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Feeling defeated

I'm feeling defeated today. I think I'm just hitting a wall and running out of steam to keep up the pace I've been going, but unfortunately there is no break in the foreseeable future. Today I met with the diabetes physician (by the way, I FINALLY got my testing supplies after three weeks and about 30 phone calls!), and while my numbers are not terrible, my fasting (first thing in the morning) numbers are hovering around acceptable, often slightly elevated. She didn't suggest insulin yet, but unless there is a significant change in a week, insulin it is. It's really not a big deal. I don't love the idea of giving myself a daily shot, but I'll do it.

However, it just feels like another thing in a series of things.

This whole pregnancy has been harder than my pregnancy with Mo. I used to wonder if I wanted three kids or if I'd stop at two. I loved my pregnancy with Mo - it wasn't all bliss, but after she was born, I immediately missed being pregnant and was eager to do it again. I thought, "I could do that again, and maybe again after that!"

But this time is different. I spent the first few months in constant fear because it was on the heels of my second pregnancy loss, and everything felt incredibly vulnerable. I also had the hematoma, which was not really concerning, but left me feeling anxious all the time because at any moment I could start bleeding.

I was sick with Mo for 14 weeks, and it was the same this time. But whereas with Mo I could come home from work and go directly to bed, this time I had to function until her bedtime before I could really rest. I also had quite a bit of pain in my hips for a long time, making it difficult to sleep or even move around really.

When I finally got some reassurance at the 20 week ultrasound, I thought I might also get some energy and enthusiasm back. But I never got a second trimester surge of energy, I was always exhausted and felt beat down and overwhelmed by life.

Then the gestational diabetes diagnosis. It came at a very stressful time at work and it was all almost more than I could handle. I've finally started to adjust to the diet and the finger pricking, and I thought maybe I could pause a moment and actually enjoy this pregnancy. Instead, I will start insulin soon and have a whole new emotional and physical hurdle to overcome.

I have so many appointments lately that it's really dificult to get done at work what needs to get done. I have a big deadline coming up, and I've had less time to work on it than I need. I try to focus on my wonderful fortune and on the baby growing inside me, but it has felt impossible to clear my head enough to do so.

Of course I realize that many women have far worse luck than me, far greater struggles. I don't mean to minimize any of that.

My point is that I think maybe the universe is making it easy for me to decide to stop at two kids. I may get to the end of this pregnancy and wish to do it again but not because I loved it in the way I did the first, but because I'll want a do over. Really though, I think I'm getting too old for this. At this point, I can't imagine having another pregnancy when I'm in my mid to late 30s, while taking care of two other children, while maintaining a full-time and successful career, and while probably having even more complications than this time.

I don't want to say I'm done because who knows. But maybe this is all meant to tell me that I'm lucky to have my incredible daughter and my son on the way, and that's enough.


Updates near 32 weeks

I'm sure gestational diabetes is the most boring topic ever for most people, but it consumes such a large part of my life, it's hard not to write about it. The diet has been fine except for breakfast. I hate breakfast these days. We tried making low-carb pancakes, and this morning I had half a pancake with a couple drops of no-sugar-added syrup, and an hour later my blood sugar was elevated (only slightly, but still, I had fewer carbs than advised and it was still high). Plus my fasting numbers, those when I first wake up in the morning after no food for 8+ hours, are hovering around the barely acceptable level. I have a feeling I'll be on insulin pretty soon.

Here's the real problem. I still don't have my prescription filled for testing supplies. I've been getting by on the samples the diabetes center squirreled together for me. It has now been 3.5 weeks since my diagnosis and a week and a half since my prescription was written. If you're not up to speed, the short story is that nobody seems to know how things work, as if I'm the only person ever to have gotten gestational diabetes!

I've talked to about 6 people at the mail order supply company I'm required to use (per my insurance company), and then they called me again late Thursday afternoon to verify my prescription, and had to leave a message as I was leading a meeting and didn't see the call. I called back first thing Friday morning, but the only option I got was "All representatives are busy helping other customers. Please leave a message and we'll return your call within one business day." They didn't call Friday, then it was a holiday weekend, so I didn't get a call until today, Tuesday, mid-morning. When I was in my OB appointment. I called back right away and got the same "leave a mesage" recording. I left a message and never got a call back. So now it's almost 6 days after the original call, and I have yet to talk to my 7th person there. I have yet to hear if my prescription has been "validated" and I have no idea when I might get my supplies. I have enough testing strips to get me through Monday, and then I'm out.

I would not be one bit surprised if I still have not received my crap by then!


