Tuesday, July 25, 2017

27 weeks

Friday I hit 27 weeks and because of my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis I got an extra MFM visit in on Thursday. Everything looked good with baby, fluid and cervix, which was good. We talked about gestational diabetes, the risks, generals of how and why to keep track of blood sugars, etc. He was kind and optimistic and said I definitely have a mild case. BUT, it's very likely I will have to go on insulin. Sigh.

I have to test my blood sugar every morning upon waking up and then 2 hours after each meal. My numbers after meals are fantastic and totally within normal range. However, my morning numbers are a little higher than he would like them to be. And the super annoying thing is that those numbers are almost entirely decided by hormones in the placenta. Whomp, whomp. So, if my numbers are great all day and not first thing in the morning then insulin is the only way to get them where he wants them to be. It seems like we will wait until I hit 30 weeks and get an official growth scan of the baby and have 3 weeks of blood sugar levels to go off of to decide if I'll need to take insulin or not. For now I'm experimenting with bedtime snack since that's the only thing that can really affect those numbers. I've tried a few different things without success, which is a bummer. And also, they say as placenta gets bigger the numbers usually get harder to control as well. Yuck.

If you know me you know I'm a huge researcher and answer gatherer, so you won't be surprised that by the time I met with the dietitian for my appointment yesterday I pretty much knew everything she shared with me. She also said my diet and numbers look great except for morning fasting numbers, which are just a little high. She again explained that those numbers have nothing to do with how I'm eating or anything, just how much the placenta and its hormones are blocking my body's production of insulin. So if there's any consolation it's that I can be confident that it's not MY fault and I'm not doing anything wrong, but it still stinks. I'm not wild about being on nightly insulin, but of course I'll do whatever helps keep baby healthy.

I will admit that the planning that goes into eating for gestational diabetes is annoying, but I don't yet feel deprived or like I'm missing out on all the best foods ever or anything. It's a little bit of a good reminder to eat small meals all throughout the day, which is better for me anyway since I was feeling all yucky and bloated when my meals were too big before. I'm more attentive to when I'm full now. I eat breakfast, take my sugar levels 2 hours later, then have a small snack, followed by lunch 2 hours later, then blood and snack 2 hours later, then dinner 2-3 hours later, and then a bedtime snack (and sometimes 2 snacks before bedtime if there's 4 hours or more between dinner and bedtime).  So basically I'm really attentive to eating every 2-3 hours. I accidentally forgot a morning snack on Sunday and felt yucky and too hungry by the time I was home from church to eat lunch, so I will now try to be more attentive and aware to eating all throughout the day. 

I'm REALLY hoping that I get more optimistic when I hit 28 and then 30 weeks (oh I hope I get there!) After the anxiety of the diabetes I was finally feeling some acceptance on Friday, but then all weekend my anxiety was needlessly high and my brain was convinced something terrible was about to happen. It's sad because after the point where I stopped being terrified of my water breaking (of course I'm still nervous that this could happen, but less so at this point) I started being scared that she would just die at any point. Sigh. Pregnancy after loss is so hard. I wish I could be confident that all will be well, but it's just so hard to believe this could actually have a happy ending of bringing home a baby and my brain is unable to truly believe that yet when I know there are so many things that could still go wrong (not likely, but I know the possibilities now).

So, there you have it. I've made it to 27 weeks, and actually am just 3 days shy of 28 weeks. Oh that these next couple of months would pass quickly!

Thank you all for the support and prayers and comments!! It means so much to know so many people care, are praying and want to stay in the loop of what's going on with us! It's so so appreciated! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

26 Weeks

I will say that this is the first week I officially felt like my belly is definitely larger than my chest, so that's good! And it took awhile since my chest has grown 3 cup sizes from pre-pregnancy (haha). When I go out in public I still try to wear outfits that "hide" my belly as much as possible to avoid people asking me anything I don't want to talk about, but it's getting pretty difficult to do at this point.

It feels like a long time ago since my check in with the MFM on Friday. But, everything looked good. Baby girl measured 25w5d, which freaked me out at first. But, he said that that was totally normal and good and it's normal for babies at this phase to not measure their exact gestation. And that the most important thing to watch is if she's growing symmetrically and she is. Of course I'm still going to worry, but they only check growth every 4 weeks. I just hope she continues to grow well. After my water broke with Miriam and I was already scared out of my mind, an ultrasound indicated she was over a week behind which made things worse, so these 2 days behind did bring up some PTSD. Sigh. It's hard to imagine that this time everything can go ok when I'm just afraid of something terrible happening again.

