Archive | October, 2010

It’s Hallowe’en

31 Oct

My mom told me this story the other day – let’s see if I remember it correctly.

My mom had lost some weight in the first part of her marriage. The Hallowe’en my mom was pregnant with me, she bought these huge bags of candy. Chocolate — the good stuff — top national brands. And of course, she didn’t get very many trick-or-treaters. So she (and I assume my dad, too) polished off the rest. She gained something like 10 pounds by the end of that week. EEK!

Please tell me I’m going to have some ghouls show up at my door soon – the 3 Musketeers are calling my name.


Finding Hope through “Crowd-Sourcing”

28 Oct

I have an amazing network of friends and acquaintances. On Tuesday, when I felt so lost, I sent out a text to a few people and the recommendations for other providers came pouring in. I have one consultation appointment already set up with an OB/GYN (who’s not very close by) and I’ve narrowed down a couple of other phone numbers to call for OBs and Maternal-Fetal/Perinatal Specialists. Yay! Thank you everyone for your encouraging spirits and all the great leads.

My experience this week has really proved that I want to blog/journal throughout this pregnancy. Why aren’t there more people talking about Diabetes, especially type 2, during pregnancy? Type 2 is pandemic to our culture and we can point the finger at many reasons – cultural, nutritional, genetic – but the fact remains that the number of women who will have to navigate diabetes during their pregnancy will only grow.

So this is another call-to-arms: what are your favorite resources on diabetes in pregnancy or high-risk pregnancies? Would it be helpful if I start an list of books and other items that I find helpful – or would that be condescending or presumptuous?

Too High Risk

26 Oct

Called the midwives to see if there were any cancellations for a later appointment and found out that they have collectively decided after reviewing my records that I’m too high risk.  They absolutely won’t take me as a midwifery patient.  I don’t know what all the record says, but this news does make me feel disheartened.

It makes me wonder if there are other indications besides my weight and previously unchecked Type II diabetes.

I can’t let worry and disappointment weight me down.  There are good things I know for sure: I know my body is both amazing and mysterious, I know I do not want to be induced (by medicine or AROM) if I am not experiencing an urgent medical condition (pre-eclampsia, etc.)  and I know, that at the VERY LEAST, I want to try my hand at labor and pushing, preferably un-medicated.   I know I can still have the birth that I believe is right by me and my unborn child.  I’m just going to have to go with an OB/GYN.

Trying to Stay Organized

21 Oct

I’m trying very hard to keep record of my health especially during this pregnancy.  I used to have a small memo book but I would just shove receipts and such into it and it fell apart quickly.  That system is obviously not going to work, especially not with the extra visits and tests and multiple doctors I will be seeing.  When I was getting married, I used The Brides Essential Wedding Planner by Amy Nebens.  It was broken down into sections by stages of planning.  The best part was that it was ring-bound so it was easy to add things like copies of contracts and take out what I didn’t need.  It was wonderful.  So I thought I’d apply the same concept to being organized for my pregnancy.

At my local Barnes and Noble, the pregnancy planners that were available were either spiral- or adhesive-bound and  the ones that had pockets had dimensions smaller than the 8.5″ x 11″ print-outs that I’d probably get.  Basically their level of personalization is low.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I’ve taken the slender binder that I used for my Natural Family Planning charts and added dividers, including sections for my old temp charts, a section for stuff from my endocrinologist, a section for things from my OB and the midwives and a section for the prescription printouts that my pharmacy gives me each time I get a script refilled.  I personally prefer dividers with pockets in them because nothing comes pre-hole-punched  — I was so lucky to find some at Office Max.  While I was there, I picked up a cheap hole-punched, zippered pencil case for loose items like small receipts and an extra pen.

I plan to add some paper for notes and questions  and print out monthly calendars covering the next 12 months so I have an analog reference on hand for making appointments, since I keep my schedule through my work e-mail on Outlook.  I’m also starting a reference list of phone numbers for my health care providers, future doula, and emergency contacts (including a prioritization of who should be contacted in an emergency, when I go into active labor or when the baby is actually born), so I’ll include a print out of that.

