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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meeting the Pediatrician

So per my OB's request at our last appointment, we started the process of trying to find a pediatrician.  The way we went about this was contacting our insurance company and getting a pre-approved list of pediatricians in our area.  It was really important to me to meet with a pediatrician first before I decide to go with them.  I had a ton of questions I wanted to ask, and I really didn't want to wait until my little girl is here before we do that.  Surprisingly, only one doctor on our list agreed to meet with me for a prenatal appointment.  I find this a little disturbing--that doctors won't agree to talk to new parents about their practice.  Apparently, it's not good enough to see me because I won't have to pay a copay.  Oh well, I just hoped that this one doctor would ease my fears and answer my questions.  

You'd think I would learn not to schedule an appointment for 8:15 AM, in rush hour, across town.  I was trying to follow the directions on my iPod while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, trying not to stress out (too late).  But somehow, I managed to pull into a parking spot with 5 minutes to spare before my appointment time (after leaving the house 40 minutes earlier).  The place was extremely open and colorful!  It's been a long time since I've been to a pediatrician's office, but I couldn't stop staring at all the bright colors and crayons on the wall with the doctors' names on them.  They called my name (actually they called my unborn daughter's name, which was so weird and exciting to hear!), and they sent me back to a  waiting room. 

Of course, in my rush to get to the place on time, I forgot my list of questions in my car.  So I was praying that I could remember them all, or at least enough to make me feel confident in this doctor.  She comes in, extremely bright and cheerful.  I introduce myself and she tells me to go ahead with any questions I had, then she would tell me a little more about the practice.  I started firing off the questions as fast as I could because I wanted to get them out while I remembered them.  I hope the doctor didn't think she was on some rapid-fire quiz or something.  

I'm type 1 diabetic.  What, if anything, do we need to do for her?  Obviously, watching her blood sugars post-birth will be an issue, but the NICU pediatricians will do that if needed.  Other than that, we'll just keep an eye on her if any symptoms pop up (which I know by heart), but no blood screening for potential markers or anything like that.  She also said that her getting milk (either by boob or formula) for the first 6 months was very important, more so than when she starts any solid foods.  Having that good nutritional foundation is key.  I'm also glad she said either breastfeeding or formula would work, because I don't want any added pressure to be a good breastfeeder when it might not be physically possible.  Plus, I was breastfed and my brother wasn't, yet I'm the one with type 1 diabetes--it really is just a crapshoot.  I briefly mentioned tinkering with a gluten-free diet to add in that extra variable of protection, and she said she's fine with that but didn't say one way for or against. 

I got the feeling that my daughter would be treated the same as if any other child whose parents weren't diabetic.  I'm not sure how I feel about that right now.  On one hand, if we did do the blood screening early on and saw she was destined to have type 1, then there's not much we can do other than wait for the inevitable.  But I also don't want to spend her whole childhood watching her and following her around with my meter.  If she gets it, she gets it.  There's not much I can do.  I'm fine with this decision, for now.  

How do you handle frantic phone calls in the middle of the night or outside of office hours?  This was really important to me, because being a first-time mom is all about figuring this out and going "HELP!" at the same time.  Basically, there will always be someone at the other end of the phone, either a nurse or the doctor on call.  They like to at least talk with parents over the phone first before going to the ER, because exposing kids to everything in the ER is worse than just waiting for an appointment the next day.  I couldn't agree with this more!   But if going to the ER is necessary, they coordinate it for you so that someone is waiting on you when you get there.  

We are going to a couple weddings within a month after she's here.  I posed this more as a statement than as a question.  I didn't want her to think that I was considering NOT going to these (one is for a fellow DOCer, anyway!), but I wanted tips on what to do with taking such a new baby out to the "real world".  She applauded me for planning to go and said to just ask anyone who wants to hold her/touch her to wash their hands first.  So I'm going to be "that mom" at those weddings--armed with a gallon of hand sanitizer and bags under my eyes from very little sleep.  Party on!  

