Friday, April 25, 2008

Pregnant Friends

These ladies are friends of mine from the credit union. The one in gray is due in mid-June, the one in the middle is due the first week of July (like me!). We are all having girls. I think that Chinese calendar might be onto something. ;) It's been fun being pregnant with them since we get to chat (and vent) to each other about all the things that are happening to us and the stupid things people say. My college roommate is also pregnant right now - she's due in October.
Dave mentioned last night, while reminding me to practice my hypnosis because I slacked for a couple of days, that we have basically 8 weeks left. (Technically, we have 10, but he's so convinced that I won't go past 38 that he doesn't even count that far.) 8 weeks!! Holy crap. On one hand, that's a long time to manage my sugar and worry about the baby. On the other - HOLY CRAP!
I find that I have some mixed feelings about her impending arrival. Not that I don't want her, or anything like that. I'm so excited about meeting her and starting this new part of my life. However, the closer it gets, the more I realize that it will no longer be just me and Dave. That makes me a little sad. He's going to be a great father, and I can't wait to see him with her, but it will never be the same again. I find myself needing to spend as much time with him as possible in these last few weeks. The weekends and the evenings aren't long enough! I think I've fallen in love with him all over again through this whole process. I have the same crispy, end of summer feeling that I had the first time I fell in love with him - when the days were long and the only thing that mattered in the world was the two of us. It's one of those things you think you will never feel again. What a blessing God has given me! I can't wait to fall in love with him again and again as our family grows and our lives change together.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

29 Weeks

There isn't much to report on baby progress this week. She's growing. That's about it. :) She should weigh about 2 lbs 10 oz right now, according to the calendar. I believe this to be true, even with the diabetes and the constant comments about how huge my baby must be already because my belly is. From what I've read, it's from this point forward that she would gain extra weight if I don't keep my sugar under control. I also read a very interesting tid bit about predicting the baby's birth weight. Apparently, the most reliable method, over ultrasound, fundal height measurement, and palpitations, is.... the mother's intuition! *GASP* Imagine that the mother might have a clue with what's going on in her body! (Notice the sarcasm? I'm about tired of being told how huge my baby will be.) Have mercy, I sound grouchy. I think she'll be in the seven pound range, and I've believed that for quite some time now.

I've learned some interesting things about gestational diabetes in the last week besides that it's in the last weeks that the baby packs on extra fat if the mother's sugar isn't controlled. Apparently, when the mother's sugar isn't controlled, energy that is supposed to be used on developing the lungs is being used to store that extra sugar as fat - thus, when babies of diabetic mothers are born early (as is prone to happen) they have an increased chance of underdeveloped lungs. Also, the fasting sugar level (the first one you check before eating in the morning) can get wacked out overnight as if you feasted at a dessert buffet. This is because while you are sleeping, the placenta is releasing hormones that prohibit the use of insulin. Basically, you have done nothing to cause it to skyrocket but still it goes higher than it is supposed to be - as is the nature of gestational diabetes. Little things like using perfumed hand sanitizer or lotions can affect your sugar levels if you do not wash your hands first or use an alcohol prep pad. And the biggest of all, which I already knew but had confirmed this morning, even if you eat like the diet says, some approved foods will still make your sugar level too high. :( I got my glucose test strips in the mail yesterday, so I've now embarked on the adventure of figuring out what I can and can't eat (within the diet) to keep my sugar where it's supposed to be. I'll say this, I know when it's back to the fasting level because that's when I'm suddenly, painfully, nauseously starving.

More on the big belly - which, I happen to love and think is beautiful regardless of the ignorant comments I've received. I attended a baby shower for my friend who is about a month ahead of me over the weekend. There were 4 obviously pregnant women there, including one who was being induced this week (yesterday). One of the ladies walked up to me and said, "You look like you are the most due here. When are you due?" I laughed. And said, "July."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More written therapy...