I think I’m going to need a bigger binder.

Does anyone else have suggestions to improve my system?

I Stood Up for My Care

19 Oct

I had a follow-up with Dr. D from my sonogram.  My appointment was scheduled for 1:10, but I probably didn’t see her until about 2.  Not bad, but not what I would have wished for.

When she finally came in her response to the sono was, “oh hey, you’re right: there is a baby in there, let’s get you scheduled for more appointments…” which would have included genetic screening (ack! paranoia running rampant just thinking about it!) and an appointment just to fill out paperwork on what seemed to be birth options.  To give her credit, she did ask me how I was doing with the diabetes.  Sadly she didn’t remember that she was the one who referred me to the clinic Dr. Endocrine works at, which made me believe that there is a disconnect between the office staff taking her advice quite literally and what she directs them to do — they should have made a note that they had scheduled me for that appointment, though perhaps she was probing me with ill-constructed open-ended questioning.

As she started writing down orders for more appointments, I finally caught her attention and she asked me what I was thinking and I told her straight up that I wanted to look at other providers.  I said, “look, I’m an aspiring doula and I’ve heard some recommendations for other providers in the area and I want to look into seeing them.”  She got a bit defensive and I got mumbly-nervous but I stuck to my assertion that I know I am NOT having a low-risk pregnancy, but that I don’t feel comfortable with her practice and I wanted to see if there was a group in the area that could provide more one-on-one care for me.  I’m so proud of myself.  🙂 I hope she understands that I don’t specifically mean it as some slight against her – I’m just “picky”.

Preggers by Therafirm

19 Oct

A mommy blogger I follow, Milehimama,  has a review of a new line of compression and support hosiery called Preggers by Therafirm.

I admit it, I wear support hose from November to March or April because they keep me warm and they really do reduce achiness in my lower back and feet — I hate socks and shaving my legs, so hose are a great solution in the cooler months.  They also make me feel “grown”, as silly as it sounds.  I’m also interested in the fact that Milehi says that she didn’t have any problem with roll-down.  Being short but chunky makes it hard to find product that will sit correctly on the leg and not roll down my belly — because Preggers is designed with a rounder tummy in mind, I’d hope they’d fit a bit better on someone with my sizing issues.

If you want the chance to win two free pairs of their product, MilehiMama is also offering a giveaway and all you have to do is “like” Therafirm on Facebook (or follow them on Twitter) and comment on her review with your favorite product- too cool!

I Was In the Hospital

16 Oct

I went to see Dr. Endocrine and he put me in the hospital for immediate I.V. insulin.  Because of my medical history, insulin is going to be the best way for me to control my diabetes for the duration of my pregnancy.  I was there for about 40 hours, including two nights – not bad, really.  I spent the first night on the I.V. drip with insulin pump so they could get a base-line for my insulin needs and by mid-morning they were giving me shots of insulin.

The stay wasn’t scary because my providers, including Dr. Endocrine and the hospital nursing staff, were attentive and for the most part willing to work with me by explaining procedures and remaining positive for me.  Personally, I need providers who are like that; some people don’t care, but I do.

The stay did make me nervous at some points.  The anticipation of my experience and the fact that I had not been expecting a hospital stay made me a wreck at first!  Getting to the hospital was an exercise in not lashing out my husband out of misplaced fear.  At the clinic, my BP was 114/73 (booyah self doubt!) but by admission the systolic part had jumped to 153 – yikes! After I settled into my room, I was doing better and even fell asleep rather early and easily, despite the fact that there was someone checking my blood glucose every hour on the hour.  I guess the stress had exhausted me.  Well, by 2 a.m. I was no longer actually upset and sadly, no longer mentally spent.  After that finger-stick, I couldn’t sleep for the better part of two hours!  I tried repositioning myself (not easy with the I.V.) and tried watching T.V. and tried counting sheep – nothing seemed to work!  I finally got to sleep, only to be woken up by a phlebotomist at a little after 4 who needed to draw blood.  Good grief!

