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Category archive for: Thoughtful Reflection

Week 37

It has been a while. These past few weeks have been busy, and my brain has slowed down significantly.

The thing that has taken up the most time is the gestational diabetes. Since I’ve been trying to control it through diet, it requires I eat every two hours. That might seem easy, but that means every two hours I have to find something healthy to eat. Even as I type this, I realize how silly this sounds. But to put things in perspective, I didn’t used to eat that often. I ate when I was hungry, upset, or it was dinner time!

I’ve also started making smoothies. Smoothies are a game changer. Here are things I put in smoothies:
broccoli, kale, banana, blueberries, almond milk or pea milk, apples, and ice. Sometimes I throw in some pistachio. And I also try to immediately wash the smoothie container, so it doesn’t get sticky.
I drink two cups and store a third cup for snacking later. They make me feel like I’m eating responsibly. That’s my smoothie story.

For the most part, I’ve been able to control the diabetes with diet and exercise. My morning fasting numbers aren’t great, because you have to eat a protein snack at night. I don’t think I’ve figured out the right thing to eat. Peanut butter is normally good.

Here are some other things that happened these past few weeks:

-We removed our fireplace, so we can move part of the office into the living room. By “we removed our fireplace” I mean we paid a contractor to do it, and then the county sent an inspector to make sure the gas was properly closed.

-My mom came over uninvited and cleaned our place. David was out of town, and she demanded I work at my desk while she cleaned our bathrooms, kitchen, bedroom and living room. It took two full days. I was embarrassed and grateful. The place felt so much better.

-On Tuesday, two days after my mother had done her cleaning, a contractor came over to patch the drywall where the fireplace was and fix up the floors. His vacuum exploded, emitting all the drywall dust and other materials in the vacuum all over our place, setting off our smoke alarm and leaving a solid layer of debris over our entire apartment. We rented a hotel for the night because of the questionable air quality, and David had cleaners come in Wednesday. I did not tell my mom this happened.

-We took several classes. In sum, we’ve taken a class for:
Infant CPR
Breastfeeding
Early childcare basics
Birthing
Hospital tour

Initially, our ob-gyn said the only class we needed to take was Infant CPR, because everything else we would eventually figure out. I hope she’s right, because I don’t remember a lot of the content in the classes, even though I took copious notes and asked questions in all of them. The birthing class was a two day class, and I think I came away from it more concerned than I was going in, which to be fair, was quite concerned. Did you know for a c-section they cut, pull your skin open, and then reach inside, move your organs, and pull out the baby? In the birthing class, they spent three hours describing a natural birth. It looks like the process involves writhing in pain for 12 hours and demanding massages and damp towels until you give in and request drugs or an epidural, but it’s too late by then because you’re too dilated, so you have to push the baby out naturally. Those three hours describing the natural birth process were not helpful.

Week 37 is a neat week, because it means the baby is technically at full term. So, any day now is okay for delivery. We are not ready for her yet though. Our place is still a mess, and I haven’t mastered taking care of myself, so taking care of someone else is still quite daunting. I think I’m moving just fine, but several people have commented that, “It looks like she’s having a hard time,” when they see me walking, so that’s rude. Those people are rude. Or those people thought I was an incredible walker before, possibly even a glider. They perceived my movements as graceful and effortless before.
Getting up and sitting down is hard, but I don’t think that’s what they’re referring to.

Our ob-gyn moved to North Carolina last week, so we have been scrambling to meet the other ob-gyns in the practice. I have two I like, and one who I have decided I do not like. If she’s the one who ends up being there on delivery day, I don’t know if I’ll have the restraint to avoid yelling, “NO, NOT YOU. WHEN IS THE SHIFT CHANGE?!”

In other news, we have book club on Thursday, and I haven’t read the book yet. Shhhh.

…..

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Week 31 (Looking back)

We’re on Week 33 now, but this post is about what I did in Week 31.

On Tuesday I had my follow-up with the nutritionist to see how the GD was going. She did not look like how I think a nutritionist should look, and she advised me against eating salads. I told her about how the insurance company could not send me a blood testing kit for 8 days, and the strips that came with their provided OneTest had sold out. I also shared how ridiculous it was that there were so many unique brands for the testing kits and how my insurance company asked that I research devices and select the one I wanted while on the phone with them. I also lamented about the state of the healthcare system, she said, “How do you think I feel? I hear about this all day!”
I wanted to say, “Um, excuse me, this is my time.” Anyway she looked at my chart and sent me on my way.

