09 November 2011

New Parent WIN or FAIL? You Judge

Much to my chagrin, our little dude spends some of his hours in daycare. If I could have it my way, I'd be a full time stay at home mom, and I'd work full time too.  I just flat love both my jobs, there are no two ways about it... Since my wish for double the hours in a day is yet to be granted, the hubs and I have worked out *the best possible schedule* to minimize little dude's time in the arms of other caregivers while still allowing both of us to work full time.

He's been at daycare a few weeks now (I've been back at work that long too), and during the first couple weeks, I would drop him off and promptly cry my way to the office, which is a 2 minute drive << it's so close I could throw a stone and hit the daycare>>One word: MISERY.  After the initial 2 weeks I think it sunk in to a certain degree that this is our new normal, and I find myself feeling better about the setup.

There are 2 women who care for the babies in the room where our little dude stays, and I like them both very much. They're great with the babies, and I trust them with my son << those are HUGE words coming from the mouth of a new mother, FYI >>.

Here's a recap of a recent happening:

I arrive at 1:30 to pick up the munchkin, and Miss L tells me they made an executive decision not to give him his second bottle because he had *just* started asking for it and they thought I'd prefer to feed him  << our little dude is breastfed exclusively, whether it comes from the boob or the bottle >>. Little did they know I had *just* finished pumping at work before I went to pick him up. Effectively he had an empty tummy and I had empty milk jugs <<that's actually a myth- when nursing, the "girls" are never actually empty >>. So I pop the little dude into his car seat thinking it'll be a quick drive home and I can feed him a bottle from the comfort of his rocker.

WRONG.

Two minutes into the 10 - 12 minute car ride home he is fired up, and I mean FIRED UP.  The poor kid was wailing. Now don't get me wrong- baby crying in the car is not uncommon, but when I know he's crying because he's starving or sitting in a lake of pooh or some other discomfort that I can remedy, it's heart wrenching.  And I knew for a fact he was hungry.

Arriving to a loooong red light intersection just as it turns red, a brilliant idea also arrived to my mind.  I grab the bottle that he did eat from at daycare << that I know for a fact Miss L rinses but doesn't wash >> and I put in exactly 4 oz of my still warm, recently pumped milk.  I reassemble the bottle, push the front passenger seat as far forward as it will go, and I pull the little dude's seat as far forward as it will go too << our compact SUV has a back row of seats that can be moved forward or back just like the front seats >>.  I flip his sun cover and pop the bottle into his mouth. He's not big enough or coordinated enough to hold the bottle on his own, so I drove home holding a bottle in baby's mouth with one hand while driving with the other.

To my credit, there was no music or phone to distract me, and I was entirely focused on safe driving skills while my little man sucked down his milk as if he hadn't eaten in days.  The drive home consisted of a short stint on the interstate (I had to merge right once), a merge to the left off the interstate, followed by 3 left turns (2 of those at traffic lights), and 1 right turn. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon- not exactly a high traffic rush hour.

Baby was quiet and even a little bit sated by the time we got home, at which point I finished feeding him properly. 

Does this one count as a New Parent Win or a New Parent Fail?

02 November 2011

Baby's Got a Green Bum

One surprising effect being pregnant had on both me and the hubs was that it brought out our crunchy, inner granola.  Among our other efforts to reduce our impact on the planet as we cultivate new life, we decided to explore the possibility of cloth diapering our kiddo.

Light blue bum pictured here
It's official: baby's got a *mostly* green bum.  We've officially made the switch to cloth diapers, and it's pretty fab after just a couple of weeks << this coming from a girl whose mother taught her to recycle before it was cool to recycle, when the cheesy "3R" commercials were still in rotation >>.

Maybe you've heard it before, but it bears repeating: cloth diapers today aren't your momma's cloth diapers... no pins, no folding, no need for the use of a diaper service.

We started out with a pack of 12 bumGenuis 4.0 All in One diapers. The idea with this particular style is that the diaper can be snapped down small enough to fit a newborn rump and then unsnapped big enough to fit a potty training kiddo.

In theory, it's the only diaper you'll need.

We turned our little dude's bum green when he was 8 weeks, and so far, so good.  We have had exactly ZERO poop explosions << someone please knock on wood >> and  just a couple of damp onesies while in the cloth.  When I'm in on diaper duty, if he happens to be in a disposable (for day care, 2 mornings per week) and decides to poo, I almost always end up changing his whole outfit.  If he takes a dump in cloth, the poo stays right where it's supposed to.

The only downside we've identified is that if he's got a really wet diaper, the area around his legs can get a little bit damp.  Our solution has been to either double up with the liners or change him a little more frequently (which is still *not as frequent* if he were in a disposable).

Before we switched, the hubs would empty the diaper pail on a weekly basis and it just about took both of us to haul the load out the curb.  Easily 35 pounds of waste was being sent to the dump every week. Now, taking into account his day care diapers, we're probably talking 3 - 5 pounds in the landfill, tops.

Also, it doesn't hurt that the diapers are so stinkin' cute.  Little man's monthly "watch me grow" photos are going to be in these. Win!
2 months and he's already working on his Buddha Belly

01 November 2011

Baby's First Halloween

I'll just go ahead and admit it. While pregnant, I spent more time pondering what I would dress my newborn as for his first Halloween than I spent thinking about child care.  In the end, both costumes and care providers were established in a timely fashion.  Here's what transpired yesterday...

This is what I sported at day care. It's in the shadow,
but my hat has a pumpkin stem!

Naked baby says, "Ribbit, ribbit!"

Me and Big Brother had a great time in costume while Mama and Papa handed out candy to the neighborhood princesses, goblins, gangsta's, and pirates.
Happy Halloween!  Now bring on Thanksgiving!!!

31 October 2011

Early Adventures in Parenting

Newsflash: kids don't come with instruction manuals.  They do, however, produce an enormous learning curve for their parents upon arrival.  Here are a few anecdotes and lessons that we've learned in the short time we've had our little man.

Burp like a man!
One of the many joys of baby-rearing is feeding and watching him grow.  Part of the feeding process involves burping.  And burping my son is, at times, altogether hilarious.  There's a variety of ways to burp a baby, and having a kid with chubby cheeks makes one of those ways very enjoyable.  To achieve said enjoyment, you must sit the kid up with one hand underneath his chin holding him upright in a sitting position, freeing your other hand to pat him on the back.  By holding his head up from his chin/neck, his chubby cheeks seem to just *multiply*. And our little dude always gets this un-thrilled look on his face as if to say, "Mom, the clock's ticking. Knock off this crap, and get me back to the goodies."

Purple mouth
The rugrat recently had his 1 month appointment, and he got a good report on all fronts.  After meeting with the Peed << that would be short for Pediatrician, folks >>, the Lactation Consultant wanted to see how we're doing with the breastfeeding. She also gave us a good report, however I've been dealing with something known as thrush for a few weeks now. My milk jugs were given a treatment of "purple paint" with the instructions to let them dry for a half hour and then it would be fine to feed the baby.

