My oh my, where has all the time gone during this pregnancy? Chasing around a very active toddler certainly makes the time fly by extra fast. Somehow, I’m already 34 weeks along and although there are so many similarities between my first pregnancy with Dessa and this experience, there are some aspects of my current journey that feel particularly unique.
Last time around, I suffered from two conditions that I prayed I wouldn’t have to deal with again. The first was intense hip pain that occurred almost every night throughout the pregnancy. The second was extremely swollen feet. I often joked that they were hobbit feet and they became unrecognizable to me toward the end of the pregnancy.
Now that I’m well into my third trimester, I’m happy to report that I don’t have any hip pain (during the day or night) and that the swelling in my feet has (so far) been relatively minimal. Sometimes my toes look like little sausages and my ankle looks like it has small rolls of fat around it, but the swelling has come and gone; even through the heat of the summer. Our family just returned from a weekend getaway in Charlevoix, Michigan (which I plan to share on the blog very soon) and of course, my right ankle and toes started swelling up late Saturday afternoon and most of the day on Sunday. I’m hoping that a little ice and extra elevation will get the swelling back under control so that I can avoid this oh-so-attractive look from my first pregnancy.
The way my right foot looked by the end of the day on Sunday has me very, very nervous that I’m heading back down that path and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Gestational Diabetes … Again
The biggest piece of news I have to share with you is that I have gestational diabetes once again. The diagnosis itself wasn’t a very big deal to me. I was devastated by the news during my first pregnancy, but this time around I felt so much more confident and comfortable with the dietary protocols and wasn’t at all worried about poking my finger 4 times a day. (Even though it’s such a small thing, I was so nervous about the pain of those daily pokes last time around.) When my sugar tested high after the one-hour glucose test, I survived my three-hour glucose follow-up without the incredible nausea that I experienced last time around. The follow-up test wasn’t fun especially since I had to be there at 6 am, endure 4 blood draws, and survive 17 hours with an empty stomach before I could finally eat lunch – but I made it through.
All of that was survivable. What I didn’t count on was the fact that I would have so much more difficulty controlling my blood sugar levels this time around. For a few frustrating weeks, I counted every carb and ate as carefully as I could – only to see my blood sugar elevated after most meals and always after fasting at night. I kept cutting back on my already-limited carbs and cried every time I saw high blood sugar numbers.
Two weeks ago was particularly rough. I was exhausted all the time and even though I know that a great way to lower my blood sugar is to take a walk and burn off the extra carbs, I didn’t have one spare ounce of energy to exert myself for a walk. Nausea came and went and I just wanted to lay down and sleep. On top of all of that, my hormones felt like they were out of control and I started crying about everything. I cried every time I had a high blood sugar reading, I cried because I was slightly out of breath from climbing the stairs, and I just sometimes found my eyes watering for no apparent reason. As if all of those problems weren’t enough, there was one night that I was on my own with Dessa and she had a particularly sleepless night. I was an overtired, under-caffeinated mess. I’m telling you, that week was awful and Rob and I were both wondering how on earth our family was going to endure another nine weeks of this pregnancy.
During all of this, I had been using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my diet. As the days wore on, I became more and more aware that my daily calories were dropping (presumably from all those carbs I kept cutting back on). I did a quick Google search to see if low-calorie intake contributes to a loss of energy and (duh!) of course it does. I was just so focused on my blood sugar, I didn’t stop to think about what could be causing all my other problems. Since increasing sugar and carbs wasn’t an option, and vegetables aren’t very calorie-heavy, I started eating more fats and proteins at every meal. It only took one day for my energy to return and I was thankful to also get significant relief from the hormones and the waterfall of tears that I couldn’t seem to escape during the week before.
Of course, just as I started to get my bearings; another curve ball came my way. I had an OB appointment last week and my doctor informed me that he wanted me to go on insulin to finally get my blood sugar under control. Even though I was disappointed, I wasn’t surprised at all by the news – and was mentally prepared for that bomb to drop. I didn’t bat an eye when he made the recommendation and I met with a nurse right away to walk me through the process of injecting myself with insulin each night. Dessa was with me during the appointment and was incredibly well-behaved despite the fact that we were at the doctor’s office for nearly an hour and a half and I kept a brave face through all of it for her sake just as much as my own.
I was really, really nervous to give myself injections and felt so proud of myself for staying in control of my emotions – until I received a text from the pharmacy a few minutes after leaving the office that my prescription would not be covered by insurance. Rob called the pharmacy to get to the bottom of the issue and discovered that the insulin itself was mostly covered (I would just have to pay a copay), but the syringes themselves were not covered and luckily they weren’t very expensive. Even though the situation was quickly resolved, the floodgates were opened the moment I received the text and I remained on the verge of tears about anything and everything diabetes and insulin-related for several hours.