Like I said earlier, Wednesday morning, I was already off the I.V. pump.  I just had to sit tight while they continued to monitor my B.G. and stick insulin in me.  The day went by quickly – I was smart and packed 2 books, blank paper and my laptop (which really couldn’t catch the wifi – boo!).  My husband even came over and we played card games.  I had this long phone conversation with my mom.

As I was getting ready for bed, I got a phone call from my sister, Star.  I hadn’t wanted to tell her right away about the pregnancy because I was so scared about these first few weeks and I knew I’d see her at Thanksgiving.  I figured I’d tell her and my mom then, and afterward call my younger half-sisters (they live a few states away) and tell them, too.  After that, I figured it would be safe to let it be public knowledge and I’d tell people and let my mom tell people as it came up – I’m even thinking of doing a Christmas card just for this reason.  But that first weekend that I knew, I got so excited that I threw caution to the wind and told my mom and then I wanted my mom to have someone (other than me) to talk about the news with, so I told my sister. Well, Star was calling to tell me that she told my little sisters, even though she understood that it was something I wanted to share in my own time.  I kept trying to tell myself that she was excited too and didn’t completely understand the position I was in, but it was really frustrating.  I’ve mostly gotten over the initial frustration and anger now, but man I still don’t know if I can talk to her.  Sometimes she gets immaturely impulsive and I hate it.  We’ll be okay though.

Despite that, I slept fairly well and by 8 a.m. they were telling me that I was going to get out that day.  Now I’m injecting myself 4 times a day and checking my blood glucose carefully – whatever I need to do to stay a free woman.

Thursday evening I went to volunteer as I usually do with a Childbirth education course that the doula group sponsors.  They’re wonderful and inspiring women: the future moms and doulas, both.  I don’t do much: set up snack and help fill out forms, but being there was what I needed for normalcy, especially because I wasn’t ready to go back to work the next day.

Friday was good.  I slept in (FINALLY!) and made myself breakfast and didn’t go to work.  I  had a sono appointment at the ob/gyn group.  It went well.  (Please providers, there is no excuse during non-emergency procedures and testing that you can’t look your patient in the eye and introduce yourself!)  I got this:

They’re trying to date me two days later than we’d originally expected, which is fine by me.  There was a strong little heartbeat.  ❤

I don’t know what the rest of my pregnancy and motherhood have in store for me, but seeing this just gives me a light heart.  It fortifies me.

Being Assertive

11 Oct

I had to go in for that second follow-up beta hCG test.  YAY [/sarcasm]  The phlebotomist, Y, is actually pretty good and it certainly doesn’t hurt that her space is smaller than some people’s walk-in closets so it’s less overwhelming.  Miss Y, thank you for being so quick on the draw.  (Haha, get it?  *rimshot*)  I’ll have my results tomorrow…

As I was leaving, I asked for paper copies of last week’s blood work.  I needed to have something tangible to build my comprehension.  So I asked!  And it took a moment, but I actually got them right then!  Like, without a fight!  I was nervous asking but the lady at the front desk didn’t make a big deal of it.  Thank you Madame Receptionista!

For the record, my hCG levels as of Friday morning were about 13,000 mIU/mL which is near the lower threshold for 6 weeks (Friday was 5w, 6d).  I just want that level to RISE – I am obviously not going to be on the upper end of the spectrum, it just needs to be above 26,000 mIU/mL.  PLEASE!  Little one, if you can hear me (I know your ears aren’t exactly developed yet), please! just keep growing and producing that hormone, okay?