Last week was my regular doctor's appointment and it included the 1 hour glucose tolerance test. I failed it. I went back yesterday for the three hour test. I failed it, too. :(

I am now officially classified as "high risk" because of gestational diabetes. Obviously, this was not part of my plan. Let me clarify that the best explanation for gestational diabetes is that the hormones from the placenta make the insulin I produce less effective so that it can no longer handle my regular sugar intake effectively. I have NOT been sitting around gobbling up five pound bags of sugar, or otherwise eating any more sugar than I ever have in my life. That's not what causes this. Prior to pregancy, my blood sugar was always very normal.

I have a diet to follow and will be monitoring my sugar at home. I go back to the doctor in 2 weeks, and will continue to go every 2 weeks until I reach 36 weeks (then I'll go every week). As long as I keep my sugar levels where they are supposed to be with my diet and exercise, I don't have to have insulin shots. (Please everyone, pray that I don't have to have insulin shots. I don't know if I can give myself a shot, plus I don't want to deal with all the headache that comes with managing insulin and sugar levels.)

Diet and exercise are fine. I can do those things (Oh, how I will miss Coke and chocolate ice cream!), my worries about this are the implications it has on my health, the baby's, and my birth plans. For me it means that my chances of having gestational diabetes in subsequent pregnancies is 2 out of 3. Even though I will most likely be back to normal after birth, it increases my risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life (I didn't really need any more help there, but God made me this way and it's my responsibility to take care of this temple.)

For the baby it means a risk of her growing too large, which then increases the chances that I may need to be induced early or end up with a c-section. It also increases the chances that she'll be born early spontaneously, though, if I control my sugar it shouldn't be so early that there are adverse effects on her. There is a chance that she could have high or low blood sugar at birth and need some special attention for that, and that she could be more at risk for diabetes later in life (She doesn't need any help with that either!). There are also some scarier risks, but they are usually in extreme cases when sugar isn't controlled or the mother had diabetes prior to the pregnancy.

For the birth, it blows the lid right off of my best laid plans. Things could go just fine with me going into labor spontaneously and delivering her without a hitch (that's the plan), but the high risk classification just opens the door for interventions. It's fairly common for doctors to induce at 38 weeks to prevent the baby from growing too large. Inducing early increases the risk of a c-section because the body isn't ready to give birth yet and induction fails. Carrying the baby to term with diabetes increases the chances of shoulder dystocia (when the head is delivered and the shoulders get stuck in the birth canal) because of a large sized baby (babies are considered large if they are over 8.8 lbs). Given all this information, it's difficult to say with any accuracy how big the baby will be until it gets here. Even ultrasounds late in pregnancy can be off by a pound or more, and just because I've been diagnosed with a diabetes does not mean I will have a huge baby. I have lots to think about, and lots to discuss with the doctor.

On to happier things. I am 28 weeks 1 day. She is about 10 inches long and 2 lbs 7 ounces, according to the pregnancy calendar. Last week, the doctor measured me for the first time and I measured right on time at 27 cms. While I may LOOK huge, I'm actually right where I'm supposed to be. So there!

By the way, I LOVE my doctor. I asked him a ton of questions last week and his answers were right in line with what I wanted to hear. He made me feel better about some things, and I trust him even more now to do what's best for me and the baby. The best part - I talked to him about hypnosis and he seemed intrigued. He has some training in hypnosis for childbirth, but he's never had the opportunity to use it. I will be his first patient to use that method. He wanted to know what program I am using and the websites where he can read more about it. He's very supportive!

On that note, I have solid confirmation that the techniques I've been practicing work. The other night I was lying in bed and my knees were throbbing in pain. I don't know why, but I had taken some Tylenol and it wasn't doing anything for me (drugs don't work as well when you are pregnant). I decided I would try hypnosis to see if I could make them stop hurting. It worked! It worked so well and so fast! It's very affirming to know that my mind is so powerful.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I hate my clothes!

