A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: pregnancy

Currents and Tides

This is a painful post to write. I’d been holding off and hoping that the context of the terrible would be cloaked in good news…but it will never be good news. This will not be a footnote for things turning to something I desperately wish; such is life.

Important details I’m leaving out, but I can speak of sufficient pieces for this to hold some weight for others. I blather on abstractly about the challenge of things, especially in the last year. Some I’ve disclosed, other things I don’t. They are important for me and my life, but I’ve found that this blog is a practice in narrow compartmentalization. This just one more compartment that will sting for…maybe forever…maybe it will pass. I’m too weary to think beyond this moment until the next moment arrives. Eventually the day ends and I pass into a new series of moments and things happening around me that I try to appreciate. I’m intermittently successful, even if the high is short-lived.

It’s funny; I had been so ambivalent about having children, and now from my very core I curse my cowardice. If I’d been more purposed with starting the childbearing process, I’d be able to have a third. I regret that most during most of the passing moments. I try to remind myself that an earlier start would be a different Little Man and Warrior Queen…or maybe neither at all, but it’s not much consolation. I hope some day it is.

But, it’s more cruel feeling than that. We weren’t supposed to expand the family beyond what we have, at least that’s been the official stance. I just lost another pregnancy…another pregnancy I was never supposed to have, and there is some inkling that there were several more before that. I’d kept it hidden, and mostly suppressed it for the duration for various reasons. It’s been a horrible six months of uncertainty; plagued with timelines before heavy bleeding begins…again. The slow emergence of devastation as the quantity increases. I’m middle-aged. It’s to be expected. If we were trying for another, then it would be a brief grief. I’m well practiced at such things…I lost four babies before my pregnancy with Warrior Queen. The hurt of the loss significantly lessened with the baby as it should be growing and on the way.

That won’t be the case this time. I’m certain of it, and I’m left feeling this emptiness and gnawing incomplete thoughts of my family. I hope some day it leaves, but it isn’t so simple. Some women never shake it; or if they do, it’s decades later. It’s hard to explain the phenomenon. It isn’t that I’m unhappy about what I have; something just feels missing.

Walking Little Man to class, and subsequently retrieving him at the end of his school day has been mostly heartbreaking for me…SO many pregnant women…SO many babies…SO many families of three. It’s something I won’t have, but I’m not allowed to ignore it until the information resides in the back of my mind collecting cobwebs and dust. Even the ultrasound tech was in the sunset of her pregnancy. I couldn’t stop staring at her belly as she tried to comfort me sobbing from information I already knew. At another time it would have been amusing, her thick Russian accent and facial expressions hinted at a kind of conversation foreign to her. But, she did a good job; I’m appreciative of her…the doctor didn’t bother to meet with me. I’m bitter about it for no reason because I’m simply bitter.

Right now the pain is oppressive if I think about it…I can’t stop thinking about it. At the moment my time with my kids has a lingering loss of the addition I hoped would work…this time.

The finality has been unfolding this week, but I’ve been consumed for months, five or six maybe? I’ve lost track…maybe more? I’ve become increasingly weary from this process. I’m sleeping, but I wake-up tired…from this, and everything else going on that I’m not mentioning. I’ve been stumbling over and having trouble retrieving words, and doing more than the bare necessities the past few weeks as I’ve pushed myself to take life action.

I’d been realizing what a lousy friend I’ve been the last year. I was confronted with it again yesterday. A friend just had a baby…I didn’t know she was pregnant. I had been so good at keeping up with my various connections over the years, but I’ve let so many lapse in the last one. I’m barely seeing or talking to people; keeping my world small.

The past month my calls to Congress and various other entities have lapsed significantly. I manage once a week maybe? So many important things I need to be present for, but I can’t bring myself to because getting through at this moment requires so much.

My main coping skill, exercise, has dropped significantly too. Happily not entirely, but my legs are heavy and I’m tired…so I rest instead. When I don’t have the motivation, I’ve learned to take the signal seriously.

Last week was the final class at the prison. It was a good class, tough group to reach. Midway through I learned this was a group of men who mostly struggle to complete programs. My attendance was phenomenal; perfect or one absence for the duration. There are no longer as many people in my life who get that bit of data, so it’s that much more sadness. But, it’s old sadness; I’m used to its weight so that I hardly notice anymore. I started a new group this week; it’s a good group. The first class had been dodgy for me with my other runs, but this time I think I got it right…If they show next week, I’ll know for sure. I mention this because I left feeling a high I needed, and the float persisted on the ride home. No real thoughts flooding my mind; I simply felt good. For once in my life I didn’t overthink it. It faded when I entered my house; a slow seep before I’m back to that nagging sadness. But, it can’t be so bad because I’m writing even if the content isn’t so cheery. Once again I didn’t make my calls, but maybe I’ll get something else done.