Later on baby wakes up ready to eat.  I latch him on and he starts in... he detaches briefly and all I see is purple!!! His mouth, his tongue, his lips, and when I go to wipe, it got ALL over his cheeks too.  Epic New Parent Fail.  I was mortified. I imagined he'd be painted purple for a week!  I kept thinking people would see him and wonder why he'd been given a lollipop.

Here's a video showcasing both the burp method and 
the poor little dude with his purple mouth.


He's sleeping... Momma can't move.
Everyone tells you to sleep when your baby sleeps.  And sometimes I do.  Other times I capitalize on time to do things like put on makeup, fix my hair, wash some laundry, and even eat.  I had a fussy baby one afternoon when I was flying solo << the hubs had already gone back to work >> and I was trying a variety of positions to get him to fall asleep.

The magic position that hour ended up being for him to lie flat across my lap on his tummy.  Worked like a charm.  Until I realized that it was close to 2 pm and I needed to warm up some leftovers to call lunch.  *Facepalm* Despite my hunger pangs, I did think to take a photo.

Eventually I did get the courage to gingerly relocate him so that I could eat.

28 October 2011

Baby Came In a Hospital, Part 2

Check out the previous post to orient yourself to this one...

It was D-Day and we arrived to the hospital at 5:15 am. They started the Pitocin right away, and contractions were coming full force by 7:15 am. It just so happens that our nurse on the 8a - 3p shift had worked as a doula at the birthing center for 5 years prior to going to work as a labor and delivery nurse in the hospital.  We *loved* her! She was on the exact same page as we were.  When I mentioned to the nurse how asking someone to run a marathon and telling them all they can eat is popsicles and ice chips to fuel their efforts is a little ridiculous, she agreed.  She agreed!  I went on to ask her, hypothetically of course, if a woman were to find herself in labor and were to eat a spoon of peanut butter and have some G2 for fuel if that would be a good choice. She hypothetically said yes. You know how I said at the end of this post  that despite our disappointment at not delivering baby at the birthing center that God showed up? I'm just sayin'...

Okay, back to labor... I had the best labor coaches in the world- the hubs and my sister Jules, with the occasional cameo from my mom.  The nurses were also great support, and one of the midwifes from the birthing center was in and out all day too.  I felt such support surrounding me and felt so well cared for that it was extraordinarily easy for me to be entirely focused internally on the process my body was going through.

If you've never had the experience, contractions offer a finite amount of pain as your body goes through the process of preparing to deliver a baby.  During each "rush," the whole point is to tolerate the pain until it passes. The actual pushing doesn't come until the very end.

Looking back on it, I think the hubs and I would both agree that the day existed outside of normal, linear time.  During each contraction I had my eyes closed << in anticipating labor, I thought I would want to focus on something visually, but not so much when it was go time >>, and at first they came not too hard and about 5 minutes apart. Of course they ramped up in frequency and duration as the pitocin continued to drip.  I would do a variety of things to get through each contraction: focused breathing, walking, moving around on the exercise ball, listening to the music playing, talking and laughing.  Sometimes the midwife and the nurse would offer counter pressure on the back of my hips which provided great relief, even though I didn't have back labor << thank God! >>.

So I labor, and labor, and labor some more.  Periodic checks indicate slow but fairly steady progress, and shortly after lunchtime we agreed to have my water broken.  Around mid-afternoon I had some significant nausea and even threw up a couple of times.  For a while I labored in an over-sized bathtub which was glorious. As we got further into the evening, I was showing all the signs and symptoms of a woman close to delivery.

A check at 9:15 pm indicated I was dilated to just 6 cm, and baby still hadn't descended all the way into the birth canal.  By this point I'd been laboring for 14 hours straight, and get this: I fell asleep for 15 minutes.  Fifteen minutes! The contractions didn't slow down or stop during that time- my exhaustion masked the pain in order for my body to rest... remember how I said insomnia hit hard at the end of my pregnancy?  I was in labor after 2 nights in a row of just 3 hours of sleep... I'm still amazed thinking back that I slept through 6 or 7 hard contractions.

A little while later Dr. Midwife comes in and talks to us about the sitch.  Despite hard contractions that were no more than 1 minute apart, baby wasn't making his way down << oh wait... let me guess.... could it be because he's a stubborn little fellow who likes to do things on his terms and in his time? >> .  Effectively, labor stalled and baby said, "I'm not budging."

One option was to increase the pitocin and monitor the contractions from the inside to keep a closer eye on progress and on the baby; however, because the baby hadn't descended into the canal enough, it wasn't definite whether or not this intervention would ultimately lead to a natural childbirth.  The other option was a C-Section.

If you'd asked me before I was in labor how I felt about the possibility of having my baby surgically removed from my body, you would have gotten an ear full.

After experiencing 15 1/2 hours of labor after a week and a half of trying every possible natural labor inducer, the hubs and I had total conviction that we had tried absolutely everything to get the baby out naturally. In that moment, we were both filled with peace that God had other plans, despite the plans that we had made.

In the end, little dude ignored his Final Eviction Notice and the officials had to go in and force him out, belongings and all.  At 10:35 pm we agreed to a c-section, and baby boy arrived at 10:54 pm.

Get this: in the OR, doc delivers our son and he hands the "scissors" to David to cut the umbilical cord.  Afterwards the nurses were like, "Oh my gosh, Dads never get to cut the cord in the OR!"  That's just one example of how blessed we were through the whole process- our OBGYN broke all the rules to follow our birth plan as closely as he could.

Now let me just say that when I laid eyes on our boy, I blubbered like a baby << just not like a newborn baby- did you know newborns don't cry actual tears? >>.  All of the effort, the emotion, the excitement- all of it brought me to this glorious moment when I fell in love all over again and for the first time ever, and new heart and brain matter began to form that just didn't exist before my son.

When we're coming out of the OR, I couldn't take my eyes off of our son, wrapped snugly in my arms.  I do recall hearing our dear friend's 4 year old son say to his papa, "Look! They found Joaquin!"

Baby Came In a Hospital, Part 1


In the last post  I shared what I went through the week or so before our little dude arrived as we tried everything under the sun to provoke labor in order to deliver at the birthing center.

Nothing worked. When 41 weeks came and went, we were instructed by the birthing center to go to the hospital to be induced.

Here's a joke for you:
What's the quickest way to make God laugh? ...........................
.................................................................................................................................................................. Make your own plans!

The day before induction day, we went to the hospital for a tour and brief orientation so that we'd know where to go and what to do at 5 am the next day.  So we're standing at the reception desk downstairs, and there are 3 women waiting for the elevator... it just so happens that 1 woman is the chair of the Board of Directors at the birthing center, the 2nd woman is a midwife who works at the birthing center, and the 3rd woman is a midwife interviewing for a job at the birthing center.  This was surprisingly comforting in light of our hearts desire to deliver at the birthing center and our deep disappointment with the news that under no uncertain circumstances we would be delivering at the hospital.