Not really, because I just got new, fun spring/summer clothes that actually fit. However, I am having one of those days when, if it was socially acceptable to walk around naked, I would strip right now without thinking twice about it. I cannot wait to go home and change. I'm contemplating cooking dinner naked, but I'm planning to grill on the front porch and my across the street neighbor might be offended and the one next door would probably enjoy it too much. I bought new bras over the weekend, and while this one is a thousand times more comfortable than the others, it's still driving me bananas. I cannot stand the feeling of it on my ribcage - which keeps getting wider and wider! I've been trying to plot a way to go without a bra for the next three months, but sadly, I don't think that's going to be possible given the professional environment in which I work. This is going to get even better when she is actually long enough to kick me in the ribs.

I'm finished whining now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

99 Days!

I can't believe it, but I only have 99 days left! That's based on a due date of July 10th, so who really knows? The doctor just keeps saying "the first week of July." All I know is that she'll come when she's ready, and not when "they" say she should be here. I'm hoping it's right on time, but we shall see. It's still hard to believe that I'm in double-digits now. I can't wait. I get more excited to meet her every day.

According to my pregnancy calendar, we are 26 weeks today and the baby weighs about 2 lbs. and is about 9 inches long. Also, she can open her eyes now so she's practicing her blinking skills.

I have changed my diet to make sure that I'm getting enough protein, and I swear the swelling in my feet has been better! I read that eating a high protein diet (75-80 grams a day) reduces the risk of preeclampsia. Since I am planning a natural birth, I need to stay as low-risk as possible. Now I'm just trying not to worry about the number of calories I'm eating, though I find I'm not eating as much or as often. The protein makes me feel full longer, and I'm sure lean meat, eggs, and cheese are better for me than chocolate chip granola bars and Pop Tarts. I feel pretty good about my diet, but my most recent downfalls are real Coke (only 8 0z a day) and chocolate. Two caffeine containing junk foods that I should probably avoid, but chocolate makes the world a better place and 8 oz of Coke a day aren't going to kill us.

If you weren't already aware of my decision, you may have just done a double-take about my natural birth plan. It's something I've kept fairly quiet because people's reactions are generally less than desirable - that's putting it very nicely. It's something I'm really excited about so I finally decided I would write about it here. If you have something negative or derogatory to say about the decision, please keep it to yourself. I don't need to hear it, and I assure you I've done plenty of research and I'm not blindly naive about birth.

Birth is a completely individual and personal experience for everyone. I believe with everything in my being that natural is the best method for me and my baby. I've researched the pros and cons of using medications and all the various interventions that could be involved, and I just don't want any of that if it can be avoided. And, I believe it can be avoided. I have a number of reasons for my decision that I won't go into here, but primarily I believe that God gave me these hips for birthing babies. :) My body is designed to give birth, and it knows how to give birth if I just let it. I've never been anxious or scared about birth, and the more I prepare for mine, the more excited I get.

I'm planning to use hypnosis as my birth method. Before you roll your eyes and laugh, let me correct the idea that hypnosis is what you see on TV when people are made to do crazy things. It's not nearly as wacky as it sounds, and it makes good sense to me. Basically, it's a state of deep relaxation that allows your body to function as it was designed. The proven theory behind this is that pain leads to fear and that leads to tension, which becomes a vicious cycle that makes you feel more pain. When your body is tense, it fights against itself and can't function as efficiently as it would if you were not tense. Anyway, I have a study guide and CD's to teach me how to relax and put myself in a state of deep hypnosis. I will also learn to administer my own natural anesthesia. It's all about the power of the mind controlling the body. A little education - when in hypnosis, I will be aware of my surroundings, and I will me able to move and talk as I see fit. I will still be in complete control of my body, and I cannot enter hypnosis unless I choose to do so. I have been practicing for a couple of weeks now and I love it! It's so relaxing, and so affirming. I have complete confidence that I can do this.

If you want to know more about my reasons for choosing natural birth and you are open to the idea, feel free to ask me. I'd hate to hog the knowledge if someone is truly interested in what I've learned - not in dissuading me.

The next three months are going to fly by.