On Wednesday I had the follow-up with my ob-gyn, who chastised me for using the Ketosis strips. She shared that the office believes in evidence-based medicine, and urine does not provide real evidence, hence why they never collect a urine sample from me. Then she told me I shouldn’t beat myself up for eating cookies once in a while.

So something I did not understand about gestational diabetes that I needed spelled out: I have not harmed the kiddo. I’m the one with the diabetes right now. The harm would be if I kept eating sugars and having high blood sugar and the kiddo got too big. So I can eat treats – I’m only hurting myself. This was something that took me a while to understand.

Anyway then we went to New York. On Friday night my friends ordered dessert that I could not partake in because I wanted to save my treat count for a meal later in the weekend. David whispered, “This must be very hard for you,” as they all raved that this was the best dish of the meal, and I declined to eat it. I almost cried. I love dessert. Of course it was the best part of the meal, I thought. DESSERT IS ALWAYS THE BEST PART OF THE MEAL. I held it together though, and after that decided to indulge a little. I can control the blood sugar with walking, so there’s not much reason to hold back. Also I might hate those friends now.

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Week 30 Part 2

My birthday happened in Week 30, so this week gets two posts.

Exactly one week ago, I got the automated email letting me know I had failed the second gestational diabetes test. We were watching Euphoria, the new HBO show that is compelling but terrifying if you’re a parent of a teenager, I think. Anyway, the next day David got the call from the nutritionist, but he did not pick up. For some reason our doctor’s office has his number – the emergency contact number – listed as the primary number to call. I’ve tried to correct this at least 12 times. Even though I know it’s not David’s fault, I got mad at him for missing the call and forcing me to call essentially an answering machine multiple times a day to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist. I thought every minute I was not speaking to a specialist was threatening our baby’s life. “What a luxury to be a man and able to not pick up the phone!” my eyes said via my glares at him.

Anyway, as you know, I finally became less angry when the nutritionist scheduler called me back and I signed up for a 1pm class on Tuesday. I showed up later to the class than was recommended because a work meeting ran late. I checked in, near tears (this is my general disposition now), and I heard someone say my name. It turned out Katie, an old friend, was one of the instructors! She said I wasn’t late, and in my head I thought, “The lord has blessed me with Katie in this moment of anguish.” But to Katie I just quivered, “I’m so happy to see you here.”

The class was super informative. Here’s what I learned:

1) A carb is bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, peas, corn, fruits, cereal, granola, yogurt, all sorts of things with sugars. You might be thinking, “Duh…” Well I didn’t really know fruits were carbs, and I eat a lot of fruits.

2) Proteins and fats are not carbs, except for beans. Beans are carbs and protein.

3) Gestational diabetes is not the same as diabetes. You need carbs for your baby when you are pregnant, so you cannot cut carbs out of your diet. You have to have a mix of foods.

4) For the diet plan, carbs are assigned points or choices based on approximate grams of carbs. A banana is 2 choices, because it has around 30 grams of carbs. A large apple is 2 choices!

5) You need to test your blood sugar two hours after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You need to snack two hours after meals as well. And you can only take in as many carb choices as allotted on your worksheet. The choices allotted are based on your pre-pregnancy weight.

In the class, the instructor gave an example of breakfast:

Instructor: Okay, so you have a piece of toast, an egg, and a cup of milk. How many carb choices is that?
Me: Two
Instructor: Okay, great, so you are allotted two carb choices for breakfast, but you are still hungry. What do you do?
Me: ….Cry?
Instructor: The correct answer is to add more protein…from the allowed proteins list.

Recommended schedule:
7:30am – Urinate on keytone strip (to make sure not in ketosis); Prick finger, test blood sugar
8:30am – Breakfast: 2 carbs (26-35 grams)
10:30am – Prick finger, test blood sugar
10:35am – Snack: 2 carbs (26-35 grams)
1:00pm – Mid-day meal: 3 carbs (41-50 grams)
3:00pm – Prick finger, test blood sugar
Between 3 and 5:00pm – Afternoon snack: 2 carbs (26-35 grams)
8:00pm – Evening meal: 3 carbs (41-50 grams)
10:00pm – Prick finger, test blood sugar
10:30pm Evening snack: 1 carb (11-20 grams)

For a total of 13 carbs per day or 199 grams of carbs.