That evening, I enjoyed a pedicure and late dinner with a friend, which led to a very late pre-bedtime injection. I spent time carefully reviewing all of the prescription information and instructions I received before nervously giving myself an insulin injection in the abdomen. Much like my first finger-poke, the injection was far less painful and scary to experience than what I had imagined it to be.
I’ve now given myself six nighttime insulin injections and it gets a little bit less worrisome each time. I’m still not entirely accustomed to the procedure and I hold my breath each time I press that tiny little needle into my great big belly, but it really isn’t that bad and it’s a procedure I know I can handle for the next 6 weeks. It has also been nice to see a slight drop in my blood sugar levels these past few days. The numbers are still a bit erratic and my fasting numbers still aren’t as low as they should be, but my insulin dose is quite low and I expect that it will be increased at my next OB appointment. I’m certain that the inconsistency of meals on our recent weekend getaway has been working against me and I’m anxious to see if the numbers start to correct themselves now that we are back home and on our normal schedule. Thankfully, the difficult part of adjusting to the shot is already behind me and at that point, it will just be a little more insulin injected through the syringe. In the meantime, it has been a relief to have a break from the stress and frustration of constantly seeing high blood sugar levels despite diligently watching my diet and going for a daily walk with Dessa.
If there has been a silver lining through all of this, it’s the fact that my daily finger pokes and nightly injections have served as a positive example for Dessa. She loves watching momma get a “boo-boo” several times a day and is always a captive audience for the finger poke. I involve her in the process and let Dessa choose which finger gets the boo-boo each time she’s with me for a poke. Dessa loves choosing which digit gets the poke. As often as possible, I try to make a point of explaining that the poke gives me a boo-boo, but it only hurts for a minute and I don’t get upset about it with the hopes that maybe, maybe she will remember my bravery the next time she is facing a poke of her own at the pediatrician’s office.
Everything Else About the Bump
Now that you’re all caught up on the more challenging aspects of the pregnancy, here’s a quick rundown of everything else baby-related happening with me, baby, and the rest of our family.
How far along am I?
As of yesterday, I am 34 weeks pregnant. Time is really starting to fly and I need it to slow down because I’m not quite ready for this baby to arrive.
How much weight have I gained?
As of my last checkup, I’m up about 13 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.
How am I feeling?
I get asked this question a LOT and lately, I feel as though it’s such a loaded and complicated question to try and answer. Now that my diet is back under control, I don’t feel nauseated and I get enough sleep to be functional. But I don’t exactly feel great. The bump feels heavy and uncomfortable and makes it difficult to accommodate Dessa’s requests for me to sit on the floor to play, help her with shoes, and brush her teeth.
I’m also pretty sure that I pulled a muscle while tightening the strap in her car seat a few weeks back and there’s always a nagging tightness and pain about six inches above and slightly to the right of my belly button. I mentioned it to my doctor and he wasn’t really concerned because it’s muscular, not a sign of contractions and not in an area that indicates organ trouble; but it’s far from comfortable.
And then there’s the heartburn. I experience heartburn at some point every single day and although I try to limit the number of over-the-counter medicines I take, Zantac 150 is the only thing that brings me any relief. I try not to unnecessarily medicate myself, so I often wait until the heartburn flares up before I take anything – which means that I often suffer from some pretty serious discomfort before the meds kick in.
My hormones are also flaring pretty high these days. The challenges of losing a perpetual battle with my blood sugar certainly pushed my hormones into high gear, but there have been other moments as well where I cry about the smallest things. I had to laugh when I looked back at my 32-week bump update from my pregnancy with Dessa and saw that I started getting very emotional right at the same point in that pregnancy as well.
How am I sleeping?
Thankfully, I have been sleeping pretty well. I always toss and turn a few times throughout the night, but on a good, heartburn-free night, I often wake in the morning feeling rested. Dessa continues to have her own trouble sleeping through the night and thankfully Rob is the one who goes in to comfort her when she wakes up. He’s often in her nursery for less than 5 minutes and there have been a handful of times when I’m sleeping so deeply, I don’t even hear her cry (it helps that we keep the video monitor on his nightstand right now.)
Of course, all bets are off if I have to deal with an unexpected heartburn flare-up. There have been more nights than I can count where I spend an hour or more propped up on my pillows in bed just waiting for the Zantac so I can drift comfortably back to sleep.