Today I had my 32 week appointment. Everything looked good. Baby's heart rate was a little lower than usual (138 vs. the usual 150+) but still within normal range. The thing that surprised me is that I'll now be starting twice weekly non-stress tests next week instead of at 36 weeks. I don't think out of any increased concern - just that at my last appointment I saw the nurse practioner, and today I met with an OB who has a different approach I guess. I'm also going to have an ultrasound at 34 weeks instead of waiting until 36.

On the doctor note, it was around this time in my pregnancy with Mo that I switched providers. I changed from the OB office to my general practitioner. It turned out to be a great decision, and early in this pregnancy I wondered if I might do the same thing. Because I started this pregnancy after a miscarriage, I wanted to stay with the OB until I felt like I was more in the clear. But things just kept being complicated for one reason or another, and I don't feel like I have the luxury of switching at this point. I like the OB practice even if it does mean seeing a different doctor every time, and not knowing who might be there for delivery.


I've been so blasted hot lately. I had calculated that I'd be beyond the height of the summer heat when I was 30+ weeks pregnant, but September decided to have a heatwave in Michigan. We had to shut down our pool early and we don't have air conditioning, and it has been nothing short of awful. Any bit of energy I might possibly have left at this stage is sucked dry by the oppressive heat and humidity. There is so much I want to get done, but the simple act of breathing is labored and exhausting. 

I think the heat is supposed to break after today and maybe I'll finally get some baby prep taken care!


This morning at 31 weeks 6 days.


Updates: pregnancy, gestational diabetes, baby, Mo, daycare

Just a few unrelated updates.

I got some good news at my recent appointment with the dietitian. I was expecting her to tell me I could have about 45 carbs at lunch and dinner, but instead she said I should try for 60-75! That's a lot more than I've been eating these last few weeks, so that was a welcome surprise. However, I'm worried this will cause my blood sugar to rise and I'll have to use insulin. It's possible part of the reason my levels have been so good is because I'm eating so few carbs. But the dietitian explained how essential carbs are for my health and the health of the baby, and that it's better to eat the recommended amount even if my body needs help from insulin to process them. We'll see how it goes.

I'm still wrestling to get the testing supplies I need. The latest drama is that yesterday I had to talk to two separate people at the mail order company - one to simply verify my insurance, and another to ask about what meter I'm using and how I was taught to test. The next step is for them to email me a form, which I have to print, complete, sign and MAIL back to them. Then they have to verify that my prescription is valid. Then, I think, maybe, MAYBE!, they will actually mail me supplies. 

Glucose meter

In the meantime, the diabetes center scrounged up a few more days worth of testing strips, and the mail order company is sending me some samples to hold me over. By the time this is all resolved, this baby will probably be here!


Friday I had my 30 week appointment. I almost had a breakdown in the exam room because the stress of the week was just under the surface, but the appointment went well and that cheered me up. Baby's heartbeat is good, and I'm measuring on track (in fact, only 29.75 weeks when I was actually 30.5) so they are not concerned about his size at this point. However, I lost four pounds since my last appointment. I think due to stress and my GD diet. It feels odd to lose weight at this stage of pregnancy.

30.5 weeks


We have started calling this baby by a nickname: Baby Tennis. Every time we ask Mo what we should name him, she says Tennis, so we embraced it and started calling him that, too. 

People always ask what Mo thinks about the whole baby thing. She likes to talk about it, and she acknowledges him, via my belly, occasionally. She thinks my belly button is a portal to Baby Tennis - she "touches" the baby by sticking her finger in there (yum) or gives him a bottle by putting a doll bottle in there. We read her a book about being a big sister, and we talk about what it'll mean for her and us.

Mo big sister book

But I don't believe she truly understands that a baby will be coming home and not leaving. She must sense something is going on though because she has become very clingy to me. She wants me to carry her everywhere, she wants to be on my lap whenever I'm sitting, and daddy can't do anything for her, only mama. I've always been her favorite (I say with complete humility), but that's not her typical behavior, so I think she sense the changes impending even if she can't really grasp what it will mean.

If you have any good ideas for how to involve her prior to the birth, or how to celebrate her at/after the birth, I'd love to hear them. 


Speaking of Mo, she starts full-time daycare next week. This isn't anything completely new, but it's a change. Until she was 5 months old, we pieced together her care with family, then she was at daycare full-time for just over a year. Last summer Mike lost his job and she stayed home with him a couple months, after which my mother-in-law retired and watched her at our house two days a week. 

That has been a nice situation, but it's not sustainable. Plus our daycare wasn't going to have an opening for Baby Tennis until he was about 10 months old. My mother-in-law offered to watch him full-time at her house until we could make other arrangements, which would mean Mo would start full-time daycare when the baby was born. But then out of the blue, our daycare had an opening. They said they could hold it for him until my maternity leave ends in February, but to make up some of the lost income, she suggested Mo start full-time sooner.