After class we were provided a glucose meter and some strips. We were instructed to call our insurance companies to see which kits they cover, and once we know that, ask our doctors to put in orders for those kits. Well I did that, and this process is ridiculous. Here’s how the call went:

Me: (Calling company, annoucing I have gestational diabetes, asking about meter)
Insurance company: Let me connect you to our partner who provides that.
Partner: Hello, yes, your insurance covers the Accu-check Guide Me Meter, Accu-check Aviva Plus, and Accu-check Performa. Which one do you want?
Me: What is the difference?
Partner: (Rattles off a list of features, none of which seem related to blood sugar, all of which could have applied to a smart phone)
Me: Which one do you recommend?
Partner: Ms. I don’t know, you have to decide.
Me: Which one is the cheapest?
David: (overhearing question) NO. THAT IS NOT HOW YOU CHOOSE THIS!
Me: Which is the easiest? You mentioned one has blue tooth – I do not need that. I just need it to tell me the blood sugar.
Partner: You can look up the differences while I wait.
Me: (Trying to speed read about the devices. I pick the one that seems most straightforward.)
Partner: Okay we will send you a free kit so you can try it, it will arrive in 8-10 business days.

I’m not one to waive off free, but WHAT IF I DID NOT HAVE A STARTER KIT AND I NEEDED THIS DEVICE RIGHT AWAY? Insurance is insane. Politicians say people want to research and pick their devices and procedures, but I don’t know who these people are that are interested in undertaking research projects in the midst of an ailment. I don’t want to research procedures and devices. This was a nuisance. I’m still unclear on the differences, and I ended up walking over to CVS after the call and just buying extra lancets and test strips for the starter device the nutrionist gave me, which I’m going to keep using.

Anyway, the same evening as the class, I happened to be meeting my college friend Kim for dinner, who also had GD. She gave me pointers on how to use the needle and dispose of the needle. I hadn’t seen Kim IN YEARS. When I saw her, I thought, “The lord has blessed me with Kim in this moment of anguish.” But to Kim I just quivered, “I’m so happy to see you,” and gave her an uncomfortably long hug to stop from relief-crying.

The day after the class was Wednesday, my birthday. We spent this day eating healthily, testing for blood sugars, and ending it with a movie. David made salmon and rice and he did all the dishes. Thursday was America’s birthday, and we went to two barbecues, where I ate poorly and had a high reading. The readings have been good since then. I’m back to biking and continue to take longer walks. I also lost some weight, which you’re not supposed to do in the third trimester. Hopefully it is okay because I’m controlling the blood sugar. She has been kicking, so I think she’s okay so far.

In other news, the U.S. women’s team won the World Cup today, so that was super nice. My mom was excited too. I also read this piece, which is the best love letter I think I’ve ever read.

Here’s my favorite passage – it’s in the section where she talks about Megan-goggles:

I swear, it was like the most amazing thing happened: It was like the entire country, all at once, for this so improbable but also somehow very very very possible moment….. PUT ON MEGAN GOGGLES.

It was like the entire country, all at once, said — Soccer? YES. Women’s soccer? YES. An openly gay superstar swagging out with two goals and batsh*t celebrations and leading us to a huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES. That same openly gay superstar not just taking some preapproved level of pride in her sexuality, but actually being the world’s biggest most kissable goofball queen and literally crediting her sexuality for those two goals and her batsh*t celebrations and our huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES.

This is the American flag now, someone tweeted — and it’s a photo of my girlfriend, BEAMING ear to ear, smiling her BOOBS off on a football field, mugging for the camera, weirdo dye job and all — just totally and completely over-goddamn-flowing with excellence? YES.

After the game, I went out to lunch with my parents. It was a nice way to end Week 30.

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Week 30

This is the start of Week 30.

I failed the second test too, so I have gestational diabetes. The next step is to set up an appointment with an nutritionist who can walk me through what I’m supposed to eat and not eat. I’m supposed to cut down on carbs, but I don’t really eat a lot of carbs to begin with, so I’m not sure how this is going to work. I’m not looking forward to the pin pricks. I spent most of last year and the beginning of the pregnancy either getting blood draws or daily injections, so the thought of more needles is upsetting, but I’ll do anything to make sure she’s healthy, so more needles it is.