Did I mention that first woman, the chair of the Board, is the wife of the doctor who would attend our birth? He has a real name, but his nickname is Dr. Midwife. It's rumored that the guy keeps an inflatable tub in his vehicle in case a patient wants a water birth. It also just so happens that he delivered my cousin and my step-brother.  You know how I said at the end of the last post that God showed up? I'm just sayin'...

These 3 women were like mother birds taking us- 2 scared little baby birds- under their wings and upstairs for a tour. They were encouraging, they were supportive, and they set us up with a nurse who was able to take us around and show us what we could expect the next day.

Let me clarify something.  We're not anti-hospital, and we don't oppose medicine or medical practice.  Simply put, we wanted the most natural childbirth experience possible, and we believed that we'd achieve that without a lot of extra effort by delivering our son at the birthing center << example: 90% of women who deliver a baby in the hospital ask for an epidural... call me crazy, but I didn't want one- didn't even want to be offered one >>.

So the long and short of it is, after months and months of planning, hoping, wishing, and praying for a natural delivery at the crunchy granola birthing center up the road from our house, we were destined to deliver baby in the hospital.

That night I think I slept about 3 hours, which was the same amount of sleep I'd had the previous night.  Insomnia hit me hard at the end of the pregnancy.  Let me just go ahead and put it out there now, folks, they call it labor for a reason- it's HARD WORK. Even harder to do with not a lot of gas in the tank.

Again, folks, favorite joke of all time: quickest way to make God laugh is to make your own plans...  Read on for delivery day details!

26 October 2011

Leading up to Baby's Arrival


I really wanted to name this post, "How to Evict a Full-Term Baby from Hotel Uterus," but as you'll discover if you read on, nothing we tried actually worked.

Our son had ZERO intentions of coming on his own anytime around his due date.  Due to my << fluke >> diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, our care providers were unable to allow us to deliver at the birthing center after 41 weeks. Typically they can deliver a baby anytime between 37 and 42 weeks, but the GD diagnosis shaved off one of those weeks, so when we hit 40 weeks we knew we had to pull out all the stops to get this kid to MOVE IT ON OUT.

Following is a summary of our efforts, which were many and extensive.

08/24 - 40 weeks, 3 days Wednesday's appointment involved an exam where it was discovered I had a "dimple" of dilation << that's nowhere near 1 cm >>. Dr's orders were to go home and have sex.

Giggle, giggle

08/25 - 40 weeks, 4 days Thursday's appointment involved an ultrasound to check and measure baby, followed by another exam. At that point I was dilated to 1 cm, and the midwife agreed we'd try a foley bulb catheter.  Basically, the cath goes in past the cervix and is then filled with saline, creating a balloon inside the uterus that stretches the cervix open to a few centimeters before it falls out naturally.  They "installed" the deal-e-yo and I was sent home with cramps and a tube taped to my thigh (the tube hanging down was by far the worst part of it).

That night I went with my sister to get a pedicure, which has a reputation for putting women into labor.

I also ate a boatload of the green salsa from Chez Guevara, which has a reputation for putting women into labor.

08/26 - 40 weeks, 5 days On Friday morning, the cath fell out and it was sweet glorious relief!  The thing itself didn't hurt- it was just uncomfortable having a tube hanging down, taped to my leg. What followed were cramps and Braxton-Hicks contractions, but still no active labor.

08/27 - 40 weeks, 6 days Saturday we went to the clinic at 1 pm to have a procedure known as "sweeping the membranes" done. It was quick, but I can't say it was painless. It was tolerable, barely. Dr's orders were to go home and have sex.

Giggle, giggle

08/28 - 40 weeks, 7 days Sunday began with 2 oz. of Castor Oil mixed with 2 oz. of G2 at about 7 am. My instructions were to repeat the dosage if there was no action 2 hours later.  About 90 minutes in I was headed for the throne.  One dose was plenty for me.  There are horror stories all over about Castor Oil, and most OBGYN's will tell you it's of the devil, it's useless, it's an old-wives tale, etc.

I decided early on, in light of my desire to give birth at the clinic and not in the hospital, that I'd have an open mind about trying everything out there to encourage labor to start naturally.

It wasn't SO bad. The worst part was having a raw butt hole. I can say that, right? It's like anytime you have diarrhea- and let's face it, we've all eaten something at some point in our lives that gave us Montezuma's revenge where we've spent more time in the bathroom than out.  No matter how soft the TP, rubbing it on your bum so frequently in such a short time span will leave any a-hole tender and raw.  After all the poopin' I had consistent and hard Braxton Hicks contractions and cramping.

41 Weeks
08/29 - 41 weeks, 1 days Monday morning arrived and, surprise (!!):  still no labor. After another physical exam I was 3 cm dilated.  Dr's orders were to arrive at St Mary's in the morning to be induced.

This did not provoke a "giggle giggle" from either of us.

** After 9 months of anticipating labor and delivery, in my mind this was the worst-case-scenario-train pulling into the station, and I had a one-way ticket and no choice but to get on board. **

I pretty much fell apart at this point.  I felt sad, disappointed, afraid, frustrated, angry, unsure -and probably a few other feelings too- I hit a low point. I just about cried my eyes out.

Later that afternoon we went to St Mary's to have a tour and get an idea of what we could expect the next morning.  I was moderately composed by the time we arrived to the hospital.

And lo and behold, God showed up. Check out the next post for details on our delivery!

24 August 2011

What Not To Say To Very Large Pregnant Women

Okay, so it's official. Our son did not arrive on his due date. Womp... womp... wommmmmmpppppp....  The Big Day came and went.  That morning there were no indicators we'd see any action, and by the time the evening rolled around, that was still the case.  Let's face it, most babies don't arrive on their "due date," and that date is a guess at best.

Let me say, just for the record, that there's a lot of pressure (both physical and metaphorical) at this point in any woman's gestation for the Pregnancy Chapter to end and the New Parent Chapter to begin.

In light of unpredictable responses that could come from an overly exhausted, hormonal woman who happens to be carrying around an overgrown watermelon behind her belly button, here are a few statements you'd be wise to avoid when speaking to said woman, especially when you know that her due date exists somewhere in the past. Oh, and for the love of God DON'T SHOUT THESE STATEMENTS!
"He's over-cooked!"
"He's late!"
"You're still here?"
"It's time to induce!" 
Spoken from true experience, the statements above are altogether unhelpful.  In fact, just since D-Day came and went, I have had a variety of progesterone-poisoning-induced daydreams of pinching off noses and mouthing off in uber-extra-smart-alecky ways.

I have refrained, only by the skin of my teeth.

Additionally, here's a common courtesy that I would never have imagined should be written until having lived through this myself.  When a baby's due date has passed, it's no fun for an exhausted mommy-to-be to answer the question, "When's your baby due?"  Please take my unsolicited advice and when you see a very large pregnant woman, and don't ask for a specific date.  Consider something innocuous like, "Looks like the baby could come any day now! Hang in there!"