The biggest news of the week is that I failed my glucose test so I have gestational diabetes. :(  To be honest I spent a lot of time crying the first couple of days. Even though I know I can eat healthfully and let go of sweets and it will be manageable, it's just another thing to add to my already overwhelmed emotions that I was just barely holding together. Despite all of the big emotions of this pregnancy, this was kind of the breaking point of holding it all in and I just let all the tears flow. And of course I can't help but feel like it's my fault and be frustrated with my body for this. :/

Today I had a check in with my OB and she said that gestational diabetes is caused by an "overactive placenta" from the baby, so it's definitely not my fault. The placenta just emits too many hormones that block normal insulin production (or something like that). Ugh. I've been eating healthfully and checking my blood sugar since Monday and so far my numbers have been fine (except when I ate out Monday evening and my numbers were slightly over). I guess my MFM better like me because he's going to see me even more often! I have an apt with him tomorrow to discuss the gestational diabetes, and then I have an apt on Monday with a nutritionist to be sure I know how to eat to keep the blood sugar levels where they should be. It was quite a pain that I had to start taking my blood sugar on Monday without being able to meet with the nutritionist for a full week, but thanks to the internet, and a very kind pharmacist who showed me how to use the glucometer, I think I'm doing ok.

To be honest I don't mind the more restrictive diet. I can handle that even though it's annoying and means not giving in to cravings or sweets. I'm just worried that I spent 25 weeks of this pregnancy without paying attention to my blood sugar and am worried that I negatively impacted her somehow. And of course I'm worried about how this whole thing will affect HER through all this, and I'm fine doing whatever it takes to keep her healthy. My OB told me that the risks are more associated with women whose blood sugar isn't well monitored, but of course that doesn't entirely put my mind at ease.

Just 2 more days to 27 weeks. Hopefully in a week I'll feel more comfortable with the whole diabetes thing and it will feel less overwhelming and stressful. I'm told the fasting level (the first level of the day) is the most important, and that's hard because it seems hard to control. I only have 2 fasting numbers to go off of and they've been "ok" but I would like to see them lower to put my mind at ease. Sigh. Ugh.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

25 weeks!

 So, I know I'll be 26 weeks tomorrow, so I'm very late to post this, but better late than never?

We had a wonderful week last week with extended family in town! My sister and her husband and their two girls were in town, and I can say with confidence that Sweet P doted on their baby girl like crazy. She asked about her every single time we got her up from nap or in the morning. She misses her cousins!

We also got to see both sets of my grandparents within a week's time, and my cousin, his wife and my uncle! It was so great! But, needless to say, it was exhausting. We had such a blast and it was so wonderful to see everyone, but I think I realized I'm an introvert in this phase of life, needing some more quiet time to recharge, and there wasn't as much of that as usual. Hence why this post is several days late. I have added napping back into my life too. I hadn't taken a nap since first trimester, but I think I'll be having them more regularly now.

The day I turned 25 weeks baby wasn't quite as active as she had been in the previous week, so of course I freaked out. The OB's office saw me that afternoon and did a Non-Stress-Test. That means they hook up your belly to a heartbeat monitor to measure baby's continuous heartbeat and movement for 20-30 minutes. They want to see variations of heartbeat to show baby is active, and she did wonderfully, reassuring us that she's doing just fine in there. The nurse reassured me that at this gestation, as long as I feel daily movement at some point, that's totally fine. Some days she will rest more and some days she will move more. And that's ok. But, of course, it's practically impossible not to worry.

Monday, when I went to get my progesterone shot, the nurse told me I failed the 1-hr glucose test (to see if I have gestational diabetes). Ugh! I actually cried when she told me. I feel like the emotions and physical demands of pregnancy after loss are similar to walking around carrying a gigantic beach ball that's really hard to hold. By carrying it around I'm just barely hanging in there. But, the thought of adding the additional stress of diabetes seemed like too much. I know in my head that it's usually well managed with diet and regularly taking blood sugar levels throughout the day, but the idea is a bit overwhelming. 