This does put a damper on my food plans. I have brunch buffet reservations on Sunday, and I’ve gone ahead and cancelled birthday meals this week. I’ve also started a food journal tracking what I eat. Since I haven’t had a nutritionist appointment yet, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing. And I’m confused by the sample meal plans I’ve seen online so far, because I don’t see ice cream listed on there. What time of day am I supposed to eat ice cream, and how much of it can I eat? These are questions I’ll have for the nutritionist. Also I’m worried I’m not smart enough to understand how to monitor blood glucose levels.

We started cleaning over the weekend. I threw out a lot, but there’s still more to go. I had 2004 romantic hit _The Notebook_ on in the background, so I was also crying profusely while cleaning. It was very good for my sinuses. That movie is even more amazing the second time when you understand why Duke is reading to her. And if you are full of hormones, it’s even more powerful.

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Week 29

I did not pass that gestational diabetes test. I got a 150, and the number they’re looking for is under 130. 190 means you definitely have it, and I didn’t get 190, so I’m back at the doctor’s office for the next round of gestational diabetes testing. My vision is super blurry after drinking that ridiculous concoction, so I’m guessing my body is not processing sugars the way it’s supposed to.

This is a setback, because I’ve been worried this entire pregnancy (such is my way), and now I have something concrete to worry about.

Anyway, I’m sitting at the doctor’s office, waiting for my third blood draw of the morning. The first draw was a baseline draw, the second was done an hour after drinking a stronger fluid.

When I came in, there was another woman in the room who is also doing the three hour test and waiting for her blood draws. Her partner/husband was in the room, and they said they needed the other chair for a patient, so he got up to leave. They told me I could change the channel if I wanted to. The TV was tuned to CSPAN, so I said that was fine. I was interested in their coverage of last night’s debate. The people who host this show are saints, because the people who call in are nuts. For some reason a bunch of Republicans called to weigh in on their opinions on the best Democrat. Then when asked if they would vote for any one other than Trump, they said No, absolutely not. One person claimed he was a Democrat for the past 50 years, and then he started talking about how gays are ruining the sanctity of marriage, so he’s registering as a Republican. One guy called in and complained that he was always being blocked, because he’s a Republican. I don’t understand who these people that call in are. Are they real people?

Anyway, the pregnant woman I’m sharing the room with asked to change the channel at some point. I handed her the remote, and she chose the Home Shopping Network. She was about to leave the room to get her blood drawn and I think I gave her a look and she went and sat back down and picked a different channel.

She has now chosen Nickolodeon and is watching what appears to be Paw Patrol. So _we_ are watching Paw Patrol.

She is an adult – l’m guessing early 30s or late 20s at best.

I might have to share a room during the actual delivery too…and normally I’m the one in the relationship to be more assertive, but if this happens during that time I’m going to need David to step up. I won’t have the energy to tactfully tell someoone about to go into labor they have bizarre taste in television programming.

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Week 27

David says he’s doing fine. Yesterday I came home and found him eating from three different bags of shredded cheese and drinking a bottle of wine. So I don’t know for sure. He said he was fine, but he had cheese shreds all over his beard when he said it.

Then I looked at the calcium content on one of the cheese bags, and I learned yesterday I probably was not getting enough calcium, so I also ate a huge chunk of shredded cheese.

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I’m a Snoring Person Now

Hello! We are at the top of Week 27, and I learned only this morning that I have been snoring for the past three months!

I have had quite a bit more mucus in the mornings, so I assume this is related. Also I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but I can’t really see my legs anymore. Yesterday I saw through a mirrored reflection that a modest forest had sprouted on my legs. And I’ve been wearing dresses for weeks! I wonder who saw me and thought, “Brave feminist.” Anyway, how upsetting that I am no longer the picture of femininity that I once was.

This weekend we looked at strollers, and the selection was a bit overwhelming. The strollers looked nothing like the kinds I had as a kid. And they were expensive.

Also we walked around our condo and tried to figure out what to do. We concluded nothing.

….

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Presumptious Clothing

I bought some pregnany underwear: underwear that should be comfortable and can cover my changing body and also give my belly lots of space. The colors I selected are neutral (tan, gray, white). The material is cotton and some spandex, presumably so they stay up. The size is large, because that’s what I need.