I think it's a good idea to start her full-time now rather than make that change when the baby is born. It seems unfair to say "You have a brother now, so Grandma is going to watch him instead of you. Sorry!" So she'll go five days a week starting next week, and Baby Tennis will go full-time starting in approximately early February when I go back to work.

It's not great for our bank account, but I'm at peace about the decision. We like our daycare, and I know it has been a good learning and growth experience for Mo, and it will be for the baby, too. There have been so many changes in our child care situation since Mo was born (even though we've only ever used one daycare facility), and it will be nice to have some stability and consistency for awhile.

Wait, did I just jinx that?



Update on the gestational diabetes: it's harder than I thought

Everyone keeps saying, "At least it's only a short amount of time!" and everything I read says managing gestational diabetes is really not that hard. But so far I've found it frustrating and overwhelming, and while 10 weeks is short in the big picture, right now it feels like a lifetime.

I admit, I've had a hard few weeks outside of the GD, and that has made it difficult to process everything involved with this diagnosis. My job has a busy season, and it has a few weeks in particular that are painfully busy, and one of those weeks is what I call "hell week." Hell week happened to be this past week. It's a tough week no matter the circumstances, but add in that I'm 30 weeks pregnant, and that I'm still figuring out how to live with GD, it was mentally, emotionally and physically draining. I had several break downs. My brain stopped working. Someone would ask me a simple question and I'd just stare at them like they were speaking a foreign language. 

It was bad.

And in the middle of all that, I ended up having three separate pregnancy-related appointments, I had to start testing my blood sugar four times a day, and I had to try to navigate the ridiculousness that is our health care system.

This is long and boring, but I'm going to write it anyway because I think it'll be therapeutic for me. Keep in mind, all of this was happening during hell week, and I was completely devoid of the ability to mentally and emotionally process anything.

Saturday night Mike and I spent several hours planning out food for the week. Meal planning is a whole new ball game with diabetes. There's no "we had a rough day, let's just order pizza." Plus my work schedule was so crazy that I wasn't sure if/when I'd even have time to eat, even though regular food intake is important in managing diabetes. We had to literally write out what I'd eat each day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, while taking into consideration that sometimes I'd be on the road with no fridge or microwave, or that I'd be leading a training all day, etc.

Monday and Tuesday were long and difficult, but I made it. Wednesday I had an appointment with a nurse educator at the diabetes center. She gave me my glucose meter, showed me how to use it, and told me all about the risks and possibilities with GD (many more frightening things than I realized!). So now on top of the stress of work and the stress of eating, I had to find time to test my blood sugar. 

I had heard that finger pricks are not a big deal, but I'm here to tell you, they suck. I've figured out a few tricks, but those first few days, I had anxiety all day long, knowing that every few hours I'd have to poke myself. Every time I ate, I'd get a pit in my stomach knowing in an hour I'd have to test. Here's what I learned though, for those that might need ideas:

  • I warm up my hands before testing. Sit on them, rub them together, run them under warm water. That brings the blood to the surface.
  • If possible, put the lancet on the lowest depth setting. The first time I tried this, I didn't get enough blood, got an error message on the meter, and had to start over, pricking myself again, which is something I never want to do! But later I learned how to draw blood up from the bottom of the finger to get a big enough drop to test. It's a less painful poke, and even though I still hate it, it makes a difference in my anxiety.
  • Use the sides of the pads of the fingers. I think that's pretty standard practice, but in you didn't know, the sides have fewer nerve endings. 
  • I don't use my pinkie or my thumb. My thumb has thicker skin I guess, it's hard to get blood without using a deeper setting. And the one time I used my pinkie, it bled like crazy. Turns out I had accidentally used the deepest lancet setting, but now my pinkie just seems too fragile and innocent to poke.

 Anyway, at my appointment with the nurse, she said I'd have to call my OB office for a prescription for testing supplies. Thursday morning I did that, and the nurse there told me that was wrong, someone at the diabetes center had to write the prescription. This nurse also told me I'd be able to fill the prescription at the hospital pharmacy. When I called the diabetes nurse, she said a) that's not true, my insurance will only allow me to fill the prescription through a certain mail order company, and b) I'd have to come back in to see a physician before I could get a prescription.

Am I the first person in my health care system to have GD? How can there be that much confusion about who writes the prescription, and who I need to see to get one, and how I get it filled?

My options were either, find a way to make an appointment that afternoon, or wait a week. I was going to be out of test strips by Friday afternoon, so I went that afternoon. During hell week, in case you forgot. The physician gave me 10 more test strips (that lasts two and a half days, by the way), and faxed my presciription to the mail order company, instructing me to call the next day to set up an account with them.