Overall, I felt really good about this doctor.  I still have the feeling that I'll be the one calling the shots on her medical care, which I prefer.  I can't stand pushy doctors.  I want to feel like we're all a part of a team, much like my plethora of diabetes doctors.  I want to feel like we can discuss things together, combining the powers of mother's intuition and many years of medical practice (getting a visual a la Captain Planet).  

As I was leaving the office, I was handed a goodie bag of diaper cream and formula samples.  Now I'm ready!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I'm jealous of those who can finish their workouts

I've always had a little insecurity about going to the gym.  Most of the time, I'm content to do 30 minutes on the elliptical or follow along with a class.  I've never known my way around the gym completely.  Between all the different machines and my perfectly-built gym goers, I'd much rather stick to doing something by myself at home either on the Wii or the Total Gym.  I don't have to worry about how I look or forgetting my shoes, hairband, or glucose tablets.  

But I do have a free gym membership through work, so I might as well take advantage of it.  It at least gives me a different scenery for some cardio stuff.  And the other day, I happen to meet someone from my office there at the same time.  She's a great lady and someone I look up to as far as a professional, but she's also one of those people that make me dread going to the gym.  You know who I'm talking about:  perfect body, perfect hair, and somehow after having 3 kids.  We showed up at the same time and left at the same time, but our workouts were vastly different.  

I decided I wanted to do a cardio circuit:  10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the bike, and 10 minutes on the elliptical.  Even though I had set a reduced temporary basal before I left from work, Constance said I was 73 mg/dL before I started my workout.  I decided to ignore it because, darnit, I wanted to get in my workout.  By the time I was done with the treadmill, I was below 55 mg/dL.  Nevertheless, I kept going and said I was at least going to get in 2/3 of my workout.  I started the bike, which was very uncomfortable due to my growing belly--my knees kept hitting the bottom of my belly with each turn.  After 5 minutes, I felt my legs getting heavy and my mind getting foggy.  I knew I wasn't going to get to the elliptical.  Finally, the 10 minutes were over and I sludged my way to the locker room and tested:  29 mg/dL.  

I felt frustrated, defeated, and mad at myself that I didn't stop sooner or took some glucose tabs before my workout.  I started chomping on my glucose tabs.  I don't even remember how many I ate, 10 or 15 at least.  I sat in my car and listened to my audiobook while I waited to come up, which was also a stupid move because I could have passed out in the car and no one would have noticed.  I concentrated on listening to the rest of the book, and 10 minutes later I was coming out of the fog.  I waited a few more minutes before I started the car, I at least had enough sense to tell myself, "Don't you dare try to drive right now!"  A few more minutes passed, and I was finally high enough to drive.  

As I was pulling out of my spot, I noticed my colleague coming out of the gym after her workout.  Now I had a new reason to be jealous of her--she got to finish her workout. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Safe.

Now that I'm halfway done with my pregnancy, the idea of someone calling me "Mom" one day has me a little weak in the knees.  I'm feeling extremely maternal lately, from choosing our daughter's future pediatrician and signing up for baby classes (why are there so many classes?!).  But one thing is for sure:  I love her already.  And there's one thing I want her to feel above anything else:  

Safe.  

Safe with me, her dad, her whole family.  But most of all, I want her to know that she is safe in God's arms.  This world is a scary place.  It even starts out being scary before she even gets here because she has a diabetic momma, though I doubt she's even aware of that fact right now.  But I am.  And whenever I feel scared and vulnerable due to a high blood sugar or a scary low and what effect it might have on her, I remember one thing:  I am in charge of very little when it comes to her growth.  Yes, she's inside me and healthy mommy =  healthy baby and all that, but I've been floored with how little this pregnancy has to do with me.  

The God that created this universe is in charge of my very small girl.  He's the one that gave her her little heartbeat at that first ultrasound appointment.  He's the one who's made sure that she is thriving despite my setbacks.  And I know that despite my best control, He could take her away from me tomorrow.  Scary, and humbling.  She is a gift everyday I have her, and I want to engrave it on her heart that God loves her (more than me).  She will always ALWAYS be safe under His umbrella.  