Do I think I’m having a boy or a girl?
As you probably already know, Rob and I opted not to find out the gender of our baby. Aside from the lack of hip pain or crazy foot swelling this time around, my two pregnancies have been very similar. Despite that, I have a very strong suspicion that baby #2 will be a boy. Rob keeps going back and forth but right now he’s leaning boy as well.
Do we have any names picked out?
Almost! We’ve successfully whittled down our list to two potential girl names and two potential boy names. Rob and I are pretty squarely settled on one particular boy name, but we are struggling to decide on a girl name that would be the most fitting for our little one. Thankfully, we still have several weeks to make a decision (and of course, all of the stress of girl name selection will be in vain if we have a boy as I suspect.)
Any food aversions?
Am I craving anything?
I want to eat all the sweets. I already had a pretty strong sweet tooth several weeks ago and made a point of incorporating some type of sweet treat into my daily diet. Now that I have gestational diabetes and am counting my carbs, the cravings are stronger than ever. Ice cream, brownies, chocolate cake from a box … it all sounds so good to me. I would honestly be happy with a big bowl of fresh-cut fruit, but even indulging in a small bowl of fruit means I have to sacrifice a starchy food at my next meal. I can understand having to cut back on ice cream and sugary baked goods, but it feels downright unfair to limit food that is otherwise good for you.
Any stretch marks?
Not yet. I somehow managed to avoid stretch marks completely when I was pregnant with Dessa and I’m anxious to see if I will fare so well again this time around.
Where will the baby sleep?
Ah. This feels like the million-dollar question – especially given the size and layout of our house. Second child cliches are already being set into motion – starting with the baby’s sleeping arrangements. Dessa and the baby will ultimately share a bedroom for several years and we had big plans to start preparing Dessa for her new roommate over the summer. The shared bedroom will (hopefully) work well once both of our children are consistently sleeping through the night, but things will be pretty interesting until we get to that point. I was really really hoping that the baby could at least nap in the crib during the day to get accustomed to the nursery, but Dessa’s recent return to the crib after an unsuccessful transition to her toddler bed means that the crib won’t be very accessible for our newest addition to the family. We also don’t plan to let the baby sleep in our bedroom at night. There isn’t any room to spare for a bassinet even if we wanted the baby to sleep in our room – but we value our sleep too and learned quickly with Dessa that it’s nearly impossible to rest when there’s a newborn sleeping nearby making all of their crazy-sounding (but totally normal) breathing noises during the night.
So where exactly will the baby sleep? Our little one will most likely be bounced around from right outside our bedroom door, to the dining room, and even sometimes in the living room. Like I said, all of the second-child cliches are already becoming a reality and this baby hasn’t even been born yet.
Have I started nesting yet?
Yes! The urge to nest is one distinct difference between my pregnancy with Dessa and the anticipation of this baby on the way. I’ve had very strong desires to get Dessa’s bedroom equipped for two children. We added extra storage to Dessa’s closet and the dresser is stocked and organized with freshly laundered clothes that are ready for both children to wear. I’ve been trying to involve Dessa in as many aspects of the baby-preparation process as possible. She’s very excited for the baby to arrive and has been a great little helper (when she isn’t undoing my hard work to get a better look at those baby clothes).
I’ve also gotten bitten by the basement organization and improvement bug. We have an unfinished basement and right now we don’t have the budget to give the space much of an overhaul. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. There are a number of small cosmetic changes that Rob and I are trying to put in place before baby arrives. They are all simple changes, like a fresh coat of paint in the laundry room, giving the window wells a good dusting, washing the grime off our cement floors, improving our storage organization, and donating all of our unwanted materials. None of it is exactly pressing, but I have been unhappy with the state of our basement ever since we moved in and the nesting instinct has given me the burst of motivation I needed to finally do something about the situation.
What else do I want to accomplish before the baby arrives?
There are still several items left on our baby preparedness to-do list and I’m hoping I have enough time to conquer all of them. With Dessa still sleeping in her crib, baby needs a different place to sleep. We plan to rent a SNOO to get us through that tricky fourth trimester. I would also love to add a few more decorations to the nursery to personalize it for Dessa and the baby. Our infant carrier also needs a good cleaning to get rid of the grime from Dessa’s time in the seat and the base units need to be installed in both our vehicles. I also want to start preparing a hospital bag in the coming weeks so we will be prepared for whenever baby decides to join our family.
Thank you once again to Erika Christine Photography for spending a little time with Dessa and me at home and capturing a few photos of our pre-baby time together.