Here are a few things to remember:

  1. At all times to be patient with the very pregnant women in your lives, and if you know what's good for you then you won't argue with her << read: ME >>. About anything. Period.  
  2. She's nearing the end of the era when she can get away with anything, so give her << read: ME >> the benefit of the doubt and don't take any of her << read: MY >> snippy remarks personally. It's not about you. It's all about her << read: ME >>. Keep in mind: she's been navel-gazing for 9 << read: 10 >> months and is entirely absorbed with her baby and ready to push the kid out.

22 August 2011

How to Feel Good 40 Weeks Pregnant

Okay, if you're anything like me << female; of child-bearing age; in a relationship where procreation is a viable option; attentive to your internal clock; um, awesome... just kidding, this isn't the proper forum to toot my own horn... >>, then you might have some ideas of what you think being pregnant will be like.

Just the other day I was looking at my round << read: GIANT >> watermelon of a belly thinking back to when I was a little girl and would push my tummy out as far as I could, imagining what it would be like to grow a baby.  What I *thought* years ago and what it's *really like* today are worlds apart from each other.

Even the movement of baby has transformed from one sensation to another entirely different one.  At first it was like a little fish swimming and squirming around inside me.  Then baby grew bigger and his movements did too. In the course of a week, he became a yogi and a pro-soccer player.  And now, at 40 weeks, the little guy is more, shall we say, limited in terms of his movement. His favorite move in his confined space involves releasing little earthquakes up one side and down the other side of my abdomen, often moving 3 out of 4 limbs simultaneously  << fortunately he *still* hasn't found my ribs... he's good at kicking the wind right out of my lungs, but he hasn't introduced himself to my ribs yet >>.

When I pass a storefront window or glimpse a reflection of myself, I still occasionally think to myself, "Holy moly! I'm HUGE!"  I think, simply put, I haven't spent enough time in front of the mirror to have an accurate self-image.  I just don't feel as big as I *occasionally* realize I look.

So being as big as a house and ready to pop out a baby any day now, how is it possible that when asked, I can still honestly say,"I'm feeling pretty good!"?  What's worked for me? I can think of 5 reasons.
  1. Walking
  2. Sleeping (with 5 pillows, minimum)
  3. Intellectually informed about labor and delivery
  4. Emotionally supported by my partner, friends, and family
  5. Sheer, Dumb Luck
First, I've stayed active.  There were days when getting up and moving around was THE LAST thing on the planet that I felt like doing. It helps tremendously to have a dog that needs regular walks and a husband who knows I'm happiest after I've exercised. My non-pregnant-self has to remind my pregnant-self all the time to not underestimate the resulting joy of endorphins.  At this point in my current size, walking, swimming, and yoga are the only things I'm still comfortable (and skilled) doing.


Second, I've worked long and hard to perfect the art of sleeping while preggs. I've always been a back sleeper, and earlier  I blogged about how sleeping was getting tricky... that is until I was told to quit losing sleep over the whole, "Don't sleep on your back" thing.  I have, however, gotten to a point where there's no longer a "baby bump" but  actually there's an over-grown watermelon hanging out behind my belly button squishing every organ I possess.  Strategic pillow placement makes all the difference.  Pillow #1 (a body pillow) is wedged behind my back so that I can achieve a hybrid back/side sleep pose as needed; Pillow #2 (another body pillow) goes between my knees and ankles to ensure hip alignment; Pillow #3 is much smaller, and, let's be honest folks, it hangs out between "the girls" (I blogged about this little jewel of a pillow early on); Pillow #4 is one of those Brookstone pillows that's shaped like a pill, and it's hangs out underneath the belly to keep it from stretching/sagging all the way down to the mattress; and Pillow #5 is my traditional head/neck pillow.  There is usually another pillow floating around the bed, but those 5 are the staples that I'm not sure how I'd actually fall asleep and stay asleep without.


Third, I've become my own advocate and learned a TON about labor and delivery. Let's face it, as soon as a chick finds out she's pregnant, if she's American and seen any TV or Hollywood movies depicting a woman in labor, she's already flipping out over "the pain of childbirth."  I've done my reading, I've watched a number of fascinating documentaries, and I've come to my own conclusions about what I expect and hope for in the birth process.  And I'm not scared of it << I'm starting to feel anxious to get the show on the road, sure; but fear about the birthing process? not so much >>.


Fourth, I've felt loved and cared for from the moment I peed on a stick and saw a plus.  Our friends and family have literally celebrated with us for 9 months. They've taken the time to listen to my concerns, rants, tirades, etc., which allowed me to let go of those to make room for the good stuff.  Personally, I find relief when I talk- out loud- about whatever it is that's bothering me. Having a few folks in my life to listen has made all the difference for me.


Fifth, maybe it's sheer, dumb luck that I've had such an easy pregnancy.  I don't know that there's anything I did or didn't do to set myself up for such a great 9 months.  I just continue to count my blessings for it.

We're so excited for our little
half-and-half to emerge!

04 August 2011

The BREAST: to feed or not to feed?


"Maternity"
by Pablo Picasso
Let's talk boobies.  I've been intrigued by everyone's comments throughout pregnancy when it comes to the question, "Are you planning to breastfeed?" << I've long-since learned to keep my face neutral- as much as I'm able- and listen with open eyes, ears, and mind >>

There are extreme opinions on the matter, of course, but for the most part folks here in the southeast (and many of my friends who live all over) are proponents of The Boob.  I've heard stories of women who breastfeed in public and are subsequently judged harshly by receiving unwarranted "looks," unsolicited comments, or unfriendly snap judgments.  I've read articles and stories about women being denied services in public b/c of breast exposure all in the name of feeding their baby.

To be clear, YES, I plan to breastfeed.  Let me share a few reasons why.

Mobility.
With a spare diaper, baby and I can go ANYWHERE. Anytime.

Bonding.
What better, sweeter way to spend quality time with baby? 

  • Skin to skin contact
  • Eye contact 
  • The act of giving and receiving

Health (mommy)
I understand that breastfeeding can prevent some types of cancer later in life.  I also understand that breastfeeding is a great way to jump start a woman's return to her pre-pregnancy weight.

Health (baby)
In the amazing, miraculous way that women are made to grow babies, the miracle continues when the milk comes in.  Every woman's "breast milk cocktail" is nutrient-rich milk with *exactly* what baby needs, especially for their sweet little immune systems.

... prevents obesity...  On the news recently it was announced that the CDC has set up "The Baby- Friendly Hospital Initiative" after determining that most hospitals do not support breastfeeding << as an aside, in our breastfeeding class the instructor told us that the number one reason women have trouble and give up with breastfeeding is when the pediatrician suggests too quickly that baby isn't "growing fast enough" or isn't "getting enough to eat" >>.  Here's an excerpt from the CDC website, with the link to the page here.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic. In the US, 1 preschooler in 5 is at least overweight, and half of these are obese. Breastfeeding helps protect against childhood obesity. A baby's risk of becoming an overweight child goes down with each month of breastfeeding. In the US, most babies start breastfeeding, but within the first week, half have already been given formula, and by 9 months, only 31% of babies are breastfeeding at all.
One thing I don't think is mentioned in the study (and that was shared with us by a lactation consultant) is that by breastfeeding, baby learns portion control. Think about it.  When baby's done with the boob, baby detaches.  When Mom and Dad spent $24 on a can of formula and make a bottle with it, by golly that baby is not going to waste any of the expensive formula.