That's how I describe my Christian faith when people ask.  If I lost everything today--my job, my house, my husband--I would still have enough because I have Him.  It's that indescribable peace that makes it OK to cry into a pillow all night long and wake up feeling comforted.  I've been in situations where I've felt that way.  In a not-so distant past (pre-D), I felt that exact feeling after some not-so great decisions on my part.  I prayed to simply be back in His loving arms, happy to be the single, crazy cat lady for the rest of my life.  But He chose to bless me with an amazing man that I don't deserve and a wonderful life that's 180 degrees from where I was. 

And that brings me back to the title of this post.  When I got pregnant, my song of choice to soothe me during those high blood sugar/stressed out fits was "Safe" by Phil Wickham.  The whole song is amazing, but the chorus is what really gets me and is my personal lullaby to her during those times.  

You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms

To my little girl, my prayer for you everyday is that you find a safe place in Him.  Your dad and I are going to do our hardest to make sure you see Him through us, until you're old enough to find Him for yourself.  And Dear God, please help me not to screw it up! 

God is my refuge and strength, my very present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

20 Weeks

20 Weeks by Arnold_and_Me
20 Weeks, a photo by Arnold_and_Me on Flickr.
Things are really starting to pop around here!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

19 Weeks: Double Doctor Duty

Well, it finally happened.  The stars and calendars aligned and I had an OB appointment as well as an endo appointment on the same day.  The festivities began around 10 AM with my OB appointment, followed by my endo appointment at 1 PM, with a light burrito lunch in the middle.  

OB appointment:  

This appointment was fairly boring, if there can be such a thing in this world.  I knew that the nurse would want my pee, so I drank a large decaf coffee before the appointment.  After waiting for 45 minutes, my bladder was nice and ready to give its supply.  Next, she took my weight, which has finally taken an upward trend.  So far I've gained 10 lbs total this pregnancy, which is right on track for what my doctor wants.  It seems my idea of adding a cereal snack at the end of each day worked to beef me up.  I just hope it doesn't start a landslide in the weight gain department.  Then she took my blood pressure, which was 146/74.  It's getting quite comical at this point because my blood pressure was absolutely fine yesterday at the gym and it was 110/70 at the endo's office; it seems I just get anxious at my OB's office--in a good and bad way.  

After all the vitals, I was escorted into a room where Trey was waiting on me.  Another nurse came in to check for little Ferbie's heartbeat.  What happened next is a story so funny that it's definitely one for the baby book.  She placed the wand over my exposed belly and was able to find the heartbeat right away.  "Good," I thought.  But then it disappeared.  So the nurse moved the wand to the other side of my belly where she was able to find it again, but it was there for less than a second before it disappeared again.  "She's trying to run away from me," the nurse said.  Ferbie was not liking having an intruder on her roof, and she began moving up towards my belly button causing me to giggle.  The nurse continued this routine for a few more tries:  find the heartbeat, it disappears, I laugh because I can feel her moving around, repeat.  Finally, she said, "Oh forget it!  She's obviously fine in there.  I just can't get her to stay still!"  I don't know why, but I was feeling quite proud of my daughter at that point and wanted to give her a high five. 

Next, the doctor came in and greeted both of us.  We went over the standard questions:  "Any bleeding?  Loss of fluid?"  No and no, thankfully.  Then he let me ask questions.  If I haven't said it already, my OB is great!  He'll let me ask all the questions I want to for as long as I want.  So I've started keeping a list of questions on my iPod that I reference before my appointments.  I asked him about some muscle cramps I've been having, especially at night that wake me up.  He recommended a magnesium supplement to hopefully relieve the cramps, although I'm enjoying the husband-hired back rubs everyday.  We also talked briefly about pediatricians, which we need to nail down soon before I . . . you know . . . go into labor (!) because they'll need to be there to check her blood sugar after she's born.  Then he measured my fundal height--22 cm.  My doctor was happy with that.  He said he wanted to see me again in 4 weeks for another appointment and ultrasound.  