My doctor went over the various tests; everything is normal and nothing is wrong. At the end she paused; in kindness said she’s concerned. I don’t look good. I know what she means. I don’t know that I’ve seen friends for a while, especially in the last few weeks when things have been so horrible.

This doesn’t need a label, nor will this feeling be forever. I’ve encountered my fair share of bad things, some surpassing this batch of terrible. At some point things will be better…eventually. But, right now it’s not.


Immortalized Nostalgia…and a couple of asshats

I began this blog when my son was almost a year old. As his first birthday approached I penned a post about my delivery. The entirety of my daughter’s existence is within the confines of this site, but there is one particular event I’ve decided to make a permanent fixture within my documented parenting history. It wasn’t hastening a departure from my mind regardless.

I’ve spent so much time working with destructive populations that I’m desensitized from horrific events and stories in profound ways. My threshold for the disturbing is quite high, yet I can no longer stomach the horror movies I used to love…go figure. I’m told this situation is horrible and terrifying. I don’t remember it as such, but I recall it as odd and stupid.

I had difficulty conceiving our second, but nothing major in the grand scheme of things. I’m geriatric by conception standards…my husband more so. Consequently, over the course of seven months I lost four pregnancies in a row very early on. It was gut wrenching at the time, but now having my little girl, the process lost its sting. From time to time I compare sibling age gaps in other families, but mostly the impulse flows over me with little consequence.

My husband and I attended our first session with a fertility doctor when I happened to just be pregnant with Warrior Queen. It was in the five week neighborhood, and I felt this time was different, but I was terribly afraid to embrace those thoughts. A couple days before the weekend my blood was drawn for a whole slew of genetic collections, as well as a pregnancy test. I can’t recall exactly how often I checked my online status, but I learned every result within twenty-four hours, except the pregnancy one…They forgot to submit it. Sunday rolled around, and the suspense was eating away at me. Some time during the solitude of a two hour return drive from a family event, I decided to buy a home pregnancy test.

It isn’t all that often I have time to myself. My husband is wonderful, so most weeks I’ll have part of a day to gallivant by my lonesome, but even including these hours, I am infrequently unencumbered by small children. I was anxious to purchase the pee stick, but not so anxious to rush the drive. Plus, I was thoroughly enjoying a Moth story on NPR. I can no longer remember anything specific about it, but I remember it as funny. It’s always when things are most enjoyable that traffic signals are green.

Exiting the highway I expected to stop. I remember feeling disappointed it was a delayed green left arrow. I followed the car in front of me barely needing to slow for the turn. A quarter of a mile down the road…through a rotary, I pull into a local drug store lot to purchase whatever store brand pregnancy test I could find. I listened to the remaining couple minutes of the story, and exited my car in my own focused world.

It was summer, still quite light outside even as the day was ending. I did not expect a mammoth black truck stopped right behind my car, blocking a possible escape. Two men sitting in said truck waiting for me to look up, windows down.

I can’t remember the exact dialogue, and, really, it was frustratingly circular, so the specifics aren’t important. I don’t know where they came from, but they were convinced the person in the car in front of me and I ran a red light. They chose to follow my car to reprimand me. What transpired I immediately recognized as intimidation, even if this type of interaction style wasn’t a formal plan by the two men. I note this because the efficacy of intimidation preys on emotional wherewithal on the recipient…or lack thereof. More specifically, identifying intimidation intellectually as it is occurring breaks the emotional power it holds, and allows one to think clearly, even if one is stuck in the situation. These interactions are quite scary the first few times one experiences them…they are meant to be, but situations of this nature are somewhat old hat for me working with a criminal or generally sketchy element of society. I can’t identify why exactly, but I did not perceive a threat beyond what was occurring. I did, however, recognize they were hoping for me to flood with guilt, start crying, and beg their forgiveness…an emotional, frazzled, and scared response. If I were a man, this event wouldn’t have happened, and that irked me even as I was experiencing the interaction.