Since Monday I've tried to eat like I already have GD (so no more ice cream and much reduced carbs), just in case I have it. But, tomorrow I go in for the 3-hr test. This means I need to fast after midnight tonight, get my fasting blood sugar level taken at the OB's office, then chug a giant drink of 50-100mg of sugar (WHAT!?) and then stay at the doctor's office for 3-3.5 hours while they check my blood sugar 3 more times. I feel like I'll be lucky if I don't throw up from that! I won't get the results until Monday or Tuesday of next week, but do say some prayers that I pass easily and don't have to add the worry of gestational diabetes to the list of concerns!

And tomorrow is ultrasound day! 2 weeks sure feels like a long time between ultrasounds when I've gotten used to weekly! Hoping all looks good, including cervix and fluid levels. And by tomorrow baby girl will have at least a 80% chance of survival outside the womb. Of course I'd like her to hang out in there for at least 10 more weeks, but it's still a great milestone less than 24 hours away. :) 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

24 Weeks!

Since the day I got the phone call that my pregnancy test was positive back in February, I have been counting down to this point and it finally arrived! I was 24 weeks on Friday and that technically means viability! That's the great news! It seemed like an ETERNITY waiting for almost 5 months (literally 20 weeks) and it finally arrived. Those 20 weeks were just as eternal, if not more eternal, than I anticipated, but, I made it! haha Of course, my mind is not entirely put at east, but it is a reassuring milestone to hit and I'm grateful to be this far (and very ready to fast forward at least one month in the future barring all goes well).

My MFM (high risk OB) told me Friday that this meant that at that point if baby came early she would have at least a 50% chance of survival and that every day that number goes up by 2%. But, he also said that based on the ultrasound Friday there is no reason to think that something will go wrong. I sure hope he's right. My cervix looked closed and measured about 5cm, which is a great length for this gestation (I'm told).

Unfortunately it's impossible for me to totally relax and enjoy this pregnancy entirely, but I'm trying and there are good moments. This is the first week that I have felt her move every day. Yay! My OB said I should feel daily movements for sure by this point, so I'm glad that has been the case. Of course it's another thing to worry about if I haven't felt her for several hours, but I'm guessing that's something almost every pregnant woman worries about, right?

I'm grateful she's been fairly active most mornings when I first wake up and am still lying in bed. That's nice and reassuring that I've started the day with some movement. I hope she keeps it up! I told Dave sometimes when I feel quick movement/kicks from one side of the belly to the other I feel like a pinball machine. hehe

You know the saying "it takes a village"? I feel like with our family building adventure it's already so evident how true that is. With our 2 kids sleeping upstairs, before they even came home to us there was the village of their birthfamilies, our social workers, and even the government fingerprinting offices (plus tons more people that I don't have the time or energy to list)! haha And with this baby there was our fertility doctor and nurses and now my specialist, extra doctor visits, and the nurses that give me a shot, etc. and... our supportive community of family and friends! It means so much to go to church and have people tell me they pray for me and this baby every single day. One particular mom (who lost her daughter to a heart condition at just a few months old and really 'gets' it) cheers me on every Sunday and says she's so happy to see we've made it another week. Last Sunday I had two different priests come up to me and say a quick prayer for the baby and offer words of encouragement. It's really, really nice to hear gentle words of support and prayer without offering empty promises that no one can guarantee. I feel very grateful for our church and the community of kind and wise hearts and spirits.

And last but not least, a precious ultrasound photo. It may look kind of creepy as ultrasound pictures often do, but Dave said on the high resolution screen he could really tell that she was opening and closing her eyes here so it was almost like she was looking right at us! The screen I was looking at wasn't quite so clear, but it's cool he got to see that.

Of course, I'm still praying daily nothing goes wrong for at least 4 more weeks. I told Dave today that if I make it to 28 weeks I think I'll want to finally start planning for a baby to come home. Of course I still also have moments of intense panic where my brain is convinced something has or is about to go wrong. I worry about every little thing that feels different or new or uncomfortable and wonder if it's worth a call to the doctor or not. And some days I just wait anxiously for 9pm, since it's the earliest I can get into bed and end the worries of the day. Every day I'm still pregnant feels like something to be grateful for at this point and closer to a higher survival rate should something go wrong.

And this time I don't have an ultrasound until 26 weeks! Eek! I know it's good since weekly ultrasounds throughout a pregnancy would be unnecessary, but I'm already counting down for 12 days until we see her again and hopefully get confirmation that all is doing well!