I made a joke with him "So I don't have to do the glucose test."  "No, definitely not," he said, still clicking away on his tablet.  I smiled and said, "Yeah, I mean what are you going to do?  Put me on insulin?"  This comment caused my doctor to let out a laugh.  I like making fun of diabetes.  

Endo: 

This appointment was even less exciting than my OB appointment, except for this one guy in the lobby who kept staring at my belly.  I just wanted to say "Stare much?  It's not an alien."  But I kept my cool.  

I was called back, and the nurse took my weight (1 lb more than my OB, I'm guessing that was the burrito I had for lunch) and my blood pressure:  110/70.  I just started laughing because the differences between the two offices are quite comical.  I decided I quit on trying to figure it out.  Then the nurse pricked my left middle finger, but she couldn't get enough blood for a strip.  Dang calloused fingertips!  She had to prick another one to get enough.  I was nervous what this A1c was going to be because I had a horrible week during Christmas (just blood sugar wise, the rest of my Christmas was great).  After 5 minutes, my A1c came up:  5.1%  My jaw dropped open because I literally couldn't believe it.  The only rationale I have for it is that when you're used to keeping such tight control that any trend of bad numbers seem significant.  Obviously, my numbers in between these bad episodes were still pretty stable.  

My doctor came in and we looked over my numbers.  "22, huh?" he said, barely any emotion.  "Yeah, that one was pretty bad."  I'm glad he didn't freak out about it, I was done reliving that nightmare.  He changed a few things on my pump to help me keep some lows at bay and hopefully keep me at a more stable trend overall.  We'll see how things go.  I made another appointment for a month from now, but this time it is a week after my OB appointment.  

Overall, I learned that I'm actually doing quite well at this whole pregnancy and diabetes thing.  I need to stop beating myself up when things don't go 100% perfect.  These things fall in line with my only 2 New Year's resolutions:  1) enjoy the rest of this pregnancy to the fullest extent and 2) stop freaking Googling anything health related!!  I'm really serious about that last one, and I've made it 5 days so far!

The One where Firemen Rescue my Diabetes Supplies

Here's a fun diabetes tip to remember:  When evacuating your work building due to a fire alarm, make sure you grab your diabetes bag (a.k.a. my purse) before exiting the building.  Otherwise, it will end in an awkward situation of asking a fireman to rescue your bag because you're having a low episode in the middle of the parking lot.  

A couple days ago, around 10:30 AM, the fire alarm starts blaring in my building at work.  I was in another part of the building at the time, away from my office.  I should have gone straight outside in case it was a real fire instead of walking back up to my office to grab my coat, but I was not standing outside in 30F weather without it.  Normally fire alarms in our office only last for 5-10 minutes tops.  But after 15 minutes in the shivering cold, we realized that this was no drill--something was really smoking or on fire.  Then the rumors circulated that someone saw smoke in the A-wing of the building and that we would be outside for awhile.  

By this time, it's getting close to lunch (yeah, NASA people have lunch at 11 AM) so people began getting in their cars and leaving.  A couple of my officemates proposed the same idea, but as soon as we got in the car to leave I got a BZZZ-BZZZ-BZZZ from my pocket.  "59 mg/dL" heading southeast.  "Crap!  I can't leave.  I'm low and my stuff is still in my office."  At this point, they weren't letting anyone back in the office yet, so I had to put on my pitiful diabetic face and ask the firemen to rescue my diabetes supplies.  

I walked up to the first firetruck where a fireman was leaning on the bumper.  

Me:  "Hi, I left my diabetic supplies in my office.  Is it possible for someone to go get them for me or escort me in there?  I'm in C-wing, so I'm away from the danger zone."  

Fireman:  "Well, they're going to start letting people go inside in 5 minutes.  Can you wait?" 