Friday morning, I called the mail order company and set up an account. I was told an account representative would call me that afternoon to gather more info and confirm my prescription. I didn't get a call, so on my way to my 30 week OB appointment that afternoon, I called them. I had to leave a message, and of course they called back while I was in my appointment. When I finally got ahold of someone, I was told, "They were mistaken in saying someone would call you today. We can't tell you when you might get a call. It depends on what priority you are."

Excuse me?

I'm going into the weekend with only enough test strips to get me through Sunday, and you can't tell me when I might get a call? Because it's not like the call is the last step. No. Then you have to fill my prescription and mail it to me. Best case, I'll have the supplies I need by mid-week. I asked her if she could give me any sense of timeline. Not a specific day, but does this typically take days? Weeks? Months? I have gestational diabetes, I'm on a time crunch here!

All I got was, "Ma'am, I can't tell you anything. There are a lot of people waiting, and it depends what priority you are." This is the company my insurance provide has decided to work with exclusively.

So I called the diabetes center to ask for guidance. I was told that if I could get there in 10 minutes (they were closing), I could get more sample test strips. I was at least 20 minutes away. My only other option was to have them call a prescription into Walgreens, which I could pay for out of pocket. My research tells me test strips are 50 cents to a dollar each, and because the mail order company couldn't tell me when I might get a call, I had no idea how many I'd need. This could get costly.

In the end, I'll probably just test until I run out of supplies, then wait. Fortunately my blood sugar levels have been good so far, and hopefully they stay that way even if I'm not able to test and know for sure. It has been a pain to eat this way so consistently, especially with so much else going on, but it seems to be working.

I was 30 weeks this past Wednesday. Ten more weeks to go. Approximately. 

(See, I feel a little better even though that was the most boring thing ever written!)



I've got gestational diabetes and I'm so hungry!

The bad news is I have gestational diabetes.

The good news is it's not something much worse.

When I failed my first glucose test, I wasn't surprised. I failed with Mo, too, but passed the longer test. I decided if I failed this time and was diagnosed with GD, it was fine. With my struggles to conceive and my past losses, and with knowing people close to me who have been through hell when it comes to pregnancy complications, diabetes seems like nothing. I'm thankful for that perspective.

However, let's be honest. It kinda sucks. When I first got the diagnosis, five days ago, my concerns were as follows:

  1. Great, now I'm at greater risk for diabetes later in life.
  2. Crap, I have to prick my finger four times a day (blood draws and shots in the arm I can handle, but finger pricks make me queasy).
  3. What the heck am I going to eat?

I wasn't terribly concerned about my health or the baby's during the pregnancy, I figured I can manage it with diet, and if not, insulin. But then I started researching what a diabetic diet looks like, and I realized this might be tougher than I thought.

I don't meet with the dietitian for another week and a half, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot more then, but my initial research has taught me that carbs hide EVERYWHERE! All I can picture now is a life eating nothing but carrot sticks and chicken breasts for the next few months. I know it's not as restrictive as that, and I know I'm allowed some carbs, especially when eaten with proteins. But so far, in my mostly uneducated attempts to eat in this new way, there's one resounding thing I know:



The problem is we don't have enough options in the house yet. I eat an acceptable lunch, and 30 minutes later I'm hungry. Yet I can't find a thing that seems appropriate and will fill me up. I munch a few carrots just to eat something, and 20 minutes later I'm hungry again. My appetite with this pregnancy has been greater than with Mo, and now I find myself looking around our kitchen as if it's a desert. There's nothing to eat.

I got really stressed about this over the weekend. I felt so unknowledgable and so annoyed and mostly SO hungry. Then I realized...

...some women don't even take their first glucose test until close to 29 weeks (I'll be 29 tomorrow)

...if I had been one of those women, I wouldn't even know yet that I had GD

...they obviously were in no hurry to schedule me for a consultation with the dietitian as it's set for over two weeks after the diagnosis (per their request, not mine)

...the nurse who gave me the diagnosis didn't give me any guidelines for eating, knowing I'd get those from the dietitian

So really, it's possible I wouldn't even know about this yet if I hadn't tested when I did, and nobody else seems terribly concerned about making huge changes immediately. So why am I driving myself crazy?

I decided to make as many good choices as possible, but not let myself be miserable with hunger. I'm counting on learning a lot from the dietitian and getting some concrete ideas about what to eat. If there's a problem once I start actually testing my blood sugar, then I'll fret.

For now, I'm having ice cream for dinner! 


But I'm not going to feel guilty about that bowl of cereal I had when I woke up hungry at 2:00 last night.