I mentioned in the last post why I'm so excited about delivering our baby here, and I left out the part about their lactation support. It's amazing! They have a separate phone number to call to speak with a lactation consultant. They won't let you leave the clinic postpartum until they're sure you and baby have figured out "the latch." They even come to your home the day after birth to check on mommy and baby.  It's an extraordinarily supportive environment, and I'm so thankful to have landed there.

Oh, and for any of  you that feel all squirmy at the idea of actually *seeing* a baby feed from the boob, early on I ordered what's call an Udder Cover.  For real.  Couldn't have made up the name if I'd tried.

02 August 2011

Anticipating Childbirth

Somewhat recently the hubs and I watched this documentary, and we both found it to be eye-opening << although we did watch it with a grain of salt >>.  Anytime you watch or are given anything that is one-sided, it's essential to have your eyes, ears, and mind wide open. I'm just sayin'.

As a result of the experience of the past 9 months of my life, I've come to believe a few very important things:  
Pregnancy is neither a disease nor a disability.
Rarely should labor and delivery require the expertise of a trained surgeon.
A woman's body will *almost never* grow a baby that is too big for her to birth.

Since we're planning to deliver our son at a local women's clinic where we'll be attended by nurses and midwives, I'm excited about all sorts of things that I'll get to do that are not permitted at most hospitals.  For example...

Eating!
I've got a list of  foods that I can bring for me to eat, including popsicles, soup, and frozen yogurt.  Think about it like this: when I go on a 4 hour bike ride, I eat during the ride... power bars, high-protein snacks, etc.  When you're doing prolonged cardiovascular activity, like taking a day-long hike, it makes sense that you'd have to fuel your body, right?  And how long does a typical first time mom labor?  HOURS.  Like, between eight and twelve I think.  Most hospitals allow laboring women to "eat" ice chips and have an IV pump in some sugar water to avoid dehydration.  Not at the clinic! I can actually eat if I want to.  Of course I may not want to- what do I know?

Music! 
I've got a playlist on my MP3 player cleverly titled, "Labor and Delivery."  Artists on the list include Jason Mraz, Sarah McLachlan, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Tori Amos, John Mayer, and Adele.  All of the songs are ones that I can sing along to (which relaxes me and is often entertaining for others), but they're not so fast-paced that I'll get amped up and ready to run a 5K.  Plus, most of this music is what I grew up to, and I'm stoked to have a soundtrack that keeps on growing in meaning and value.  For the record, some hospitals might allow you to bring your own music- again, what do I know?

Skin to skin for the 1st hour!
The staff at the clinic try as much as possible to keep baby with mommy during the first hour of life. There's no whisking away of baby for scrubbing, prodding, weighing, poking, measuring, etc. All of those things will take place; however, in all of our earthiness- rooted in the most beautiful and vulnerable of human miracles- we get to revel in the magical experience that is *new life* without being rushed past it.

Going home quick!
The typical postpartum stay at this clinic is a whopping 6 hours.  Six hours!  Typically at the hospital it's at least 24 hours, right? Longer if you've had a C-section.  Come to find out, hospitals keep moms and babies in the brig as long as they do more for the mom than for the baby to make sure that mom's body is working properly << read: she can pee and poop on her own >> after the medical intervention(s) she's had- epidural, episiotomy, c-section, etc.

Let me address a couple things that some of you may be thinking.

What about the pain?
I can't tell you how many women have looked me straight in the eye << obviously before asking where I'm planning to give birth >> and pleaded, "Take The Epidural!"  I typically will inform them that I do not plan to use any medication for the birth process, at which point I'm given "the look."  It's as if they want to say, "Hello... what's wrong with you? Why would you ever consider suffering through all that pain?"  Typically they bite their tongues and don't actually say it out loud; however, every now and then a brazen acquaintance will have their filter turned off and actually blurt it out.  It doesn't bother me!  We're all entitled to approach every aspect of our lives according to what works for us.  Numbing the pain of labor simply isn't my prerogative. I totally, absolutely, 100% respect every woman's choice when it comes to her L & D. 

Here's a little bit of insight into my stance on pain management: my mom and my husband's mom both pushed out 3 big babies naturally and without medical intervention of any kind (his mom at home and my mom in the hospital).  If you ask either of them to tell you about the most painful experience in their lives, neither of them will mention childbirth.  We come from tough stock, and I've been told I have a tendency of being both strong and stubborn.  I'm physically healthy, and I think I'm good at focusing my mind on the end goal.  Besides, the pain of childbirth is finite- it won't last forever.  I've never been afraid to work hard for something that I'm passionate about.

What if something goes wrong?
The clinic has a transfer hospital that is less than 5 minutes away, and they only work with low-risk preggo's who deliver between 37 and 41 weeks.  They also have warmers and resuscitation equipment if it's needed.

18 July 2011

I've never been showered like this before - part 1

Before we knew the gender of our baby, we were tentatively leaning towards a nursery theme of Dr. Seuss.  We have every intention of keeping it very low key in light of the fact that in a couple years our rugrat will indicate his own preference for a bedroom theme- trains, sea creatures, baseball, etc.  Let's not kid ourselves, nursery themes are for the parents, not for the kid.

I'll post later on with pics from the nursery, but in this post I want to brag on my baby shower hostesses who created a Dr. Seuss extravaganza on behalf of our little citrus baby.  A little while back, two sisters from church told me they'd like to throw us a shower and invite the ladies from church.  I most assuredly said yes- these sisters are a creative force to be reckoned with << and if we're brutally honest, that's an understatement >>.

When asked about the nursery theme, I answered Dr. Seuss, and they both lit up. I could see the creative wheels turning behind both sets of those pretty blue eyes.

Soon after, this arrived to my email inbox.
A Dr. Seuss Themed Party Invitation!
My level of excitement just about caused my head to pop when I saw this!  My hostesses assured me they didn't need my help with any part of the party planning or preparation, and I was instructed to simply show up.  So I did.

And I was blown away!

I felt like I had walked into the land of Dr. Seuss!  Here's how they did it:
Books and stuffed animals were strategically
placed all over the house.
The Cat in the Hat! (make note of Thing 1
and Thing 2- they'll show up later in the post)
Horton!
Yertle!