Me (feeling sweaty at this point):  "Ummm, I'm having a low blood sugar right now . . . "  

Fireman:  "Just a second." 

The very nice fireman got into the truck and radioed his captain (I'm assuming) and agreed that 2 firemen could escort me to my office.  So it must have been a sight:  a pregnant woman being escorted by 2 firemen into a building wailing with fire alarms.  I retrieved my purse and starting chomping away on my glucose tabs, and one of the fireman asked, "Are you OK?"  "Yeah, just having a low blood sugar.  I'll be fine in a few minutes."  

The alarm went off.  My officemates and I went to lunch.  My blood sugar came up.  Crisis averted. 

I kind of wish every time I had a low that I could be surrounded by such nice firemen. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just Talking with my Husband

Last year, I had the privilege of being a guest on Chris' podcast.  We talked about all things diabetes, house remodeling, and football, because those things go together. 

This year, he and Dayle came over for dinner and a delicious dessert, and we recorded a podcast where the featured guest was none other than my hubby.  This is truly a treat because Trey is sort of anti-internet exposure (yet, he's married to a blogger. oh the irony!).  He was a good sport and stayed for the whole hour, even though he promised only 15 minutes.  We talked about his fascination with lasers, fire-building, and hatchets--good guy topics.  We also talked about getting used to diabetes as a married couple and my pregnancy thus far. 

Enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Answer is in the Cake

Last Thursday was my 18 week anatomy scan and ultrasound.  After a rough night dealing with dangerous low blood sugars, I was ready to know that my baby was OK and still doing well in there.  After a few minutes of holding Trey's hand in the waiting room, the tech called my name and we went back to the ultrasound room.  

The first thing she asked me as I was taking a seat on the table was, "Have you felt any movement yet?"  I was happy to reply, "Yes, a ton!"  It's true, this kid has a standing gymnastics appointment everyday around 9:30 AM.  I am the balance beam, I guess. 

I leaned back on the table, and she put the jelly wand on my belly.  The first thing she checked was the baby's heartbeat, which was whump-whumping away at 141 beats per minute.  That check alone made my fears ease a little bit.  So I took a deep breath and tried to enjoy the rest of the appointment.  

Then she went underneath the baby to look underneath its legs.  She said, "Well, it looks like it's a girl."  I wanted to be absolutely sure about that part, so I'm glad she went to zoom in.  "Oh yeah, definitely a girl."  I couldn't do anything but laugh.  Trey touched his hand on my knee and smiled at me.  The rest of the time, she used the pronoun "she" to describe all of her other parts.  

The tech went through and checked all of her major organs and bone structure to make sure everything looked good.  Heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal, stomach, spine, everything checked out.  Then she checked her feet, hands, and face and took snapshots for us to print out.  I had a slight diabetic moment when she checked her stomach, which was measuring a few days ahead at 19 weeks and 1 day, compared to her head that was measuring right on time at 18 weeks and 3 days.  I asked the tech if those were good numbers because I was worried about my little girl being bigger due to my diabetes, and she said they were fine and they don't worry unless things starts measuring a week ahead or more.  

It's hard not to be worried about every little thing as a pregnant diabetic, especially when I'm one who has done her homework and researched the death out of diabetic pregnancies beforehand.  I want to change my mindset to where I only will worry about stuff that my doctor brings up, not what I find on the internet.  It's fine if anyone wants to research about their health, but it can lead to a sort of hypochondria where we start to look for things that should be left for the doctor.  I go see my OB again on Thursday, so I'm going to try and keep my trap shut about my worries unless he brings them up first.  

We spent the weekend hosting Trey's family for the New Year's holiday, and we decided to let them know the gender of the baby via cake (like you do).  Everyone was happy to know that we're having a little girl, and many tears were shed when we revealed that she would be named after Trey's grandmother.  Our daughter has quite the loving family waiting on her. 

Pink cake by Arnold_and_Me
Sweet like me, pink like her. 
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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.