won't be giving her the 39 weeks I had hoped for. We're scheduled for an amniocentesis in a couple of weeks (which is during week 37 of pregnancy for me), where I'll hang around my OB's office for monitoring a couple of hours after the test as we wait for results. If the test results indicate that her lungs are fully developed, we'll be checking into the hospital that night to start induction.

Until then, I'm working on packing the rest of our hospital bags, while unpacking the disappointment and guilt I'm feeling.

It's the kind of baggage that's best left on the curb.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Nerve.

I like to think I have a pretty high threshold for pain.

When I was in high school I belonged to a Tae Kwon Do studio, working my way up to black belt over the course of about a year and a half. I had never had a big interest in martial arts before, but their huge sign in the window of the studio that offered "SELF DEFENSE CLASSES" reeled me in - and the more I learned, the more I loved it. My decade of dance classes combined with cheerleading experience proved a formidable foundation of strength and flexibility that allowed me to excel at this new (to me) sport. It felt totally empowering, and I miss practicing it.

But onto the pain stuff.

I can recall one class where a younger instructor was teaching us a sort of submission move that involved grabbing the fist of your attacker and bending their thumb (utilizing a pressure point, I'm sure) inward in a way that was supposed to prove them incapacitated. I volunteered to be the proverbial "attacker" in this situation; the instructor taking my hand and showing, step by step, how to position his. He then looked to me, a slight grin on his face, and said, "This only hurt little bit. Okay?" Um, sure. Okay. His chubby fingers began to exert pressure on my thumb. I didn't even flinch.

He pressed harder, and harder again. Still nothing. (I vaguely remember smiling at him at this point.)

The look on his face was priceless - this was supposed to cause me to double over in pain, yet there I stood smiling at him. Did he realize all of the injections, finger sticks, and blood draws I'd had up until that point? This was nothing!

The point of this recollection is that I've, up to now, been under an assumption that I can tolerate quite a bit of pain with some amount of grace.

I've known that late pregnancy sometimes causes back pain; it's one of the multitude of symptoms that gets rattled off when you're learning "what to expect". What I hadn't anticipated was that it would be the sort of debilitating back pain that leaves you involuntarily whimpering every time it shoots down your back. Maybe I thought it was going to be some mild soreness that hangs around, or at least the kind that while uncomfortable, could be manageable.

I certainly didn't expect it to strike during my drive home from work on Friday, leaving me wondering if the facial expressions I was making would cause my fellow drivers to believe I had gone into labor, and more importantly wondering if I could make it home without veering off into a ditch somewhere.

But I did somehow make it home, and as I limped into our house strung together in one, high-pitched sentence "MYBACKISKILLINGMECANYOUPLEASEGETTHESTUFFOUTOFMYCARINEEDTOLAYDOWN" to Aaron. A call to my doctor confirmed: it's sciatic nerve pain, and it's the most painful thing I can remember feeling ever in my life. I spent Friday night and most of the day Saturday trying all of the things you can try to relieve the pain: lying on your opposite side, Tylenol (which, to my delight, didn't seem to interfere with my Dexcom G4 results in the way it would have with the 7+), Icy Hot patches, a maternity belt, and good old-fashioned cursing. Some of it helps, some of it doesn't. This morning I can feel the pain creeping back into my lower left side, and I'm willing the Tylenol I swallowed at breakfast to ward off the worst of it.

I think this is why Mother Nature designed human pregnancy to be so long - if all of these symptoms came on at once instead of the gradual manner in which I've experienced them, I'd be losing my damn mind.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week Thirty Three.

I feel as though I've regressed to the state of a four-year-old on a road trip: "Are we there yet?"

(If you were looking for a "I love being pregnant!" post, keep your seatbelt fastened. This isn't your stop.)

One early morning, I noticed that my rings weren't quite sliding on like they used to, and I bristled. Glaring sternly at my ring finger, I used my mental telepathy to express that "no, there's been a mistake, surely. I haven't had any salt yet today. (I wasn't sleep-eating potato chips, right?)". I had hoped I could reason with myself, but shockingly, it didn't work. I'm just swelling up in all extremities now, at any given time apparently.

Things that used to be easy before, like oh, I don't know, walking or going up one flight of stairs or not running into things stomach-first have become significant challenges as of late. Did you know being super pregnant also makes you burp all the time? Yeah, me either. Awesome. Super.

I'm on my third iteration of Palmer's Slather This All Over Your Belly False Hope Cream®, but my stripes are still pretty bright. I'm told that stretchmarks fade after the baby's out... right? I hope that's true, otherwise my kid is going to grow up believing I'm half-tiger and I don't want to explain in a few years to some nice stranger at a grocery store why my adorable daughter is roaring at me.

Baby Girl is still moving around frequently, but not as much in the same enthusiastic, Thumper-esque ways of her youth. I'd imagine she's feeling pretty cramped in there by now, so her dance moves are now less Cupid Shuffle and more Mom Dancing. She'll sometimes stretch a foot out, leaving the angle of my stomach so off-kilter that I press back on her because tummies aren't supposed to look like this so stop it. You can do your stretches next month, after you move.

As for the medically-related whatnot, we're still doing well. My blood pressure actually measured lower than it has been last week, which is great, and the little rabbit has now passed three of the BPP tests with perfect scores. As for measurements/weight estimations, I'm starting to wonder if I really am growing a large Muppet in there, because the percentile her weight falls in has steadily crept up. Is she just having a long growth spurt? Is it because her dad was a large baby, too, or because I'm tall? Is it because of the spikes in blood sugar I wasn't able to tame? Maybe all of the above. She still has a few weeks to bake, so no one is freaking out yet in relation to her size, but it's enough to make me wonder if 39 weeks is still a realistic goal.

The diabetes part of the equation has been... well, it's actually given me a break for a couple weeks. I don't mean that it's gotten easier, or that I'm not taking the hugest amounts of insulin I've ever heard of, or that those food boluses don't happen several minutes or sometimes a full hour before eating, but the results of those efforts have been more visible. My endo was actually really pleased last week with how I'd handled the previous several days, and made adjustments based on the speculative temporary basal rates I'd tried.

(Sidebar for the newly-pregnant or planning-to-be ladies out there, because at some point I wanted to be sure to pass on these gems: there are a couple of websites/newsletters that have been super helpful for me. If you haven't yet, check out Lucie's List - the site and weekly newsletter based on your due date - for some real talk on what to expect throughout the whole ordeal, what you're actually going to need gear-wise for baby, and reassurance that whatever weirdness you might encounter is probably a normal pregnancy thing. Also for good advice and information, but also for some of the funniest writing you'll encounter, do the same with Pregnant Chicken. Her weekly emails make my... week. Seriously, she's wonderful.)

Four to six weeks left, and while I'm not sure Aaron or I will ever feel "ready", we're feeling pretty close to that. Which will have to do!