Neither man accepted that they were wrong with their assumption; that it was, in fact, a green light no matter how much I asserted the reality of the matter. I remember one aspect of the conversation that continues to strike me as amusing. The driver of the truck informed me that me arguing with them was telling. I can’t remember the word he used. I don’t know if I fully heard it at the time. As he became increasingly frustrated with me, his sentences became incomplete. The descriptor of me that he garbled was the first of his deteriorating dialogue, and I remember it took every ounce of willpower not to counter him with something to the effect of, “You followed a random person a quarter mile down the road because you thought you saw a traffic violation, and I’m the one traveling to crazy town?” Alas, I said nothing of the sort…but really wanted to. Seriously, these assholes were keeping me from buying my pregnancy test!

There were a couple more back and forths in this power struggle that would continue for much longer in the same vein as its own inertia. I was starting to lose my cool, so shut down the exchange, “I get that you get off intimidating women, but it was a green light.” It’s been my experience that those using intimidation without physical violence forethought often do so under a veil of self righteousness. Often framing the interaction as a negative against the individual forces their retreat…or sudden end to whatever interaction is transpiring. But, I say this as someone who works off of an experienced gut, and I wouldn’t hand off my approach as a recommendation for others. As soon as my comment left my lips, the driver yelled back through gritted teeth, “I don’t,” and sped off rambling that he hopes I get caught next time. I commented within the earshot of the couple staring at our exchange a couple cars away, “Sorry to disappoint, but they don’t offer commendations for obeying simple traffic laws.” I muttered some type of colorful adjectives as I walked into the store reeling.

I called my husband to tell him what happened, and I was cautious leaving the store. I didn’t think the men circled back, but one never knows.

Within the hour my pregnancy was confirmed.

A Belly and a Road Map

On the other end of Gestational Diabetes, I am reaping the benefits of a mere twenty-six pound weight gain.  Under two weeks postpartum and still in the process of ridding myself of those fast initial pounds, I found myself in the position of needing to wear my second from the largest of my postpartum non maternity jeans.  Maternity jeans simply stopped feeling comfortable, and really the larger size of jeans I chose might be a bit too big.  It was easily three months after my son was born, and likely longer, before I was able to fit into the size I’m wearing now, but, first time around, between the forty-five pound increase, and having that recent post baby body, I was still wearing my full panel pants for quite some time.

Now, just under two weeks postpartum, I still look pregnant, as I should.  The jeans are likely not all that flattering in the belly area, but growing and giving birth to a human does something interesting to my general notions of body beauty.

I absolutely love that I still look pregnant; I even loved it when I was so much heavier after my son’s birth, and the high persisted for at least a couple months postpartum.  The literal transition between the two states is so sudden that I enjoy having a reminder of what my body can do without the discomfort of actual pregnancy.  I love that I can move and have energy.  I love that I can wear the better of my maternity shirts with that slight…or not quite so slight…round belly peeking through.  And, I love that I can hold my fierce girl with her incredible facial expressions of determination and assertions, yet still look at myself with the reminder of where she was so recently.

Of course, at some point probably sooner rather than later, I will want to stop looking pregnant and return to my pre pregnancy size and shape.  Eventually, the pang of longing for my old clothes will manifest, as well as the intense urgency to wear my old bras.  But, for now my amazing body made my remarkable Warrior Queen, and I want everyone to know that.

Adventures in Labor, Part II

I started feeling promising contractions at around eleven-thirty at night Thursday.  I was out to the world.  My husband was sleeping in another room because he had a cold…again.  I had so many false starts with my contractions that I wasn’t taking them all that seriously; didn’t bother to time them for quite a long time.  For a bit I was dreaming of contractions, so wasn’t entirely sure which were happening and which were in my head.  Twelve-thirty in the morning it occurred to me that not only were they strong, but seemed fairly close together.  I tried tracking them on my alarm clock, and failed…miserably.  I levered myself out of bed the way all small and very pregnant women do in a bed that is too high.  I drop my legs with enough force to use gravity and momentum to actually get up without managing to hurt myself in this most seemingly mundane of tasks.  With that, I groggily and uncomfortably trek downstairs to retrieve my phone…I’ll blame mid slumber for my need to utilize my never before accessed cell stopwatch.  It took a good hour-and-a-half for the awareness to hit me that my contractions were five to seven minutes apart.  In no traffic it can take forty minutes to get to the hospital, but it isn’t quite so dramatic as all that.

With my son my water broke at three in the morning.  My contractions never progressed beyond vague discomfort at random intervals.  With the Warrior Queen I had intermittent and frustratingly hopeful contractions for four days.  I prayed my water would break in these early hours; in no way did I trust this latest contraction progression.