Anyway, the underwear arrived yesterday! And the wash instructions were like “Hand wash. Do not put in dryer.” And then some ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS, but I stopped reading. I will absolutely be putting this stuff into the washing machine under regular cycle and then into the dryer. I don’t know who this underwear thinks it is…but it is not getting hand wash treatment. It was also marketed to me as great for pregnant bellies, so what pregnant woman is acquiring high maintenance under garments?

In other news, I still have a cold. But I am hoping it’s getting better. I can’t say for sure though.

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Week 26

This week we have a cold! Well I have a cold. The good news is she doesn’t have a cold and is protected by the placenta.

The cold has been quite the nuisance. It started with a scratchy throat Sunday morning, and every night starting at 2am I wake up every hour with a parched mouth – because I can’t breathe through my nose – and a need to pee. When we were abroad I got up at 8am every morning, so I wonder if this is half cold and half poor jet lag recovery. She’s generally moving by the time I get back to bed, which is nice!
I want to know how she’s moving though. Is she moving her feet, is she turning around, is stretching? I have no idea – I just feel something like bubbles in the belly.

David has been busy with work and his Japanese studies, but I know he’s still around because right after I finish doing the dishes new ones appear. *drum beat and cymbals* Thank you, thank you.

Social media ads have done a great job targeting me during this time. I get a lot of ads for pregnancy fitness apps and pregnancy clothes. Today when I was feeling bummed I even got an add for pregnancy meditation, to make me feel happier. This is remarkable because I am pretty certain I did not google or write anything on email or text that would have triggered this compelling, related advertisement. Did I download the app? No, absolutely not. The last thing I need is to be alone with my thoughts for five minutes a day.

Yesterday I was talking to a talented cast member in my comedy troupe who hasn’t written anything in a while. I shared that I thought pregnancy would help me write fun new material, but really I’m just too sad to write. “I feel the same way,” he shared.
He’s not pregnant, so I tried to dig to find out what was affecting his comedy juices. “There’s a lot going on,” I said.
“There’s so much going on!” he replied.
“Do you read the news,” I asked. “There’s something every day that’s upsetting. It’s hard to laugh anymore.”
“No,” he replied, earnestly, “But I hear about it from other people, and it’s rough out there.”

This answer was FASCINATING. I didn’t even really know how to reply. What did he mean he hears about it from other people? And how long do you listen to other people talk about the news and get upset before you start doing your own reading? And who is sharing the information with him? I had so many questions! I didn’t want to pry though, because I thought it might sound judgmental. I have the luxury of affording subscriptions to publications that can invest in journalism, but that’s not the case for everyone. And there are lots of free news sources on the internet, but some of their motivations can be suspect, and sometimes opinion pieces masquerade as reporting on sites of ill-repute.

Speaking of upsetting news, I want to use a re-usable water bottle I received at the Women in Comedy festival, to do my part for the environment. But it’s not dishwasher safe, so I don’t understand …how…I’m supposed…to wash it. Not my finest hour, given I grew up in a house that used the dishwasher for clean towel storage. I’m going to dig deep into the memory archives.

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Nervous

There are a slew of classes you can sign up to prepare. We’ve gotten mixed responses, but I think we have narrowed it down to these ones:

1) Infant care
2) Infant CPR
3) Breastfeeding
4) Hospital tour

My ob-gyn said the last two weren’t necessary, because you don’t know what your breastfeeding situation is going to be until the baby arrives. She also shared the tour wasn’t necessary because that baby is coming out, so knowing about the room isn’t going to matter. The one class she recommended was Infant CPR, which wasn’t on our radar. I appreciated her relaxed approach for a few weeks. But panic just set in, and I have registered us for extra classes.

Also we have to find a pediatrician. I have never had a dedicated doctor or a pediatrician, so this is new.

I learned yesterday that some of these charming body changes might be permanent! I’ll keep the boobs, but my friend yesterday said she never got her regular sized stomach back, and someone else shared their bigger shoe size was permaement. Another person shared she still has her linea negra. WHAT. That one might be okay because I don’t plan on wearing anything where that will be an issue, but still!

And our home is such a mess! I want to pack up all the winter clothes to make space, but I can’t bend over because I am a walking balloon!

Ruh-roh!

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