There were mini-cupcakes with
 "It's a Boy" tags.
They had a Dr. Seuss Hat and a One Fish, Two Fish,
Red Fish, Blue Fish Diaper Cake!
Look at the fruit!
Green Eggs, as in Green Eggs and Ham
And assorted  greens and other things, i.e. veggies!
These are my hostesses! They strategically hung
a big blue ball of fluff from the dining room light fixture.
The jars upon jars of candy were the party
favors for guests to take home with them!
A One Fish Diaper Cake! The creativity abounds!!!
When it came time to open the many, many gifts from our loved ones who are sharing and celebrating with us, there were a few surprises that either made my jaw drop, caused fits of laughter, or provoked tears to spring into my eyes:

Jaw drop occurred here. This sweater was bought by a church
member to bring home to his young son on our first trip to Bolivia,
the same trip where I met my husband.
This particular family decided to pass it on to our son!
Fits of laughter on this one.
Thing 1 is for Rolo, the pup,
and Thing 2 is for Citrus Baby.
Tears sprang up here: a very creative friend hand-painted
 a "Half and Half" bib, as in half-American and half-Bolivian.
The rest of the weekend was spent resting and accommodating all of the bounty we'd been given to help us prepare for the arrival of Thing 2.  We couldn't resist the opportunity to model on Thing 1 his new outfit.  We proceeded to laugh until we cried on this one!

Thing 1 is showing great excitement for Thing 2's pending arrival!

29 June 2011

Some Things in Life |read: Pregnancy| Just Aren't Fair

There are exactly three terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ways to wake up.

1: Someone yelling at you in an aggressive or angry way.
2: Excruciating pain from a leg cramp.
3: Excruciating pain from a leg cramp while you are 8 months pregnant.

For the love of all things that are good, why are leg cramps common during pregnancy?  We all know that if you wake up with a leg cramp, the best thing you can do is get up quickly and walk slowly.  This may also be the last thing you want to do << if you didn't know this little trick, tuck it away for a rainy day- you'll thank me >>, but trust me, it's the most efficient and effective way to straighten out a bunched up leg muscle.  If you've never been knocked up, or if you're a guy, I want to let you in on a little secret: while pregnant in the 3rd trimester, you can no longer do anything quickly. Period.

At exactly 5:54 one recent morning, I awoke to excruciating pain from a leg cramp while 8 months pregnant.  In hindsight, I'm certain it would have been comical to be a fly on the wall with a nice view of yours truly. The need to rollover quickly and get out of bed was great; however the execution was... well... not so great.  For a while now, I've been sleeping with 4 pillows << that's right... four...  I'm not going to tell you where they all reside, but I will say that I continue to sleep very well >>.

So, I'm deep in an early morning slumber, my right calf cramp commences, and I awake abruptly to an epic battle of throwing off the sheet, tossing away the plethora of pillows, and attempting to roll my pot-bellied self over, somehow managing to stand up while breathing like a horse who's just raced in the Derby, all the while trying not to scream or cry << both of which seem like perfectly reasonable coping skills to utilize in that particular moment >>.  In spite of all of the commotion, I manage to take 2 steps before the hubs rouses from his slumber, and in his sleepy voice he sweetly asks if I'm okay. After a few more steps I assure him << pretty sure I was reassuring myself >> that the cramp had passed.  He fell back to sleep approximately 12 seconds later.

It's just not fair.  In fact, it's cruel... cruel that a woman who is already tasked with the heavy burden << literally and metaphorically here, folks >> of growing a baby for 9 months has to deal with nighttime leg cramps. Whoever thought up the idea of forcing a pregnant chic to go from sleeping peacefully one moment to needing desperately to fly out of bed the next moment should have their head examined.  To boot, if you've ever had a leg cramp you know that afterwards, you're wide awake.  Needless to say, I was at work that morning bright and early << though I was not what  you'd call bright-eyed and bushy-tailed >>.

27 June 2011

Pregnancy Survival Kit

Most people would give you all sorts of suggestions for what should be included in a Pregnancy Survival Kit. For my personal kit, it would seem like slim pickins' compared to most.

I'm one of those girls who didn't have 5 minutes of morning sickness << keep your saltines >>.

I'm one of those girls who didn't have irresistible cravings that required my doting husband to get dressed at 2 am in seek of a grocery store that 1) was open, and 2) carried the exact brand of the exact food item  I could not survive without for 5 more minutes << keep your demands to a minimum>>.

I'm one of those girls that didn't have any trouble hiding our news until we hit trimester #2 << keep your secrets >>.

I'm one of those girls that, for the most part, didn't break down into uncontrollable sobs at the drop of a hat << keep your kleenex>>.

I'm also one of those girls that has managed to consistently get a good night's sleep, even with the normal mental and physical stress of a growing melon << keep your Benadryl >>.

If there are no saltines, solutions to random cravings, kleenex, cats being let out of bags, or Benadryl in my Pregnancy Survival Kit, then what the heck would be in it?  To come up with a solution, I'd like to pose one very important question, and I want you to answer honestly.

Who doesn't love TUMS?

Seriously, they're chalky, fruity, and they offer a boost of Calcium in each yummy bite.  The flavor variety is immense: assorted berries; tropical fruit; assorted fruit; there's even a sugar free orange cream flavor! Yum  << did you know that all Tums are gluten free AND kosher?  >>  Let me just say, I've learned so much about these little coin sized gems, because WITHOUT THEM I'D NEVER SURVIVE PREGNANCY.



There's an old wives tale that the amount of heartburn a pregnant woman experiences is directly correlated to the amount of hair her child will emerge with. At this point, if my son doesn't come out with dreadlocks, I'm going to cry foul and send him back.

11 June 2011

Could the Dr's Have Been Wrong?

It's been a little over 2 weeks since the medical professionals in my life told me I have Gestational Diabetes, and it's been a little more than a week since they instructed me to stab myself 4 times per day to check and see that my blood sugar levels remain within a "good" range for a preggo with Gestational Diabetes.

Here's what the peeps at the Diabetes Clinic instructed me regarding diet, post-diagnosis.
Recommendation #1:
INCREASE carb intake to the following schedule:
Breakfast - 30 g's
Mid-morning snack - 30 g's
Lunch - 45 g's
Afternoon snack - 30 g's
Dinner - 45 g's
Evening snack - 30 g's
They all turn into glucose.
* Note: there was NO mention of other recommended foods to include or what sort of nutritional balance to aim for.  I was told that veggies are "free," excluding potatoes, corn, and sweet peas.  They also informed me that our bodies process carbs into sugars no matter if they're jelly beans or whole wheat pasta.  "Count the grams," they told me.  So I have been  << I've experimented with cereal, fruit and fruit juice, whole wheat bread, cookies, ice cream(!), and many other typical staples >>

Recommendation #2:
EXERCISE for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

*Note: If you know me, you know I have a love of exercise.  My pre-pregnancy exercise routine consisted of high-impact cardio, lifting heavy weights with the big boys, and long bike rides with the hubs-- typically 5 days a week.  During pregnancy, I've shifted to swimming, yoga, walking, low-key weight lifting, and water aerobics, still averaging 5 days a week.

After the appointment at the Diabetes Clinic, I've come to a few conclusions about what they recommend in order to control my Gestational Diabetes. 

Conclusion Regarding Recommendation #1:
 The food recommendation IS NO DIFFERENT than what I was eating before.  << For clarification purposes, I'm raising my voice here- not quite shouting >>. If anything, my carb intake is higher than it was before. I've always eaten 5 - 6 small meals per day, and they're almost always really well-balanced nutritionally.