After excessive internal debate and a lukewarm urge from the on-call physician, I wake my husband.  I call my parents who arrive a bit after three in the morning.  Fortunately, my mother was prepared and only brought the necessities from her home…like her coffee maker…My husband and I aren’t coffee drinkers, which is why my mother had bought us such an appliance years ago that she’s utilized often.  It was a good laugh, and we were off to the hospital.  Some time during our twenty-five minute drive my water broke.

The triage continued far too long.  Once it was determined I had my prized ruptured membrane, the time was calculated when I would be induced at the latest.  The doctor I spoke to said it was pointless to wait the full twelve hours; this was happening shortly once a delivery room was available…that ended up twelve hours later.  No one communicated anything to me, so my husband and I sat in the claustrophobic triage room for thirteen hours waiting.  By then I had virtually no contractions; always glad to be consistent…

The delivery finally underway.  The Pitocin drip began; I was so sensitive to it with my son that active labor was under two hours.  I received my epidural with both pregnancies soon after starting the inducing process, and was unwilling to fully calm until the anesthesiologist finished the procedure in both instances.  This time active labor was four hours.  Not all that long in the grand scheme of this type of thing, but not according to my mother who had been texting with my husband.  Apparently she inquired when they were scheduling a C-section, but she had made such inquiries since my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis.  Had my contractions not started to become uncomfortable, I might have rolled my eyes at the time.

My son’s final push was forty-five minutes; the Warrior Queen was maybe five, and she was in my arms.  Thirty-seven-and-a-half weeks she weighted seven pounds and one ounce.  She was absolutely beautiful…or so I was told.  Twenty-hours of wakefulness and the contented bliss of holding my little girl; I didn’t take the time to really look at her.  On my bare chest she cried as all newborns do, but it ceased almost instantaneously as I sang some of my son’s latest favorite tunes that she spent months overhearing.

I finally saw my daughter’s face at one in the morning.  I had only slept for an hour, but the anesthesia finally left my limbs enough to walk to the nursery.  She is, in fact, as beautiful as everyone said.  I let her sleep, and managed to rest another four hours before waking for the day where a new beginning awaited.

Adventures in Labor, Part I

My intention was to wait until the Warrior Queen arrived and describe the ordeal in a one time and succinct post, preserving the experience without droning on about how frustrated and annoyed I am at this moment, but, alas, the need to vent and whine to an audience won at this early hour.

Technically, I’ve been in the throws of early labor since Monday, and I can’t believe this time hole is only just beginning its fourth day.  Sounds dramatic, right?  Like, whoa, she will be here any time…  Yeah, at this point I think this will turn into that documentary I saw years ago with that African woman who was “pregnant” for forty years.

I haven’t experienced this process until now.  With my son I joined the ranks of the rare eight percent whose water breaks before contractions begin.  After twelve hours, I was induced because they never got on the stick.  This is miserable, but not because I’m in much pain.  It’s this halting of progress that is getting to me, and I’m forced to send angry texts all day to friends and read into body signals desperately hoping for some sign that this will happen before God retires.

I had two appointments anyway Monday when I awoke at 3.15 in the morning to contractions.  I knew they were irregular, so I wouldn’t have made the trip otherwise, but part of the plethora of appointments I experience includes a test that notes contractions…I had three in twenty minutes, so you know they will be checking on my lady part progress now that I’m thirty-seven weeks.  There was progress, but they sent me home because not enough…lovely…  The contractions stopped, and I entered day two of early labor waiting room hell.

Contractions came back for three hours in the morning, stronger and more consistent; too far apart, and they were done.  We’ll keep this clean, but it prompted another litany of angry texts to friends and a general poor demeanor toward my husband.

Next day:  contractions only last two hours, but my husband stopped ignoring my cranky attitude.  Mostly, he just noted that I was in a bad mood because when you are in early labor it seems those living with you who aren’t children give you a pass for behaving unpleasantly.  But, in case any of my readers are in the position of sharing this thrilling experience with another, a good rule of thumb is refrain from saying that this will end soon.  If I didn’t know that I would need his help once this eventually concludes, he might not live to tell another tale of “My wife is pregnant” woe.