Tomorrow is my appointment with Dr. Endocrine, which hopefully doesn’t require a total physical exam.  I have to warm up to a person’s touch.  Physical exams where one must be palpated and prodded tend to make me overly nervous and uncomfortable as I rarely get a doctor who will give me the moment to feel at ease.   Today, I actually went to the pharmacy in a local grocery store to get a free blood pressure reading because my anxiety with doctors is so strong that I was scared I would give myself an inaccurate reading tomorrow.  I wanted a base line that I could be aware of and to dispel my worry.  My blood pressure last Tuesday afternoon, after a panic attack complete with crying jag, while I was wearing a thin gown that was not my own: 143 over something equally worrisome; the nurse looked visibly concerned when a second reading fared no better.  My BP this afternoon at the same time of day, after my normal weekday routine and while wearing street clothing: 114/75 – not wonderful, but considered in the normal range.

I’m thinking of buying my own hospital gown.  Once, a nurse practitioner asked me to wear a short, backwards paper vest and to use a paper “sheet” to cover the rest of myself while waiting alone in the exam room for 20 minutes.  It got to be a bit much and I freaked!  I had a total meltdown.  I’ve never had a panic attack so bad.  I did not want to be exposed and especially not examined.  It was so bad they offered sedatives for subsequent visits and referred me to the ob/gyn group Dr. Diablita belongs to… that hasn’t entirely worked out for me.  The episode leaves me thinking that exam gowns can be trigger-y for me.

If I bought one for myself and it “fit” me and I made myself try it on once or twice at home away from the anxiety-producing environments, I think I could confront the trigger and at the same time, offer an alternative.  See, I’m comfortable in my street clothes because they are mine and in being so, they are an armor, but most of what I wear isn’t conducive to a doctor’s exam, so they want me to change.   If I change into something that I can brand as my own, but that the doctor can exam me in, we both win, right?

I don’t know what else to do at this point except to assert my position as a real person more often.  I have got to speak up for myself and act in my best emotional-interest, or I could face a whole slew of problems from interventions I don’t need to emotional scarring to even more anxiety.  The trouble is, it’s hard for me to grab the doctor’s attention while feeling that I’m being respectful.  I don’t want to make the doctor upset – I know they are the experts on the body functions and treatment, but at the same time, I’m the body’s owner and I have to deal with the treatment’s repercussions.  One of the doulas I’ve come to know through training said that she would always ask questions to make the doctor pay attention to her, especially after her doctor would try to leave after whirlwind, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am type exams.   I can see how this could work to make the doctor respect me as the owner of the body who has an emotional investment in how it’s treated.  This will need more contemplation.  I’ll work on what I’ve got tomorrow at the office of Dr. Endocrine, but now, it’s time for bed.

Taking Prenatal Vitamins with Interesting Results

9 Oct

TMI warning.  I’m experiencing some side effects from my prenatal vitamins.

Continue reading

I Got a Phone Call

8 Oct

…and of course my phone was on silent and the car radio was jacked up loud. BOO! Anyway, after that nerve wrecking game of phone tag, I have been told that my hCG levels have increased, but “not at the level she wants them to.” So I go in again on Monday for more blood testing and my sono has been pushed up to the following Friday. Ugh. I’m going to cancel the WIC appointment until I hear a heartbeat on the sono screen. I couldn’t live with myself. (Nevermind, the WIC clinic is already closed for the day.) So yes, I get to live with this fear that I’m not “really pregnant” until next week. Fuck.

Positive reinforcements:

  • I gave blood for the 2nd hCG test less than a full 48 hours after the first test, at a different time of day.  Both of those factors might have an effect: hormones can fluctuate in your blood system at different times of day and from what I’m reading online most professionals recommend testing between 48 and 72 to see the levels of hCG double.
  • I have already suffered a loss.  Since then I have become more knowledgeable about the general physiological process of pregnancy and childbirth – I can use my knowledge to confront my fears.  My learning has also shown me that I am not alone and that there are many people in my community that I can turn to.  Besides, I’m not about to have a surgery like I was when I suffered my last loss.
  • I am a strong woman and that no matter the outcome, this is just part of the tapestry of my life.  I can mourn, but I can also learn to take that pain and make myself more because of it.
  • God is great and I am small; he decides what will be.