Conclusion Regarding Recommendation #2: 
The recommended exercise IS NO DIFFERENT than what I was exercising before.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS:  
With over a week of recording the numbers the little monitor spits out after I stick a needle into my fingertip, NOT ONCE have my blood sugar levels been higher than the number they're looking for.  In fact, the number hasn't once come close.  I feel great! The baby moves, wiggles, and dances ALL the time.  So the way I see it, there are two possibilities. First, maybe, just maybe, the medical professionals were wrong. Or second, it's a miracle!  Maybe there was in fact a time where my body struggled to process the sugars from my food, but as miracles go, that imbalance has been re-balanced.

Either way, I'm grateful.  I know it could be so much worse -- there are plenty of women with a lot of complications and challenges during pregnancy.  I had one week << between diagnosis and treatment plan >> of fairly poor mental health resulting from all this drama.  At this point, I'm feeling great.  I'm sleeping well (for the most part), and my excitement levels continue to grow over the notion that our family is growing.  Let the nesting continue!

06 June 2011

Laughter to Cope with Pregnancy

These days, I'm laughing a lot.  Seems like humor is my new favorite coping mechanism.  It's great until my sides hurt- then it's just uncomfortable.  I think I've laughed until I cried more since I've been pregnant than ever in my entire life.  I'm mindful that sometimes what seems absolutely hysterical to me at a particular moment just flat doesn't convey when I try to re-tell it later << so take that as your warning... this post may be dreadfully boring for some of you >>.

Examples:
1) A while back on the phone with my mom, I casually told her, "This week your grandbaby's the size of a small cantaloupe."
"Oh goody," she squealed with delight. "I have a cantaloupe in the fridge at home."
"When you get home, I think you should pull it out of the fridge and cuddle your melon for practice."  As soon as those words were out of my mouth, I fell into an uncontrollable fit of giggles.



2) After she finished reading a previous post on here, my sister comments on the FB link, "_Whoa, cool! Not sure if this makes me want to have babies or not..._" For some reason, this tickled me bright pink!  It's hilarious to my progesterone poisoned mind that sharing this amazing, ridiculous, miraculous experience with the whole world << who am I kidding, the "hits" I get from Russia and Malaysia are probably just spammers >> would possibly cause folks to re-consider whether or not they should take the plunge... bite the big one... go for the gold... okay, I'll stop now.

3) I definitely laughed at myself for all the fruit I was eating.  If we're friends on Face, you know of my obsession with fruit. Specifically citrus fruit, but there have been other strong contenders.  I've been known to polish off: an 8 lb bag of oranges in less than a week; a pint of blueberries in less than 24 hours; and a 10 - 12 lb basket of mixed fruit in 4 days.  My fruit cravings are the only consistent ones I'm having, and not a moment goes by where I don't think to myself... "Mmmm... oranges...  mmmmm... strawberries... mmmmm..."  You get the point.

Here's the humor: at the height of my fruity cravings, the inside of my mouth was almost one big citrus blister.  I literally had to be cautious how much fruit I ate, otherwise my mouth would react.  One day in particular, a colleague at a lunch meeting says to me, "Jess, I can't believe you're not getting fruit!"  Embarrassed, I was forced at that point to confess my excesses. And believe it or not, I giggled my way through it, recounting all the fruit that I'd eaten in the past 5 hours.

4)  If you know me, you might know that I have an unusual, and heretofore un-matched, talent for memorizing all of the song lyrics to all of the best early 90's Rap music that I grew up jam skating to at the roller rink.  Every now and then a song comes on, and I'll happily sing along.  I might even booty dance, which might take place in the bathroom when I'm getting ready in the morning... at home... by myself (except for the dog).  If I happen to see myself dancing along as I'm rappin' my heart out, I just about fall out. Every time.  There's something << wrong? hilarious? absurd? >> about having 2 large melons up top and an extra-large melon on my waist while shimmying around the room shakin' what my momma gave me that throws me into uncontrolled fits of giggles.

02 June 2011

Your Last Request

We recently watched a movie that I was utterly unimpressed with. When it finally ended, I looked at the hubs and told him bluntly, "I'd like that hour and a half of my life back."

Then a couple days later I found myself thinking back to a part of the movie that sort of, kind of << okay, I'll reluctantly admit it >> stood out. The chick who plays the main female lead asks the main dude, "If you were on death row, what would you want your last meal to be?"  There's more conversation around last songs, last conversations, etc., and overall it didn't make me like the movie any more or any less.  A few days later, it did, however, give me pause to reflect.

In light of my Gestational Diabetes (GD) diagnosis << I know, I know, it sounds SO dramatic, doesn't it? >>, I reflected back on what my last meals were the Wednesday prior to "failing the test," in the words of the inexperienced nurse at the dr's office. << Reminder: an appropriate alternative to "You failed the test" would have been, "Your number was a little higher than what we were hoping for." >>  Here's how it went down.
Breakfast- We had staff meeting at The Plaid Apron, which involved a delicious breakfast of a Bacon Omelette (good for GD!) and two decadent slices of whole wheat toast with strawberry preserves (not so good for GD!).  Everything was oh, so delish, even down to the coffee.

Lunch- I met one very dear friend for some eats at a new-to-me restaurant, Chez Liberty. This is a place for real life, hard core foodies. I ordered a crab cake sandwich with french fries (not so good for GD!).  Fresh ingredients, perfect quantities- I was a happy kid.  Unbeknown to me, my sweet friend had ordered a dessert for us to share: chocolate torte with a dark chocolate ganache, served with 4 raspberries and a scoop of raspberry sorbet.
Now this baby growing inside of me has provoked just one consistent craving: fruit.  Early on it was citrus fruit, but it has transformed into a more general "colorful fruit" craving for the last couple of months, including all sorts of berries.  So for my eyes to fall upon both raspberry AND chocolate on the same plate, I'm not sure the folks at the restaurant could have found a quicker way to my heart.
We got the first round of news the next day with the possible diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes.  Since then, it's been sugar-free, low-carb for this girl.  Again, after watching this awful movie that I felt wasted my time, it did subsequently cause me to reflect on my "last meals" ... not that I'm on death row or anything.  << Let's be dramatic, but let's not be that dramatic. >>

In hindsight, I'd like to thank my boss for having a daughter and son-in-law who own a nifty little breakfast/lunch/coffee shop in town that serves such fresh and delicious local food. And I'd like to thank the Figgster for suggesting such a froo-froo lunch spot and sharing a most-decadent dessert with me.  Mighty fine way to spend my last day of "free eating" if I do say so myself.

01 June 2011

Less Talk! More Photos!

12 Weeks
Ranch and Citrus Baby Bump





16 Weeks
Citrus Baby Bump



















20 Weeks
   
Citrus Baby Bump



















23 Weeks
Citrus Baby Bump


















25 Weeks
Citrus Baby Bump



















27 Weeks
Veggie Baby Bump
28 Weeks
Veggie Baby Bump


31 May 2011

Luck of the Draw: You've got Gestational Diabetes!