But, unlike the previous day, my daughter appeared somewhat desperate to leave her current living arrangements…clearly not desperate enough…  While I’ve grown quite accustomed to a large and strong mass pushing against my belly, elbows and knees attempting to force their way through the barrier of my body is a new and fairly painful experience.  I figure this will either be a vaginal delivery or she will be appearing through my stomach Alien style.

Since noon yesterday I had intermittent vague crampy feelings that never materialized into anything, but alluded to the possibility that maybe I would have more than two hours of contractions that didn’t yield much.  No dice.

I can’t believe I’m just entering the fourth day of this, but it hasn’t been that much time…chronologically…  Last night I slept better than I have since I’ve been pregnant.  Starting at 2.30 in the morning when I journeyed to the restroom once again I felt the onset of contractions that changed their mind, noting that I preferred to sleep at that moment.  The same thing happened at four.  Feeling unusually rested, I was up and about at five.  We’ll see what the day brings, but I envision many more angry, bitter texts to friends…


I have not been in nesting mode per se, but my husband has, and I love him all the more for it.  The last two days have me feeling pretty great, except for the inability to breathe easily and some fatigue.  One would think these two conditions would leave me miserable, but I feel energized, happy, and peaceful; even if not entirely motivated to prepare for the Warrior Queen’s arrival.  I suppose the end is in sight regardless of the uncertain specifics.

I remember vividly my elation as we set each new article in our home, bringing us movements closer to my son’s debut.  Daily, sometimes hourly, I found myself entering his room and sitting quietly in the rocking chair I’ve kept since college.  I never remained in the room for long, only enough to absorb the excitement that I might be holding him soon.  I usually entered his closet before concluding my latest visit, unhooking the hanger of my favorite one piece with the crab on the bottom; placing it on my belly hoping I could conceive some notion of his size.

For an assortment of reasons I have not had this experience with the Warrior Queen.  While I am indescribably excited to have her here, picturing her accompaniment to our daily life; her presence is more like a spirit than a emerging reality.

Last weekend my husband installed the crib and retrieved the same rocker from the basement, but since we are undecided about furniture and bedroom assignments, these bits of preparation progress don’t hold the same weight as they probably should.  At this point a week passed, and I’ve barely set foot in the room.  But, today my husband retrieved other odds and ends like the car bucket that is resting in our office, as well as the playpen finding its prior home close distance to our elliptical.  Exercising I felt it; the very same feeling I had just before my son was born.  I remember keeping him in this meshed enclosure during  my stationary peddling.  Watching him progress from laying, to sitting, to standing, finally to cruising along its four walls.  I thought back to his smiles that were barely perceived over the edge; now he is so tall comparatively.  It was that moment I felt the Warrior Queen with us, soon resting in the safety of the same structure, safe from a curious toddler.  There are a couple more articles to haul to the living quarters of our house, but it’s beginning to feel like she is part of our outer world.

Soon my strong girl will be among us, and I can barely contain myself wondering when it will be.  I look for signs.  I have my intuition of roughly how much longer I must wait, but the feel of any moment is a collision of excitement and impatience, maybe a touch of intellectual curiosity too.

Unacknowledged Murphy’s Law No. 91

It’s only when I’m obscenely pregnant and incapable of movements Jabba the Hutt couldn’t manage that I drop everything without fail…not even an exaggeration.  The same response occurs each time something falls to the floor from my hand.  I stare accusingly at the object laying in front of me for an obnoxiously inappropriate length of time as I consider how necessary it is that I have it.  If I didn’t have a toddler running around, I’d give up and just start wearing shoes around the house or take strolls visiting the dump sites with my husband once he returned home from work.  But, alas, I do have a toddler running around, so with muttered profanity I’m sure my son hears regardless of how quiet I think I am or his distance from me, I sumo squat in such a fashion that has to be hilarious to view and retrieve the object.  Five minutes later something else falls…

Tenacity and Grit

I haven’t provided an update of sorts specifically regarding my Gestational Diabetes progress for a bit, so perhaps now is a good time while my son tinkers at my feet in his fleece dinosaur jammies with a badly brutalized old USB cable, mouse, and an eclectic assortment of random toy bric-a-brac.  I figure I can launch into a few sentences until he decides to duel with the diaper bin; my son’s last call announcement to his ability to sustain play independently.

My fasting levels had been borderline almost from the get-go, but given that almost all of my after meal levels have been golden…and I vomited in the nurse’s trashcan over a miniscule needle the first visit…the clinic personnel were willing to let it ride as long as possible before I start injecting insulin before bed.  I made it longer than I thought, a whole two weeks before altering my bedtime routine to include this newest pleasure.

