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.