Guess who gets to be on a low-carb diet for the next 3 months or so?  :: thumbs in shoulders :: This girl!

Guess who gets to give up dessert for the next 3 months or so?  :: sobs :: ... this girl...

Okay, I'm being dramatic. I know.   I didn't actually sob when I found out.  But I did have an emotional roller coaster of a day.

Turns out around the beginning of the thrid trimester, it's entirely customary to test all preggo's for something known as Gestational Diabetes (GD).  At the time our mommies were giving birth to us, this particular test was not being done.  The hubs and I are confident that his mom had GD, since the guy was born weighing more than 12 pounds.  << Yes, she delivered naturally, with nothing to numb the pain.  Did I mention she powered her way through labor and delivery with the support of her husband and a midwife in a small village in Bolivia?  She wasn't even in a hospital!  There was no trained doctor attending to her... WOW! >>  My mom is not sure whether or not she might have also had GD, but it's possible because we were all 3 fairly big babies requiring an epesiotomy with each delivery.  As she likes to say, she huffed and puffed and blew us out. Ha!

Here's how we found out that I'm one of about 200,000 women in the US every year who develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy .

Thursday: At 27 1/2 weeks gestation, we show up for the 1-Hour Glucola test which required me to fast since midnight, drink a super sweet and very cold orange drink, then sit and wait an hour while my body did its thing to process all the sugar.  After an hour I followed the nurse to have my finger pricked to read my blood sugar level.

These were the words out of her mouth. "You failed the test."

Pardon me for getting on a soapbox here, but this is another one of those DO NOT EVERY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE SAY THIS TO A PREGNANT WOMAN statements: "You failed."  It's bad enough for any non-knocked-up person to be told that they've failed, but when you say this to a pregnant woman you might as well go ahead and assume she can NOT be held accountable for her actions. << I had a brief fantasy where I turned into a monster, ripped her head off, chewed it up, spit it out, and then went right back to being sweet and gentle preggo Jess.  I blame the violent fantasy entirely on the raging progesterone that has hijacked my body. >> The initial fury at the news delivered from this inexperienced nurse passed, and I became simultaneously hopeful that there had been some mistake, saddened by the thought that something was wrong with me, and scared that something could be wrong with our son.

We then go to see the nurse practitioner, and she assures us the test results from today only tell us that we have to do the 3-hour test to get an accurate look.  At this point it's not definite that I have GD. So we schedule the 3-hour test for the next day.

Friday: We arrive and I have a pre-sweet-drink finger prick to measure my fasting sugar levels. They're GREAT. The doc wants that initial number to be 110 or below, and mine was 87.  Drink the drink and wait an hour for finger prick #2. Ideal number would be 190 or below, and mine was 212. :-(  The nurse, a different one from the day before, gently and sweetly tells us, "Your number is a little higher than what we're looking for." << In contrast to the reaction I'd had the day before, I took this news in stride... I think.  The hubs might tell you differently, but do me the favor of not asking him. >> We go back to the holding area to wait for finger prick #3. Here's the deal- I could have failed 1 out of 4 of the finger pricks and still "passed" the test.  So if my numbers for finger sticks #3 and #4 were below the desired levels, then we would have avoided the GD diagnosis.  Turns out the #3 test read 175, when they were hoping for 165.  So we wait to see the doc.  It's official according to the doc: I've got Gestational Diabetes.  The Dr's office will make a referral to a local Diabetes clinic, and they'll call us to make an appointment to come in and learn what's next. We'll do this in the next few days.

So what is Gestational Diabetes, exactly?
The National Institute of Health has the following information.
Normally, your stomach and intestines digest the carbohydrate in your food into a sugar called glucose. Glucose is your body’s main source of energy. After digestion, the glucose moves into your blood to give your body energy.  To get the glucose out of your blood and into the cells of your body, your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin.  If you have diabetes, either your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or your cells can’t use it the way they should.  Instead, the glucose builds up in your blood, causing diabetes, or high blood sugar. Gestational diabetes happens in about 5 percent of all pregnancies, or about 200,000 cases a year in the United States.
How is gestational diabetes treated?
Many women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies because they follow a treatment plan from their health care provider.  Each woman should have a specific plan designed just for her needs, but there are some general ways to stay healthy with gestational diabetes:
  • Know your blood sugar and keep it under control – By testing how much sugar is in your blood, it is easier to keep it in a healthy range.  Women usually need to test a drop of their blood several times a day to find out their blood sugar level.
  • Eat a healthy diet – Your health care provider can make a plan with the best diet for you.  Usually controlling carbohydrates is an important part of a healthy diet for women with gestational diabetes because carbohydrates affect blood sugar. 
  • Get regular, moderate physical activity – Exercise can help control blood sugar levels.  Your health care provider can tell you the best activities and right amount for you.
  • Keep a healthy weight – The amount of weight gain that is healthy for you will depend on how much you weighed before pregnancy. It is important to track both your overall weight gain and weekly rate of gain.
  • Keep daily records of your diet, physical activity, and glucose level – Women with gestational diabetes should write down their blood sugar numbers, physical activity, and everything they eat and drink in a daily record book.  This can help track how well the treatment is working and what, if anything, needs to be changed. 
What happens after the baby is born?
For most women, blood sugar levels go back to normal quickly after the baby is born.
Additionally, I digitally sauntered on over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website and found some very good, NOT ALARMIST, material about Gestational Diabetes.  Here's a snip of what the US FDA website said about GD, in case you're confused, concerned, worried, freaking out on my behalf, etc.
Why is gestational diabetes a problem?
For you:

• Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is increased.
• You are more likely to have a large baby (a condition known
as macrosomia). This may cause discomfort during the last
few months of pregnancy.
• Having a large baby may lead to a cesarean section
(C-section). If you had a C-section, it may take longer for you
to recover after the birth.
For your baby:
• Large babies are more likely to suffer from birth trauma.
• Soon after delivery, your baby may have low blood sugar.
This can be treated with early feedings and should not result
in any long-term consequences after birth.
What can I do during pregnancy if I have gestational
diabetes?
Go to all of your • prenatal visits.
• Follow your health care providers’ recommendations for
controlling your blood sugar. This can help reduce your risk
of having a large baby.
• Stay physically active.
• Make healthy food choices.
• Ask your health care provider to see a dietician or a diabetes
educator.
In order to avoid a total melt down while attempting to be proactive and become informed over the Memorial Day weekend, I decided to research carb content in some of my favorite foods.  As far as my preferred fruits and veggies, I learned that lemons, limes, avocados, and strawberries will be A.O.K., and there is a huge long list of veggies that will be just fine for low-carb requirements.  

In closing, you should know that if you're planning to come for a baby-viewing visit at any point postpartum, I may just have to charge you an entry fee of fresh bread, pizza, pastries, macaroni and cheese, cookies, or something else of the carb and/or sweet variety.  And in the meantime, if you have any sugar-free, low-carb recipes you love, send them my way!