Last week was my first week taking insulin.  I developed a certain process with the various sticks, having the nurse do it first in the office a couple of times before I venture on my own.  Mind you, I’m well aware my needle phobia has nothing to do with the acknowledgment of actual pain; it’s completely irrational, but that doesn’t matter.

Fast forward to my first night thirty minutes before going to sleep as directed.  I begin the process of situating everything.  I have the trusty injection pen, which I had been assuming would be a blunt end that I hold to my leg, and simply push a button to receive my insulin dose.  It isn’t, as I’m attempting to control a wave of panic examining the device, I realize that I will be, in fact, injecting myself…sans blunt end…sans magical button…  But, I did it…incorrectly…but, I did it nonetheless.  It bled…a lot.  I forgot to count, needle still imbedded in my thigh when adrenaline set-in and my hands began to shake.  The needle bent, but the full insulin amount managed to make its journey.  It didn’t hurt.  I began sobbing, laying on the bed, violently shaking.

I was fine; I told my husband as much.  It was just adrenaline, and the remaining week had little drama to the general festivities.  Sure, there was the night that I didn’t check the gage to see if the full insulin amount was through…It wasn’t.  I had to stick myself again.  And, there was last night with a perfect stick that had no feeling whatsoever to only realize I forgot to actually turn the dial for the proper insulin amount.  Had to stick myself a second time once again.  Oddly, the insulin is a more pleasant experience than the glucose monitoring.

Then there are the other pieces of this diagnosis that I’ve had to come to terms with throughout this, surprisingly, short time span.  With insulin means more appointments…many more.  Appointments I cannot bring my son as chaperone.  My husband and I worked it out as I knew from the moment I was told, but it’s all so overwhelming and I am very pregnant, so any difficult news becomes absurdly catastrophic.

My diet is draining, and contrary to what the internet consistently indicates, maintaining a “healthy diet” is maybe ten percent of managing my food intake and glucose levels.  It continues to be more thought than I’d like incorporated into every eating experience, and I’m tired of eating nuts four times a day, and with all the cheese I eat as a safe, virtually carb free protein, I may never poop again.  It isn’t about forgoing my precious chocolate, which I have.  There are surprising, healthy things I cannot eat or have to limit significantly.  The amount of food I can eat is greatly reduced from any other point in my life, so I’m almost always hungry with little I can do about it.  Now I’m at the peak of my insulin resistance, which restricts my food variety and amount all the more.  Sometimes it bothers me more than others.  To reframe the situation into a slight glimmer that I will appreciate after my daughter is born, I am on track to only gain twenty-five pounds from this pregnancy.  Six weeks ago the likely target was thirty-five.  I’m told this is what happens with Gestational Diabetes.

Sunday night, however, I completely failed at this diet thing for the first time since this whole business started, and I loved every minute of it…when I wasn’t torturing myself with guilt for my weakness.  It was a two-year-old’s birthday party, and, I have to say, I don’t know the last time I had such exquisite gluten free, organic chicken nuggets…Yes, there is such a thing.  I don’t know what was in them.  I didn’t care, as they complimented the two (albeit small) slices of pizza and sliver of cake I scarfed just before…It took every part of me not to weep in the process…Oddly, my glucose level was twenty points lower than when I ate a can of chickpeas…

So, I’m thirty-four weeks pregnant today, and another week closer to my tenet vacating the premises.  I have my first ultrasound in ten weeks in a matter of days.  This practice gives me 3D images, so I’ve actually been able to see my beautiful baby girl all along; I’m told from here the pictures will accurately reflect her appearance at birth.  Moving forward this will be the first of many, many ultrasounds and non stress tests I’ll have until she is born.  But, I have a feeling there will be tears this first time even if I see her and don’t feel this experience is worth it just yet.


Six Strategies for Surviving Gestational Diabetes

Regardless of the number of pregnancies experienced, a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes can be devastating to even the most level-headed mother. Every woman experiences the impact of the news and intervention differently, but all emotions are valid and reasonable.  Gestational Diabetes is serious business, and it can take several weeks to accept, and even more time to feel relatively comfortable with the entire process.  Below are some tips I accrued so far through my process, and may you read them and be saved some of the heartache I experienced:

  • Utilize people’s support effectively.

Immediately upon informing friends and loved ones about your diagnosis, plan to be bombarded with unsolicited advice and commentary ranging from, “It isn’t so bad,” to “It is temporary/will be over soon.” After minimizing the diagnosis, your support will expect you to listen attentively as they provide dietary insight or the experience of random people with the diagnosis of Type II Diabetes.  All information obviously useful and helpful, so as you soak in all minutiae offered, sit in front of your computer and shop online for the hottest maternity trends you can find to fit you in the sunset of your pregnancy.  It’s best to open another window for mortgage applications because a maternity shirt does not come cheap.

  • Be well informed before your first appointment.

Blood glucose monitoring is paramount in helping you manage your diabetes. If any needle gives you a greenish hue, spend a few moments before your first appointment online researching medical ailments that will provide a reasonable alternative to anxiety as rationale for you vomiting in the nurse’s trashcan before you are about to puncture yourself for the first time.  The same ailment could prove helpful if you will need to inject insulin for unruly levels not managed by diet.

  • Try new foods.

Be prepared to eat copious amounts of nuts and cheese, and what better time to throw caution to the wind than during pregnancy. Peruse your grocery nut collection for your preferred assortment or choose something you’re not sure exists in the natural world.  The same can be said for store cheese selections.  At this point you likely lost track of the last time you had a successful bowel movement, so the increase of cheese array shouldn’t make much of a difference.

  • Focus on the positive.

Some may view the Gestational Diabetes diet as restrictive, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. What better time is there to creepily stalk all grocery bakeries and candy aisles, looking lovingly at your favorite treats?  But, pregnancy is the time for indulgence, so go ahead and enter the expensive candy store and hover close enough to lick and drool over the case or fancy chocolate packages.  All of these actions are preparation for planning the first meal on which you will gorge yourself once your system returns to normal after birth.  After all, don’t they tell you to ready food for the initial overwhelming and exhausting first days of parenthood?  The more thorough your meal plans in the beginning, the more relaxed you can be adjusting to your new normal.

  • Occupy young children.

Invariably your toddler or small child will act like a clown only when you are attempting to check your sugar level. Hand the precious darling a full box of tissues for the child to destroy; with that you bought yourself a good five minutes or so to puncture yourself seven times because the process evidently is more complicated than the clinic nurse indicated.

  •  Learn a new language.

Many women require insulin to manage their Gestational Diabetes, which is always a pleasant addition to glucose monitoring four times a day. Small children are sponges, and every profane word that escapes your lips as you muster the strength to stab your appendages guarantees that your children will repeat everything with remarkable accuracy.  With all of your free time and energy, generate a list of obscure curse words from languages you’ve never heard of.  The likelihood of running into someone in public familiar with the language is miniscule, and you will look like a cultured mother fully committed to your children’s enrichment.

As a final thought, I am full-term in a little over a month, and I’ve concluded that my placenta is a complete tool, and I absolutely despise it for pushing me into this situation. Like my glucose levels, my emotions are all over the place.  Sometimes I am not sure how I will make it through until the end, but I’m too exhausted to think beyond that hopeless rut much of the time until the wave passes.  I don’t have a solution; I only am able to manage moment to moment until random relief is offered.  I feel alone between managing my diabetes and balancing the tail end of my pregnancy, staying home with my toddler, and my other obligations.  The only helpful aspect of this situation is having a friend who recently experienced this with both children.  The entirety of this experience is still draining and frustrating, but hearing tales from someone else means that there is the remote possibility that I am not overreacting, and perhaps the end will eventually come.

Sugar and Spice, but Not So Nice

I am a lot of things right now, but it’s all such a rush that I can’t place exactly what I’m experiencing.  Maybe the specifics don’t matter because it isn’t good.  I was an idiot for my one-hour glucose screening; perhaps too arrogant.  My appointment was at three, so I wouldn’t be fasting like I did with my son.  I should have opted for a first thing in the morning appointment…coulda, should, woulda…  Without thinking ate three servings of chocolate before heading out to my appointment.  Even though I had a bit of a drive to the hospital and an ultrasound first, both were surprisingly efficient.

I failed the test and sentenced to the unpleasant three-hour glucose test.  I’m fairly phobic of needles, but felt optimistic with the nurse who drew the first of four; it was virtually painless.  Just as she wrapped my arm in a fancy way that eliminates bruising like magic, she informed me someone else would be taking my last three blood samples.  I knew this other person; she is terrible.

Over the years I’ve made my peace with undergoing blood tests; I no longer feel as though I will faint.  I must say, though, this individual gives me a run for my money.  Not only is the needle stick painful, but so is the duration of the draw.  I can’t believe I managed the remaining three like a mature adult with blasé, humorous commentary.  Although, if I’m honest, the third one left me a bit green with an aching arm for forty-five minutes.

But, I left hopeful.  I did not have gestational diabetes with my son.  My only risk factors are my age and my father’s diabetes that he manages with his diet.  I eat well and exercise religiously.  I was at a healthy pre pregnancy weight.  My fasting glucose has always been good, and it did not occur to me, or perhaps I didn’t want to consider the fact that things would not continue to move along as they should for the duration of this pregnancy.

It was Friday, and with the blessing of technology, I was able to see my results at eight that evening.  My fasting level was perfect; literally, in the middle of the range.  My one-hour was well within range.  My two-hour was a bit out of range, but falling.  My three-hour shot up to well past any of the other numbers; it was almost 200 actually.

Looking at the screen in an incoherent daze, I needed my husband to translate what was happening.  The next step was calling my father, a physician who manages his glucose effectively.  I relayed my numbers, to which he informed me that with my profile, the last value is impossible.  My father-in-law with the same professional and health resume as my dad said the same.

The weekend passes, but I felt every minute.  Apparently Dr. Google never encountered my issue…that’s comforting…

I call my Ob-Gyn Monday; It’s her day off…lovely…I find waiting exhilarating…  I leave a message for her to call me back; not a nurse.  If my last number is strange, I don’t want to wait by the phone with a vomiting child going through a hierarchical process of repetitive explanations to befuddled listeners.  I love to talk, but at some point the simple thrill of conversation is lost.

Later Monday a nurse calls…so glad communication is so effective at this practice.  She doesn’t tell me my results, rather conveys that they are referring me to the diabetes clinic as though she is offering me a cheese sandwich in such a way that I will find it mildly amusing…I didn’t.  She didn’t know I called and she doesn’t know anything about my specific results…that was the high point of the conversation.  Not only is this individual unaware that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes is not received as good news, she continues to tell me that I will be assessed by the clinic checking my sugar multiple times a day for several days…Apparently, that was the appropriate response to, “Something isn’t right about my fourth glucose value.”  Then she brattles on about all these classes and appointments I will have to attend, but she doesn’t know if I can bring my son with me.  When I attempt to ask for clarification, likely inarticulately advocating some of the challenges, she changes her tone to perfected patronization that this is important for the health of my baby.  Had I been of a better mind at the time I could have said something to the effect of, “Thank you, Captain Obvious, clearly my reaction is because of my intent to peace-out because of this minor inconvenience.”

I like to think that I’m a fairly level individual.  I’ve successfully created and run behavioral schools for adolescents that were mere months from shutting their doors.  I’ve worked with various incarcerated populations.  Suffice it to say I’ve had diverse and colorful employment experiences, and to manage those well I like to consider that I’m not a complete wing-nut, even while preggers.  But, perhaps I’ve been mistaken all these years…

My husband was out of the country, succumbing to whatever ailment of the week  my son contracted as soon as his plane landed.  My son’s stomach bug in conjunction with a snow storm keeping us homebound kept me isolated much of the week.  How many days did I receive unsolicited advice and various inquiries?  These past days were a blur with the finale having my son relapse a bit with his illness and unable to be independent.  I had such lofty plans for my husband’s return; my intent to ensure small things were completed, so he could sigh in relief in stepping through the doors.  Three guesses if any of this happened, and the first two don’t count.

Last night my doctor called with the comment to check-in because of my fear of needles; she was equally confused.  Clarifying my concern about the final glucose value resulted in her confessing that she just looks to see if her patients pass or fail.  It’s been twenty years since her residency, and she just doesn’t remember glucose values.  Should I be pleased that she took my word for it that the fourth was amuck?  Interestingly, when I called the clinic earlier, they did not receive my blood work…an unusual occurrence?  Had I never said anything I would go through the gestational diabetes intervention without anyone looking at my actual glucose results…hmmm…

At the end of the day, I’m taking the three-hour glucose test again tomorrow morning…with the same phlebotomist.  I’m tired, waking up with hip pain every hour for the last two nights that intensified from the other two trimesters.  I’m drained and scared.  I’m many things I can’t identify, but I feel foolish.  I don’t feel particularly hopeful this will relieve my diagnosis, and after this week I don’t know how I will manage the gestational diabetes intervention.  I know I will because I have to, but what am I going to do?


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